Salman Ahmad Launches Solo “Infiniti” Album
By Ras H. Siddiqui


Salman Ahmad of the Pakistani Rock Band “Junoon” had three reasons to be more upbeat than usual during a phone conversation with this writer on July 1, 2005.
First and foremost, his first solo album “Infiniti” is out and is now available (only) online.
Second, Junoon had been invited to perform at “Live 8” by Sir Bob Geldof. Live 8 featured some of the most successful stars in the music business such as U2, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Pink Floyd and Elton John amongst others. It was a series of eight concerts around the world organized to make the leaders of the world’s rich G8 countries aware of the immediate need to relieve the debt burden on poor African countries.
And last but not least on July 1, 2005 in Geneva, the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS appointed Salman as UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador. He now has the responsibility of not only Pakistan but far beyond, for raising awareness about AIDS wherever he may go.
But first about his new album: From an Omni Muzik Press Release we learn that “Junooni is the new business entity that Salman Ahmad, founder and lead guitarist of the Pakistani Rock Band ‘Junoon’ has established in New York USA to support his new solo music career. Nameless Records of NY will officially release the Infiniti Album through Omni Muzik on July 1 2005 in the United States.
“Salman’s music genius, as demonstrated by Junoon album sales of over 20 million to South Asians in the past 12 years, needs to inspire wider audiences in the world music arena,” says Dr. Erfan Ibrahim, founder of Omni Muzik.”
For information on the Infiniti Album or ordering details please visit www.junoonis.com or contact Omni Muzik at erfan@omnimuzik.com or tel. (925) 735 -1009. Junooni, which is based in Tappan NY. can be reached through Samina Ahmad by e mailing at saminadr@gmail.com . Junooni is a trademark of Junoon Inc. of Tappan NY.
Talking from New York which has become like a second home for him, Salman was in a talkative mood. He was to leave for London to join Ali Azmat to participate in Live 8. I asked him about why he embarked on a solo effort at this time. “This has been a year of personal growth for Ali and me,” he said. Asked about this solo effort, he said that “Infiniti” contained an individualistic element but the general essence of both East and West was never far away from it. “It is a reflection of my musical taste,” he added. A taste that he said has developed over the years with inspiration from performers like Jimmie Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and of course the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Infiniti includes a song called ‘Ghoom Tanna’ in which Salman has collaborated with Indian artists Shubha Mugdal, Naseeruddin Shah and Nandita Das. He also shared his thoughts on “Yaar Mein Nachoon Gi” from this new CD which he said paid tributes to the Sufi saints Baba Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain and Baba Farid. He said that he loved the sound of the dhol (drum) played by Pappu Sain and has tried to incorporate that feeling into this number. “I want people in the West to appreciate Sufi poetry and Bhangra music,” he said.
Salman’s most courageous and different track on this CD is one called “Al Vida” (Goodbye) based on his meeting with a brave Pakistani woman who is HIV positive and has already lost her husband to AIDS. “I was so moved that I wrote a song about it,” he said. Maybe this is just one more reason why the United Nations has picked Salman to spread awareness about the disease.
On his other activities Salman continues his attempts to develop understanding between his culture and the West. His movie “It’s My Country Too” will be shown at some college campuses in the United States soon. The movie deals with the plight of Muslim Americans after 9/11. “There is no civilization conflict between Islam and the West,” he said.
His involvement in “Empower Peace,” an effort which intends to connect high school students in the US with their counterparts in the Islamic world via live video is scheduled to begin on September 29, 2005.
There are many challenges in this regard for all of us. Junoon, through its music and pursuit of humanitarian ideals, was amongst the first to promote peace between India and Pakistan, long before it became fashionable. And now for those who live not a dual but blended life in America the choices have become even more complex. We the new South Asian (desi) or Muslim experimenters live with cultural fusion all the time here in America and can easily relate to Junoon’s musical synthesis of Rock and Sufi. And with a new experiment here in “Infiniti” Salman will try to continue to relate to us the globally “blended” as he embarks on his solo journey. The next step is obviously obtaining the CD and to see if he has succeeded.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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