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Song of Lahore

Directors: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Andy Schocken
Year: 2015
Country: USA, Pakistan
Language: English, Urdu, Panjabi
Runtime: 82’

Lahore was once the cultural centre of Pakistan, a real creative paradise for musicians and artists of every discipline. Until 1977, when the imposition of sharia law led Pakistani orchestras to be disbanded and musicians vilified, even killed. In the past few years, the stifling restrictions have been somewhat eased, which led Izzat Majeed to start the Sachal Studios, convincing some of the most skilled virtuosos in the country to dust off their instruments and fight against oblivion. It’s a desperate attempt to resurrect the musical traditions of a society that seems to have all but forgotten about its roots.

Everything will change when their unusual cover of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, using traditional Pakistani instruments, becomes a YouTube sensation. The loose band of musicians turn into overnight celebrities and are invited by top jazz player Wynton Marsalis to join his famous orchestra at New York’s Lincoln Center. Newcomer Andy Schocken and two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid -Chinoy from Pakistan turn the band’s journey and their rehearsals into a delightful and undeniably intoxicating travelogue about the power of music and everything that unites and divides East and West.