Who are Zeb and Haniya?
Zeb and Haniya’s music speaks to a shared base of human experience while evoking the rich and textured soundscapes of West Asia. Cutting edge and commercially successful, the musicians write their own songs and also rework existing melodies of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
In doing so, the musicians carve a space for music that transcends national boundaries. The duo’s debut album, Chup (Hush) broke to glowing reviews in Pakistan: Herald credited Zeb and Haniya with creating an entirely new cannon of jazz-influenced numbers and blues in Urdu, and The News called their arrival “a landmark event.” All songs in the album, with the exception of Paimana Bitte—an Afghani composition from the 1970s—were written by Haniya and Zeb themselves.
Consequently, the singer-songwriter duo has been described by Deutsche Welles as “among the most innovative musicians in Pakistan.” Across the border, India Today writes that “everything about their music reads as extraordinary.”
Zeb and Haniya’s songs are set to music influenced by the classical tradition of the Indian subcontinent, Latin and west African grooves, American folk and blues, and their lyrics are poignant, soulful, and emotive. Their latest recordings have included songs in Turkish, Dari, and Pushto, and their music has been claimed by diverse audiences across West Asia. They have also performed in Malaysia, Italy, France, Pakistan, and at music festivals in the U.S and Norway, and their music has been received with the generosity of spirit with which it has been composed. Zeb and Haniya’s music is truly global; their songs excavate historical memories shared across national boundaries, and their music speaks to audiences unfamiliar with the language in which their lyrics are written, but open to the transcendent sweep of music.