One year after Strings

Written by Omair Alavi


Both Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia are busy with their own projects after an amicable split last year

Karachi: When Pyar Ka Roag was unveiled in late 2020, not even the most ardent fans of Strings thought that it was going to be the last song featuring Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia together. For they were inseparable for 33 years, and even if they took a hiatus during the 90s, they took it together. But that was the end of the road for the duo who began their careers in 1988 as teenagers and split after turning 50 in 2021.

Their split as Strings not only affected the music scene in the country but also gave them a chance to explore themselves as solo artists. While Bilal Maqsood kept himself busy as the producer behind the Velo Sound Station’s so far only season, Faisal Kapadia is all set to rejoin Coke Studio, this time as a solo artist instead of a producer. His song was teased when Coke Studio’s latest season was launched and his fans are wondering when he will make his first appearance behind the mike, since the split!

There are those who still don’t realise that the music scene was disrupted with Strings’ split? What else would you say when the daddy of all pop bands in the country, with six highly successful music albums, a handful of Bollywood film songs, besides a Pakistani film decides to stop performing? To top it all, they were not only loved in Pakistan but also around the world and were role models for all those who followed them into music. Their split might have opened new avenues for upcoming pop bands, but most of them weren’t able to sustain because there was no ‘Big Brother.’

Bilal Maqsood chose to be that Big Brother for the Pakistani music industry and revived the pop music scene with Velo Sound Station in 2020. There is no news for a second season so far, but that one season was enough to tell the world that even without Strings, Bilal Maqsood is a force to reckon with. Songs like Gagar, Kadi Te Hans Bol, Tequiero Mucho, Bijli, and Boom Boom set the stage on fire, and are still popular, despite being succeeded by other music platforms.

He also produced a couple of jingles for TV commercials that went on to please the listeners for a change, besides coming up with the anthem of one of the PSL franchises. Currently the most popular jingle on TV – Chaye Chahiye – is an updated take on the classic jingle from the 1960s where Bilal Maqsood removed everything irrelevant, to make it more relevant. After all, being a talented music composer is one thing, Bilal Maqsood can write songs, produce them and even lend his vocals to them besides composing them.

The former Strings band-member has more stuff in the pipeline for both the young and the old, and if that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is! Just last week he launched as many as 8 original Nursery Rhymes in Urdu during the 13th Karachi Literature Festival, in a session that had no space for latecomers. Youngsters and their parents were there to listen to new nursery rhymes and that too in Urdu. The wordings were ideal for kids, and a breath of fresh air for parents, for now, they have something new to pass on. Even grandparents of today grew up on the nursery rhymes their grandchildren are listening to, and the time was right for someone to step up.

Between the 1960s and 2000s, many music composers chose to conduct music programs for children; the trend started with Moslehuddin and ended with Javed Mir, with Sohail Rana, Khalil Ahmed, Amjad Bobby, and Adnan Sami Khan pitching in. However, Sohail Rana’s songs became more popular than the rest, and if we know the Islamic months, or sing Yeh Des Hamara Hai or Chacha Ne Guriya Bheji today, it’s because of him and his team.

Now after forty years, Bilal Maqsood decided to join the bandwagon, and do something for the kids that would remain eternal. Instead of targeting teenagers, he has gone one step below and is addressing those kids who are new to the school, and in need of new nursery rhymes. By doing so, he is indirectly taking forward his aunt Fatima Suraiyya Bajiya’s legacy by connecting with the youth, and bringing something meaningful to their lives. Bajiya used to do the same and after her death, it’s Bilal Maqsood who has taken her legacy forward, in style.

And that’s not all, Bilal Maqsood is also on the verge of releasing multiple solo tracks in the coming days. Will he follow the tried and tested route taken by Strings or carve a separate identity for himself, that remains to be seen, but what’s certain is that whatever he will come up with, will be long lasting. It has been over 30 years since Strings made their first appearance on TV, and despite three decades following their debut, they still compose fresh music that’s reliable, impressionable, and above all, listenable in an era when composing traditional songs is considered out of fashion.

Pyar Ka Roag, Gagar, Kadi Te Hans Bol, Tequiero Mucho, Bijli, Boom Boom, Chaye Chahiye, Yeh Des Hamara Hai, Chacha Ne Guriya Bheji,

Omair Alavi – BOL News

About the author

Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi is a highly regarded journalist, critic, and commentator, specializing in news, sports, showbiz, film, blogs, articles, drama, reviews, and PTV drama. With extensive experience and a keen eye for storytelling, he captivates audiences with his insightful analysis and compelling presentations. His expertise and contributions have made him a prominent figure in the media and entertainment industry.