What is Bumbu Sauce?

Patari employees argue over many things – Why do certain people insist on inserting spaces before punctuation? Is Pinjra Sufi Rock? Why do bands break up? What color is our logo? How is Aja Re possibly in the top charts?

If you look really really hard in these discussions there is sometimes something useful said about music. Coupled with our collective sadness over the demise of publications such as Bandbaja and Koolmuzone, this led us to want to put together a collection of the best things said about Pakistani music. This is our attempt to give back – we’d love your feedback.

To start with, we relive the momentary euphoria that was Bumbu Sauce. Bumbu Sauce emerged in late 2010 with a handful of expertly-packaged punk songs that soon gathered a cultish Twitter following.

It’s not easy to trace Bumbu Sauce’s lineage in Pakistani pop. Instead their significance was Pakistani appropriation of a traditional rock sound. Similar to how eP drew on Tool, and Junoon on Zeppelin, Bumbu Sauce found their cultural roots in late 70s Punk. As such the band has described their music as Punkjabi, but we like this description a little bit more:

 

Bumbu Sauce’s entrance to the scene in late 2010 was an exercise in PR genius. Jiggernaut, alternatively titled The Taliban Song, caught the eyes of The New York Times & The Guardian when it was released as the first single. It was almost too-easy to fit into the Pakistani-youth-fights-Taliban-with-rock narrative, but we reckon the band saw it coming and used it to their advantage. This gave the band a much-coveted international route to local fame, which remains second only to censorship by the Pakistani government in efficacy of raising local pop acts to stardom.

Bistee Proof

Their first, and to date only EP, Bistee Proof, is a mish-mash of pop-culture references, punk riffs, and general Punjabi in-your-faceness. Perhaps the strangest thing about Bumbu Sauce is their seeming lack of musical lineage to any pop bands that came before or after them. To this day their songs exist in a little bubble of Bumbu. The aesthetics of Punk – simple sound and complex rebellion – exist spiritually in other Pakistani pop. But never was the texture of the sound this close to 70s British Punk. Perhaps as a result, Bistee Proof is accompanied by a certain wave of nostalgia that one associates with an era that is no longer within reach.

But five years on, this EP is still pretty Bumbu.