2010 is already becoming a busy year for Ali Sher

Ali Sher is hard at work with Rafaqat Ali Khan for a series of collaborations; the first being 'Ishq'. The song comes at the heels of his third studio album Beetaye Pal, which enjoyed reasonable success with the masses but not enough to be labelled a massive hit.

But this time, Ali is once again giving Rafaqat's next album (Rafaqat is from the Sham Chaurasia Gharana and contributor to soundtracks of Bollywood hits like Krrish) and the first fruit of this labour is the song 'Ishq'. A song composed entirely by Ali, featuring Rafaqat Ali Khan's traditional kafi style of singing.

The track was originally written by Ghulam Farid Khan and heavily influenced and inspired by the Sindhi Bharwain raag. Ali's composition mixes east and west with traditional percussions and contemporary sound as well. The result is a fusion track intertwined with traditional and contemporary instruments, a groovy yet sombre beat - something Ali describes as "dark" - and the free flowing vocals of Rafaqat Ali Khan. The two had been planning a collaboration for quite some time and only recently did they find the time to work on this single.

"I've known him for a long time now and seen him perform numerous times and his command on the raags is truly amazing. I had spoken to Rafaqat bhai about collaboration a while back, and it was just talk but to work on this, both of us had to take out time to put this track down."

And that's not all. Currently Ali and Rafaqat are working hard towards completing at least two more collaborations. It's clear that they are really getting along.

"Totally, he's a very humble and down to earth person to get along with and it just comes naturally," says Ali about working with Rafaqat Ali Khan.

Though he has worked as a composer before (for the likes of Hadiqa Kiyani and others) when does Ali feel most comfortable? As a singer or a composer?

"I find that I'm more comfortable doing both," he says. "If I do one and not too much of the other, I feel that I'm not doing things right. Especially with my own music, I just don't think about anything else and go in on all fronts trying for the best composition and music for myself."

After having been part of the music industry since 1994, how does Ali Sher react to or treat criticism? Ali's last album-although enjoyed by listeners-wasn't too well received with the critics.

"Criticism itself doesn't bother me at all," he says, adding, "however, if it's baseless criticism, putting someone down just for the heck of it, well I don't agree with that." Ali adds that he enjoys hearing from his fans about what they thought of the music and wholeheartedly welcomes creative suggestions.

'Ishq' will be enjoyed by listeners here and abroad. It will enjoy radio airplay in Houston, London and other major cities around the world. Not a bad first step for Ali Sher in 2010 but can we expect giant leaps? Only time will tell.

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