Zeb and Haniya

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Zeb and Haniya
OriginKohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
GenresPop rock, alternative rock, sufi rock, folk rock, classical music, blues
Years active2007-
LabelsFire Records, True Brew Records
Associated actsMekaal Hasan Band, Mauj, Noori
Past membersZebunnisa Bangash
Haniya Aslam

Zeb and Haniya (Pashto: زیب اور حانیا‎, pronounced as "Zayb aur Haa-nee-ya") was a Pakistani music group of two cousins from Kohat. It was active from 2007 to 2014. The duo's have sung songs in Urdu, Pashto, Dari and Turkish, often combining the pop music with folk music and creating a diverse body of work. Their music was described at various times as alternative, art folk, ethnic blues and easy listening by international reviewer's and critics.[1]

While their family is originally from Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, much of the band's work took place in Islamabad and Lahore. Their itinerary for their global tour was set in 2009. They have performed mostly in the Dubai, and in some parts of Sindh and Punjab.

The band was a project started by two musicians, who are cousins, Zebunnisa Bangash and Haniya Aslam. Both are ethnic Pashtuns. They began writing music together when studying as undergraduates at Smith College and Mount Holyoke College in the United States, although have stated that music was always a part of their life at home.[2]


Formation (2000–2007)[edit]

Zebunnisa Humayun Bangash and Haniya Aslam, a female duo, have evolved from two college kids experimenting with music as a hobby to artists who have created one of the most anticipated albums of 2007. Zeb has been singing since age eight and has been training as a vocalist since 1998 with acclaimed Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan. Her fellow musician and first cousin, Haniya, is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Zeb and Haniya was conceived circa from 2000 to 2003, the girls’ college days in the United States, where Zeb studied Economics and History of Art and Haniya studied Computer Science and Anthropology. Chup, their first song, came to life in sessions at an abandoned café in the basement of Zeb's dorm. After a tremendous response from the college community, Zeb and Haniya recorded a rough version of Chup and another song titled Yaad with Mekaal Hasan (of Mekaal Hasan Band). Once again, the response was remarkable. The songs were a hit. They spread on the internet and soon found their way onto Pakistan’s City FM 89 radio waves.

Chup! (2008)[edit]

Zeb and Haniya released their debut album in July, 2008. Nine of their debut album’s 10 songs are original compositions. Produced by Mekaal Hasan, the accompanying musicians on the album read like a ‘best of’ list in the national music scene: former Noori drummer, Louis 'Gumby' Pinto on percussion, Shallum Asher Xavier of Fuzon on lead guitar, and bass by Kamran 'Mannoo' Zafar. Mauj’s Omran Shafique contributes blues lead guitar on one song, and Co-Ven’s Hamza Jafri, Sikander Mufti and Sameer Ahmed feature on the album's closing number, a high-spirited fusion track. Finally, the accomplished Norwegian jazz trumpeter, Hildegunn Øiseth, makes an unforgettable appearance in five tracks.[1][3]

After the success of Chup and Yaad, Zeb and Haniya’s climb up the music industry ladder began with live performances. The first was commissioned by the American Consulate in Islamabad. This was followed by the first full-length Zeb and Haniya concert in Lahore. In 2007, the girls began the process of recording their debut album, which was released in Pakistan in July 2008. In addition to recording the album and shooting for videos, 2007 and 2008 were marked by a rising tide of publicity and acclaim, including a multitude of appearances on many major Pakistani television networks, including Geo, Dawn, Aaj, CNBC, and many others. Since the album launch, Zeb and Haniya have been touring the major cities of Pakistan, promoting their album with live shows and media appearances. Zeb and Haniya have also graced print media, with multiple appearances in local Pakistani newspapers and magazines, including The News International, Dawn News, The Friday Times, Newsline, and numerous others, including a feature in the cover story of The Herald's 2008 Annual Issue. Apart from this, the girls have also appeared in many renowned international publications, including Newsweek International, BBC Online World Service, Rolling Stone India, Khaleej Times and The Hindu, to name a few. They were also recently featured in their respective alumnae magazine, Smith College and Mount Holyoke College, as well as on an NPR radio show, The World.[1][4][5]

The band have said that they attempt to produce a diverse body of work, combining pop music with Pushto and Dari folk music.[1] Their debut album received positive reviews in most of Pakistan's major newspapers, and they have been hailed as one of the (if not the) first all-female bands from Pakistan.[2]

Coke Studio (2009–2010)[edit]

In 2009, they performed at Coke Studio Sessions along with artists like Noori, Atif Aslam, Ali Zafar, Strings and many other successful musicians.[6] They performed "Paimona", "Chup" and "Chal Diye" at the Coke Studio Sessions.[7][8] On 14 August 2009, The group performed at the last Coke Studio Session with their song, "Rona Chor Diya".[9]

