Chup is Zeb and Haniya's (pronounced "Zay-eb and Haa-nee-ya) debut album, which was released in July of 2008. The female-cousin duo has been marked as one of the first all-female bands from Pakistan. Ranging from alternative pop, art pashto and folk, ethnic blues, and world music, their music cannot be confined to just one category. Some of their influences include Suzanne Vega, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Simon and Garfunkel, Mark Knopfler, and Muddy Waters. At times, I can definitely hear glimpses of all their influences in their music. Zeb and Haniya have a surprisingly natural sound to them, which is refreshing.
In 2000, while attending college in the United States, Zeb and Haniya started playing together. They basically began experimenting with music as a hobby, but with a great response from the college community, decided to start recording. Zeb has been training as a vocalist since 1998 with the acclaimed Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan. Her first cousin Haniya is a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.
The self-track titled song "Chup" proves that contemporary Pakistani music is not just a man's domain. As one of the most popular songs downloaded on the internet, and having gotten generous airplay, “Chup” is one of Zeb and Haniya’s most well-known songs. It was written and composed during a break when they were in college. The song begins with a catchy guitar riff and a bossanova-sounding drum beat. Horns play throughout, and it's hard not to tap your foot or even start dancing while this song is playing.
Between Zeb's classical-sounding vocals and Zaniya's beautiful guitar arrangements, this Pakistani duo creates beautiful and highly emotive sounds.