From Academic Kids

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Left to right: Salman Ahmed, Ali Azmat and Brian O'Connell. Junoon circa 2003.

Junoon (meaning "obsession" in Urdu) is Pakistan's most popular Sufi rock band formed in 1990 by former Vital Signs' guitarist Salman Ahmad. At the time, Junoon consisted of two other members: Ali Azmat on vocals and Nusrat Hussain on keyboards.

Their self titled debut album, released in 1991, received mixed results since Junoon's rock 'n' roll sound was still fairly new to the Pakistani audience. By the second album (titled Talaash), Nusrat Hussaain had left the band, so Salman Ahmed's long time friend, New York-born Brian O'Connell, joined Junoon on bass. Although the album was hailed by most critics, it failed to make a dent in the popular market.At this time the band was pushed aggresively by Pakistan's version of Lester Bangs, Nadeem F. Paracha.

After the release of their third album Inquilaab (Revolution), Junoon had managed to gather a huge fan following largely due to their distinct sound which was a mixture of rock 'n' roll and traditional Pakistani folk music. Heavily influenced by rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Junoon aimed at combining loud guitar riffs with the tranquility of sufi poetry by the likes of Rumi and Baba Bulleh Shah.

Success didn't come easy to Junoon as they tried to defy traditions in a conservative country like Pakistan. Their politically influenced songs were often subject to censorship, which led to the eventual ban from all state run television and radio during the rule of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It was during this time that the band gained a tremendous following through out South Asia when they turned to neighbor India's private satellite and cable channels for coverage.

In 1998, the band took both India and Pakistan by storm with their hit single "Sayonee" which was part of their tremendously successful fourth studio album Azadi (Freedom) released by EMI Records. In 1999, Junoon released their fifth studio album Parvaaz (The Flight), which was based mostly on the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah. Parvaaz was recorded and mixed at Abbey Road Studios in London and was hailed by critics as Junoon's finest work to date.

Junoon released Ishq in 2001 and Dewaar in 2003. Both albums were poorly received by fans and critics alike.

In 2004, Brian O'Connell was let go and Pakistani guitar virtuoso Mekaal Hasan was added on bass for live shows.



Salman Ahmad (Guitars)

Ali Azmat (Vocals)

  • Former vocalist for the band Jupiters.
  • Currently working on solo album titled Social Circus which is due out in 2005.

Brian O'Connell (Bass)

  • Was friends with Salman Ahmad long before Junoon was formed.
  • Joined the band during the second album Talaash in 1992.
  • Was married to Pakistani actress and model Ayesha Alam.
  • Announced departure from the band in 2004.

Nusrat Hussain (Keyboards)

  • Was previously with the band Vital Signs.
  • Was part of Junoon only during the debut album.
  • Went on to release a solo album in 1992.


Year Studio Albums Label
1991 Junoon EMI: Pakistan
1993 Talaash (The Search) EMI: Pakistan
1996 Inquilaab (Revolution) VCI
1997 Azadi (Freedom) EMI Arabia / VCI
1999 Parvaaz (The Flight) EMI Arabia / Lips Records
2001 Ishq (Love) Lips Records
2003 Dewaar (The Wall) Sadaf Stereo

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