Karavan was a hard rock band from Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, formed in 1997. The band was founded by, former Awaz lead guitarist, Asad Ahmed with the help of his friend and bassist Sameer Ahmed, who were soon joined by drummer Allan Smith and vocalist Najam Sheraz. Karavan is regarded as one of the most successful rock music band in Pakistan and are known for revolutionizing the Pakistani music scene by fusing eastern percussion and melodies with modern rock. Since their inception, the group has released a collective total of five albums including four studio albums and one live album.
The band are noted for becoming an instant hit among the young population in the country as they revolutionized the local music scene by fusing eastern percussion and melodies with a modern rock during the late 1990 s. Its members were signed to major record label EMI Records and after which released their debut studio album Rakh Aas in 1997. After a gap of two years, the band recorded their second album Safar with their new vocalist Tanseer Ahmed Daar after Najam Sheraz left the band to pursue a solo career. The release of their second album was critically acclaimed all across the country. In 2002, Karavan went on releasing their third album Gardish, which included famous singles like “Aagay He Aagay”, “Dil Ki Pyaas” and “Shor”. After a gap of eight years, the band released their fourth album Saara Jahan (2010) which found the band renewed success and popularity.
Their first album featured Najam Sheraz on vocals who later left the band in 1998 and was replaced by Tanseer Daar. In 2005, the band released a live album on the internet via their website which had over 150,000 downloads.
Formation and early years (1997-2000)
In January 1997, Asad Ahmed, lead guitarist of Karavan, parted ways with Awaz after having a very successful career releasing three albums with the band. Asad started working on an untitled project with his longtime friend and bassist Sameer Ahmed. In February, after a marathon audition session featuring over fifty singers-inwaiting, the duo decided that Najam Sheraz, previously the lead vocalist of the band Wet Metal, was the best choice for this project. Najam Sheraz soon teamed up with the band and in two months time, the trio made their national debut, Karavan was formed as they opened up for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at the Channel V concert in Karachi. This was the very first time the band performed on a stage together.
Soon afterwards the band started working on their debut album and recording of the album started at Asad’s home studio. After eight months of rehearsing and strenuous work, the band finally finished recording their debut album in August. In November, the band released their debut album, Rakh Aas, which was a huge success and was being compared with great debut albums like Vital Signs 1 and Awaz, even though Assad Ahmed played on the latter. Although the band’s first single video premiered was banned by PTV due to the band sporting long hair and outlandish, loud clothes. By the end of year drummer Allan Smith marked his first appearance with the band, taken on the support of the band on tour with a live drum sound.
Karavan starts off the New Year by playing a sold out concert at PACC in Karachi. Their first single video, “Rakh Aas”, passed the censor board, after a lengthy wait, and was finally aired on PTV. In May, Karavan performed at the Karachi Club which was the last show by Najam Sheraz as part of the band. Interestingly the band Circle, which opened for Karavan that night, had Tanseer Daar as their lead vocalist. The band once again started auditioning for a lead vocalist. On December 31, Karavan announced Tanseer Daar as their new lead vocalist.
In March 1999, Karavan is approached by Pepsi-Cola to record a song for the Cricket World Cup album. The song Umeedain is recorded and released as the single for the World Cup album. Meanwhile, Tanseer finally makes his live debut with Karavan by performing at the Pepsi World Cup concert. After releasing their single for the World Cup Karavan started working on their second album and recorded their second full length album, Safar, from June till November. On December 31, Safar was released and the first single “Beqarar” from the album was shipped to different radio stations in the country. In January 2000, Karavan toured extensively to promote their second album and shot a one hour rockumentary on the making of the album, “Safar – A Visual Evolution”. The rockumentary was aired on PTV world into two parts. The global satellite broadcast was carried to 36 countries, and over 40 million people witness the beginning of a change in Pakistani musical trends. Karavan continued to tour behind Safar as sales of the record started to increase.
Saara Jahan (2009-present)
In March 2009, Karavan enters Shahzad “Shahi” Hassan’s studios, the former Vital Signs man, to start working on the guitars and vocal tracks. By June till August the mixing of the tracks is finished and the album is named Saara Jahan. In October, Karavan signs up with the ARY Musik Records.
On March 4, 2010, the first single, “Kaisay Mumkin Hai”, from Karavan’s fourth studio album was aired on ARY Musik. On March 30, the band was welcomed at Play TV show “Girl Power” with DJ Sanam talking about the new video and album. On April 10, Karavan performed at TIP College and the band debuted “Kaisay Mumkin Hai” for the first time live on stage. The band also featured at Radio One FM 91 on Dino’s show. On April 26, 2010, The Muzik Records released Saara Jahan nationwide and promos of the album were launched on television for the promotion of the album. Later the same month Karavan were featured on ARY News.
On May 1, 2010, Karavan performed live at FAST University. On May 15, 2010, the lineup for Coke Studio confirmed that Karavan will feature in the third season along with many well known artists and bands like Noori, Aunty Disco Project, Entity Paradigm, Abida Parveen and many other successful musicians.On June 6, 2010, the band performed “Yaadein” at the Coke Studio third season first session, ‘Reason’.On July 18, 2010, Karavan performed “Kaisay Mumkin Hai” at the third season of Coke Studio fourth session, ‘Form’.On July 22, 2010, Karavan released the video of their second single “Tu” from their fourth studio album.
On May 28, Karavan performed at Rockstation concert held at Carlton Hotel in Karachi, Sindh. However, the concert turned out to be Karavan’s last live performance, the band during an interview to the local newspaper, The Express Tribune, announced their official breakup after 15 years of music.“We are done. Fifteen years is a big time period and no more music will come with the current line-up,” Asad told The Express Tribune. Adding to that, he said: “The break up is still very fresh. Let’s just take it easy for a while and see what happens. I don’t know with whom, but I will definitely make music.”
Good news for the Band is that they are band in action. We hope that they will be making the good music again.