The Junoon lives on | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 17, 2019

The Junoon lives on

For fans on music in South Asia, the name Junoon, which translates to ‘passion’, is exactly that. Salman Ahmad, Ali Azmat and Brian O’Connell have kept alive the sufi rock phenomenon that took over the musical world in the 90’s. The band talks to The Daily Star for an exclusive sit-down interview, ahead of their performance at the Dhaka International Folk Festival (DIFF).

It is an honour to be able to interview the biggest names in the Asian music scene. How does it feel to be here in the Dhaka International Folk Festival?

Salman: Thank you very much for having us. We love coming to Dhaka! I would like to pass on a special message – I was talking to our Prime Minister, Imran Khan, before coming to the festival, and he told me to tell you this– Pakistan sends its heartfelt love and respect to Bangladesh!

Ali: I feel like Dhaka’s crowd is the most musical in the world, and this is why we are looking forward to performing here.

With your fusion of eastern and western musical styles, you started a trend that many bands follow to this day. However, a lot of people say that band music is on the decline overall. What do you have to say about that?

Salman: You see, irrespective of genre, the people want authenticity in the music that they listen to. In all honesty, Bollywood music, the generic ones, is slowly dying out. We have a lot of Sufiana Kalam – from Bulleh Shah to Allama Iqbal, the thought of Mitti Mein Mil Jayenge (‘we all shall ultimately perish with the dust’) is fascinating and universal. Tonight, we are expecting more than 30,000 passionate music lovers to come and listen to us, in what is the biggest festival in South Asia. Our music exists to unite and spread love, and it is going as strong as ever.

You reunited in 2018, which was a great news for music lovers across the globe. Have you been working on new songs as of late?

Brian: We are constantly working on new material. Salman Whatsapp’s me all the time, sharing new tunes that he has written. We will not give out any spoilers, but we will definitely come out with new music very soon.

If you were to collaborate with any Bangladeshi artiste, who would it be?

Ali: We would love to collaborate with James, we are good friends with him. The last time we came here, he hosted us at his house. I have been watching him perform at a show called Wind of Change on the Gaan Bangla channel. We have also noticed many other talented Bangladeshi artistes on Wind of Change, who will be great to work with.

Do you have any message for upcoming musicians from all over the world?

Salman: Music is all about friendship, because when the going gets tough, my friends who happen to be my band mates as well, get me through it. It will get tough sometimes, but you have to be tougher!

Brian: For me, being a musician is like having two wives (laughs)! You have to pay as much attention to both, in order to survive, and then thrive.

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