How do we define a great song? This is a question that all music lovers often ask; is it virality? Is it YouTube and Spotify hits? Are only songs that land a place in pop culture considered great? What makes a musical symphony a hit amongst the audience, and how does it resonate with listeners emotionally and personally? This success story behind Kaifi Khalil’s Kahani Suno gives us an insight into this dichotomy of fame.
Who is Kaifi Khalil?
Kaifi Khalil is not just any ordinary artist in the Pakistani music scene; he brings a rich cultural heritage that sets him apart from the rest. Born and raised in Lyari – a deeply underprivileged area ravaged by lawlessness and gang wars – Kaifi’s unique Balochi roots have greatly influenced his musical style giving him a novel perspective on music.
His songs not only showcase his musical prowess but also offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Baluchistan. In his interviews, he is very open about infusing traditional folk elements with contemporary music styles to create a truly unique sound.
Kana Yari and Purr Ka’n De Glass are two hit Balochi songs that can be heard across cafes and food outlets in Karachi and Islamabad. While Kana Yari is a Coke Studio original, the latter is a remake of a traditional Balochi folk song, performed in a contemporary style to reach wider audiences.
To an average listener, this unique approach may be a reason for the massive rise of Kaifi Khalil, but one listen to Kahani Suno is enough to reject this opinion.
The Success of Kahani Suno
While Kaifi has been vocal about his Balochi roots and its musical influence, Kahani Suno’s contrasting vibe makes it uniquely different from songs he’s recorded before. It is also his biggest hit and a chartbuster transcending boundaries to become one of the most viewed music videos from the region.
It is sporadic to find a musician willing to explore different genres! But to his credit, Kaifi has shown a willingness to become a truly global superstar with Kahani’s release.
Kahani Suno’s success is not in Kaifi Khalil’s willingness to stick to his roots; In fact, the song achieves success through its vulnerability, relatable lyrics, and the extreme likeability of the performer.
With simple Urdu couplets sung in the most melodious tune, Kaifi has cemented himself as a lyrical powerhouse. From the white collars working hard to make ends meet, to executives leading a life of privilege, Kahani Suno strikes a chord with people from all classes.
Adding Melody to Grief
Grief is a raw and powerful emotion often celebrated in our society with timeless Urdu couplets and ghazals. Music can capture and celebrate this powerful feeling in a way that speaks directly to the soul. Throughout history, songs have been written that celebrate the depths of human emotion, from heartbreak to hope and everything in between.
The love-lorn poets of the past, from Ghalib to Jon Elia, have captured the hearts of listeners with their vulnerable and honest expressions of love and loss. Their timeless words continue to resonate with audiences, reminding us of the depth and power of human emotion.
While there’s no comparison yet with the achievements of the poets mentioned above, in the modern era, we have Kaifi Khalil’s “Kahani Suno,” a song that celebrates grief in a way that brings back memories of the classic ballads. The song’s Attaullah Essakhelvi-esque lyrics and simple yet catchy tune resonate with millions around the world, reminding us of the timeless power of music to celebrate and commemorate the human experience.
In a world where grief is often ignored or dismissed, “Kahani Suno” is a refreshing reminder of the beauty and power of music to celebrate and embrace the raw and powerful emotions that make us human.