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Timezones© Šejma Fere


The TIMEZONES podcast series plunges into the world of artists and their practices, asking: What does living and working in culture and the arts involve in different countries, cities and contexts today?

© Video cut by Emma Nzioka

Current issue

Episode 19 – Karachi

Episode 19 – Karachi Artwork: © Šejma Fere A podcast by Ali Gul Pir

Babar Mangi
Sarah Waqar
Shehzad Ghias
Gul Muhammad

Chaotic Karachi: Expressions for SanityExpressions for Sanity

Episode 19 of the Timezones podcast series, co-initiated and co-produced by Norient and the Goethe-Institut. According to the rapper and comedian Ali Gul Pir, Karachi is the most misunderstood place in the world. For Timezones, he produced an episode that will give you a “real” feel of what it’s like to be an artist in this city of a million plus dreams, hopes, and problems.

A world leading magazine called Pakistan “the most dangerous place in the world” but take it from Ali Gul Pir, who has lived most of his life there: “It’s an amazing place. Karachi has given me my identity, my voice, and space to express.” In this podcast episode, he meets artists that he’s friends with, to talk about how they use collaborations and work to express themselves, and he also discovers the hurdles of a Pakistani female guitarist.

© Karrl

Bonus Material

Can a Huge Crowd Become a Huge Audience
moderated and produced by Rafay Mahmood feat. Bilal Ali

While Karachi is a melting pot of various cultures, foods, and languages, its creative producers, particularly musicians, live every day with looming uncertainty. A city of over 20 million people is fighting over resources such as water and electricity and yet the musicians here keep pumping new life into its fabric and carving a new tomorrow for themselves with every passing day. Karachi is not hostile to its musicians, the audience loves them, but a lack of a proper music ecosystem and soft control of political parties and in some cases religious outfits makes it really hard for the musicians and the crowd to connect. Every day is a struggle to survive as a musician, a good season of concerts might not come again so one has to live with a backup. Just a few brands who are interested in investing in a select few musicians aren’t enough to turn the huge mass that is Karachi into an audience. The people are thirsty for music, the artists are desperate to perform but the future is uncertain.

Rafay Mahmood © private Rafay Mahmood is a Karachi-based journalist, researcher, and commentator. Follow him on Instagram, X or Facebook.

Bilal Ali © private Bilal Ali is the front-man of the pop-electro rock band Kashmir. Bilal and his fellows rose to fame by clinching a widely known talent competition, Pepsi Battle of the Bands. Since then, Kashmir has released two albums and toured Pakistan as one of the newer bands catering to the Gen Z listeners. Bilal is now also working on his solo album. Follow him or his band on Instagram.



Artistic Editor: Suvani Suri
Project Management: Hannes Liechti
Video Trailer: Karrl
Jingle Voiceover: Nana Akosua Hanson
Jingle Mix: Daniel Jakob
Mastering: Adi Flück, Centraldubs
Artwork: Šejma Fere
Copy Editing: Kathrin Hadeler​​​​​​​

This episode is supported by:

Previous issues

About the project

The TIMEZONES podcast series plunges into the world of artists and their practices, asking: What does living and working in culture and the arts involve in different countries, cities and contexts today? The artists’ thoughts on their moods, their social, political and intellectual realities and their philosophies (of life) have been worked up into experimental audio collages.

The podcasts run the gamut of formats and content, from straight journalism to experimental and documentary approaches, ethnography and fiction, sound art and improvisation. The TIMEZONES series endeavours to create new artistic forms of storytelling, listening and exchange across the boundaries of geography, time zones, genres and practices.

The TIMEZONES Podcast Series is co-initiated and co-produced by Norient and the Goethe Institut.



Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

Kathrin Schätzle