ISLAMABAD: The bilingual Urdu-English prayer song opens with Grammy award winning violinist Charlie Bisharat sitting at his home playing his instrument soulfully. Gradually, he is joined by his world famous peers on guitar, piano, percussion and drums. Slowly, the tempo builds and the screen fills up with dozens of faces from around the world singing ‘We are one.’
In an extraordinary project undertaken by Pakistani musician and composer Kashan Admani, 40 musicians from across seven countries have collaborated on a prayer song, timed to give hope as the world reels from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also dedicated to victims of recent tragedies around the world including a Pakistan International Airlines crash which killed 97 people on May 22.
“I had originally composed the song in Urdu and renowned Pakistani poet Sabir Zafar had written the lyrics,” Admani told Arab News via telephone on Saturday. “Then I thought... for this message to be global it needs to have English Lyrics.” He then tapped film director and artist Babar Sheikh to pen the English chorus.
The resulting production titled “We Are One/ Aae Khuda,” has been sung and performed by some of the world’s most renowned musicians and is at over 20,000 views on YouTube since its release on Friday.
“The idea was to talk about global unity in fighting the pandemic and praying to God for help. That’s the reason why it’s called and it’s message is, ‘We Are One, Aae Khuda.’”
Admani who is part of the band Mizmaar and has worked in the music industry for the past two decades, has produced and played songs for artists like Haroon, Strings and Junoon, and said the idea for a unique mash-up of global talent emerged to counter the current negativity in the world.
“The lockdown has affected us all in many ways and I saw a lot of negativity and hopelessness around,” he said.
“Music gives people emotional support and as an artist, composer and producer, I thought the best way to give hope to people would be to make a universal song with artists from all over the world.”
Pakistani artists including Farhad Humayun, Najam Sheraz, Natasha Baig and Dino Ali were joined by US Grammy award-winning violinist Bisharat, Grammy nominee Simon Philips, multi award-winning guitar player Roman Miroshnichenko from Russia, British singer/songwriter Lili Casely, Brazil's Luiza Prochet, and India's Dr. Palash Sen.
Thanks to technology, Admani continued, the logistics of getting all these musicians together and coordinated for the track was actually quite simple.
“Everyone recorded in their home studios, maintaining social distancing protocols and filmed their parts while recording. This was the only way it was possible.”
Admani then put it all together in his own home studio. The recordings from the artists are filmed and featured in the video.
“Collaborations like these are always phenomenal. It's a sense of unity and it’s also a sense of honor to get to do this together and for the purpose of making people feel less alone,” Natasha Baig, a Pakistani musician told Arab News.
Admani mirrors this hopefulness, and said it describes the essence of the song.
“I have been away from my family for months now due to the pandemic,” he said.
“The only thing that gives me hope is music.”