On 15 May 2010, the line-up for Coke Studio confirmed that Zeb & Haniya will feature in the third season along with many well-known artists and bands like Noori, Aunty Disco Project, Karavan, Entity Paradigm, Abida Parveen and many other successful musicians.[10] On 1 June 2010, Zeb & Haniya recorded and released a soundtrack, also named "Daam", for the Pakistani TV serial Daam. On 6 June 2010, at the first episode, "Reason", of Coke Studio third season Zeb and Haniya featured among well-known artists like Arieb Azhar, Abida Parveen, Meesha Shafi (of Overload), Karavan and Arif Lohar. Zeb and Haniya performed an Afghan folk song, "Bibi Sanam Janem", at the first show of Coke Studio third season.[11] On 20 June 2010, Zeb & Haniya performed a duet "Tann Dolay" with Noori at Coke Studio third season second episode, "Will".[12] On 18 July 2010, Zeb & Haniya performed "Nazaar Eyle", a cover of Turkish singer Barış Manço, at the Coke Studio third season fourth episode, "Form".[13]

The Happy Song (2011–present)[edit]

On 7 April 2011, while talking to NPR Music the band discussed about music in time of extremism in Pakistan. The duo concluded regardless of the country situation they are fully focused on their work and are working on releasing an album. “It is relevant to us, this is the world that we are living in, this the situation that we are surrounded by and we are responding in someway or the other. This song we just wanted it to be a lovely pleasant song that makes you smile and makes you feel good,” said, lead guitarist, Haniya Aslam. And lead vocalist, Zebunnisa Bangash, added “Despite everything, there are beautiful things happening in this country, there are moments of happiness, there’s happiness all around, so we thought it might actually be nice to bring that together into a song.”[14]

On 11 May, in an interview to the newspaper The Express Tribune, Zeb and Haniya confirmed that they will be releasing a seven track Extended-play, The Happy Song, in fall through the record label True Brew Records. Vocalist, Zebunnisa Bangash, during the interview, said “We are feeling a bit more confident, so we are taking a few experimental steps here and there, kind of pushing our envelope a little bit,” and in regard to the album said “It’s going to be a collaborative effort, and several known as well as lesser known people will be involved.”Lead guitarist, Haniya Aslam, added “It’s going to be exciting because the writings are being done without the aim of releasing an album, so the spirit in which things are being done has excited us.” The band also claimed that they are looking forward in making a career in India. Zebunnisa said “India has a huge classical music tradition, which is one of my passions,“.[15]

Zeb contributed to "Sooha Saha" for A R Rahman's Highway Hindi film music in 2014.[16]

Film soundtrack[edit]

Shaan Shahid confirmed that the group would be writing, composing and producing three songs for his upcoming film Chup along with Ali Azmat and Rohail Hyatt.


Studio albums
  • Paimona (Coke Studio 2)
  • Chup (Coke Studio 2)
  • Rona Chor Dia (Coke Studio 2)
  • Chal diyay (Coke Studio 2)
  • Bibi Sanam Jaanam (Coke Studio 3)
  • Nazar Eylee (Coke Studio 3)
  • Kya Khayal Hai (The Dewarists)
  • Laili Jaan (Coke Studio 6)



  1. ^ a b c d "Zeb and Haniya- The Band". Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Syed Shoaib Hasan (21 December 2008). "Pakistan girl band creates a stir". BBC News. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  3. ^ Fire Records Chup! Album Cover and Personnel Retrieved on 14 July 2009
  4. ^ Ahmed, Fasih (12 January 2008). "For The Love Of Pashtun Music". The News International. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  5. ^ Smith Alumnae Quarterly Instruments of change Retrieved on 15 July 2009
  6. ^ Coke Studio, Zeb and Haniya at Coke Studio Retrieved on 15 July 2009
  7. ^ Coke Studio, Paimana Bitte Video at Coke Studio Retrieved on 15 July 2009
  8. ^ Coke Studio, Chal Diye Video at Coke Studio Retrieved on 15 July 2009
  9. ^ Coke Studio Coke Studio – Rona Chor Diya Retrieved on 15 August 2009.
  10. ^ Pakmanzil Lineup of Coke Studio Season 3 (Complete) Retrieved on 16 May 2010.
  11. ^ Episode 1 Reason Retrieved on 22 July 2010.
  12. ^ Episode 2 Will Retrieved on 22 July 2010.
  13. ^ Episode 4 Form Retrieved on 22 July 2010.
  14. ^ Music in time of extremism Retrieved on 11 May 2011
  15. ^ Zeb and Haniya to release new EP this fall Retrieved on 12 May 2011.
  16. ^ [1]

External links[edit]