The music of Pakistan’s famous Sachal Jazz Orchestra is as compelling as the story behind the group.
The tale of a group of classically-trained, out of work musicians were plucked from obscurity by a London-based, Pakistani-origin multi-millionaire to give a whole new twist to some of the most iconic jazz classics of all time appears ripe for a big-screen adaptation.
Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has done precisely that and her new documentary, titled ‘Song of Lahore’, is about to take Sachal Jazz further inside the global conscience.
The film has been selected as one of twelve to compete in the Best Documentary category at the New York’s Tribeca Film Festival which takes place next month.
The film follows the quite extraordinary story of a group of gifted musicians from Lahore who are brought together by Izzat Majeed back in 2004.
Mr Majeed, a multi-millionaire investor and jazz connoisseur, was dismayed at the appalling decline of the arts scene in Lahore specifically and Pakistan in general.
The group initially recorded a few jazz numbers – fusing one of the most joyous and complex musical genres with eastern classical musical traditions and instruments.
However, it was not until late 2010 that they caught the world’s attention, with an utterly stunning re-imagining of the Dave Brubeck classic ‘Take Five’ which went viral after the video was posted to YouTube.
Since then it has been non-stop for the orchestra – many of those members are from extremely modest backgrounds.
Sachal have thrilled audiences across the world, not least in London where they have performed countless times.
Oscar-winer Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Now, their story is being told.
Song of Lahore is quite a departure for Obaid-Chinoy, who became the first Pakistani to win an Oscar when she won the Best Documentary category at the 2012 Academy Awards for ‘Savivng Face’ – a film about acid attack survivors in Pakistan.
Her previous films had dealt with even more harrowing subjects, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and sexuality in Pakistan.
She is however, a fine filmmaker. Obaid-Chinoy is also in the running for best New Documentary Director at Tribeca.