PSL music has a deadline too

One of the franchise’s more glamorous aspects

It might still be too soon to call off these songs; compared to other sporting leagues the T20 franchise is just a decade old

The Pakistan Super League is in its second season; like most popular things in Pakistan, it too has been subject to many controversies.

In the tug of war between actual sports and the political (read security) issues; the entertainment aspect of the game, the main reason why such a franchise was created, has been sidelined.

“Primarily it’s good quality sports entertainment and songs are an important part of the entertainment factor,” said K. Shahid, a sports analyst, while talking to DNA.

These anthems and songs are crucial in T20 cricket; they provide the required adrenaline rush; add to the enthusiasm of the crowd and build up on the team’s image throughout the season.

In the first season, Ali Zafar presented PSL with its iconic trumpet tune making it PSL’s trademark note.

“I remember all the PSL songs, for me all these are iconic,” said Adnan Arshad, a university student, music enthusiast and cricket fan.

This year’s anthem, Ab Khel Jamay Ga, is an improvement compared to the last. The music is fast with certain signature steps and blood pumping lyrics. Another reason for its popularity is that it is continuously being replayed throughout the event and currently engraved into people’s mind.

Team title songs

Talking about team anthems, we have seen some many anthems this season. Renewal of anthems’ depends mostly on the team’s budget; the ones who have good budgets even produce more than one song this season.

Shahzad Roy composed two songs this season; a title song for Karachi Kings “Dhan Dhana Dhan Hoga Rey” and another anthem for PSL by its bank sponsor “Ballae Ballae”.

Both songs have catchy phrases that have been sung throughout the tournament. His compositions include phrases popular with the Pakistani population, giving them the local punch.

In “Ballae Ballae” there is a pun of words, Balle Ballae also a statement in Punjabi used to express excitement and the wordBalla is bat in Urdu. The blend makes his lyrics interesting.

With “Dhan Dhana Dhan Hoga Rey”, the lyrics include things native to the city of Karachi, especially its tea and some Shindi syntax.

Karachi Kings fans have been especially dancing to the song during the matches, “I love the Karachi Kings songs, I am constantly humming it,” said Aroos Fatima, a Karachi Kings fan.

Islamabad United has two songs this season, “Cricket Joray Pakistan” sung by Momina Mustehsan and “Kitna Rola Dalae Ga” sung by Abdullah Qureshi.

Undoubtedly PSL is a business generating mechanism and with entertainment being its USP (unique selling point) these songs are pivotal.

The number of songs produced this year is an increase from the last. The pressure to do better than the other not only on the pitch but also with their music has also grown.

The song “Kitna Rola Dalae Ga” has been composed by Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan a.k.a Xulfi for Islamabad United by their sponsors.

With his song Xulfi has tried to inculcate the spirit of cricket keeping in mind its fans that are the actual essence of the team.

“The crowds cheering is iconic in PSL, this spirit of T20 was my concept for this anthem. T20 is Rola cricket, the song is a challenge; for the crowd that how loud can they be? For the batsman, the bowler that how much Rola can they make with the bat and the ball,” explains Xulfi while talking to DNA

He believes that the more energy a batsman puts into T20, the more exciting and sought after he is; take the likes of Afridi, Gayle, McCullum, etc.

Peshawar Zalmi too produced a new title song for its team this year, sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan “Main Zalmi Hoon Peshawar Ka”. Its lyrics deal with the strength of the team, its love and passion for the sport.

Quetta Gladiator’s anthem is short and sweet this year, sung by Fakhir Mehmood and Sarfaraz Ahmed. It praises the team.

Lahore Qalandars new song is sung by Shafqat Amanat Ali and inculcates the Lahori feel to its fullest. Using Sufi lyrics the song eagerly portrays their desire to win and losing with grace too.

Big musical names are coming is and the aspirations for the next season are at an all-time high.

Recall factor

The line up of songs this year is definitely a development; more musicians are taking a keen interest in making better music and are been given a chance through such platforms.

The competition also means that some songs have done better than the others. A poll conducted by DNA found that the PSL anthem by Ali Zafar is the most popular among its listeners, Karachi’s title song stood second and many hadn’t even heard the Lahore Qalandar’s title track.

“I still feel that the lyrics lack patriotism, that’s the reason these songs will need to be revived every season or renewed. We are still waiting for a new age hard-hitting sports song,” said Hassan, a music buff. “The music though has recall value as it is very well composed.”

Here comes in the advertisement factor, the recall value of such songs lasts only until they are played over and over again in front of the audiences. Subjects who did not know of certain title songs where those who follow PSL religiously.

“I don’t think these songs will last longer than the season. These are just seasonal songs. When PSL is over, they will not be telecast. Eventually, songs will fade out,” said Sameer Jafri, another cricket enthusiast from Karachi.

It might still be too soon to call off these songs; compared to other sporting leagues the T20 franchise is just a decade old. “Manchester United fans, for example, have been singing their team’s many songs for a hundred years. There’s no reason why it can’t have similar legacies in the long run,” adds Shahid.

Originally Published in Pakistan Today