On April 15, Ali Aftab Saeed and Saad Sultan, two Pakistani musicians, performed for a group of students and faculty in Chapin Residential College. These two performers are Visiting Artists at Northwestern with a two week residency as part of the Global Humanities Initiative. This initiative is a program created by the Buffett Institute at Northwestern University to bring attention to the arts and humanistic traditions of the non-West, and was created in 2013.
Ali Aftab Saeed is the founder of the band, Beygairat Brigade, and Saad Sultan is both a performer and producer of many of Beygairat Brigade’s songs and music videos. Beygairat Brigade became a viral hit with their music video “Aalu Anday” (“Potatoes and Eggs”) released in October 2011. Their name, Beygairat Brigade, means dishonorable brigade. They chose this to pose an alternate opinion to the current leading news and media sources who are collectively called the honorable brigade.
During their performance, Saeed sang while Sultan played on his guitar, with both artists keeping time by beating their feet against the floor. They played five songs and intermixed these with explanations on their creation processes, and answering any questions which the audience had.
Discussing their music style, a mix of politics and production, Saeed commented that satirically looking at politics hadn’t been done before in Pakistan so their group was a fresh take on music. He commented that, “the point was to have a voice.” In addition to speaking about their reasons behind producing music, Saeed also discussed their methods of songwriting including their song topics, length, and the languages they choose to write in.
During their final week in Chicago, Saeed and Sultan performed two other times on April 19 and April 20. They will also attend a recording session in a Northwestern sound studio on April 21 and will be filming a music video at the same time.
Learn more about upcoming Global Humanities Initiative events here.