Lost Notes S2 Ep. 7: Beyond Disco: Nermin Niazi and Feisal Mosleh

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In the early 1980’s, teenage Nermin Niazi and her older brother Feisal dreamt of making a record. They came from music royalty, after all. Many members of their family, including their parents, composed and performed traditional Pakistani music.

The Multi-Generational Musical Family. Photos courtesy of Nermin Niazi.

But when they finally got their chance to make music, the siblings did something entirely new.

One of the siblings' many fashion editorials in '80s Pakistan

They made an album that fused the Pakistani diaspora they belonged to with the British New Wave they loved so much. It was the perfect harmony of both their worlds.

Nermin, Feisal, and session musician Andrew Morris at Zella Studios.

Disco Se Aagay was released both in the U.K. and in Pakistan. And almost immediately, Nermin had to contend with the opinions of both her peers and the press, her white English audience and her Asian listeners. It was a conflict many people face in diaspora - too western for the east and too eastern for the west.

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"East and West" Fashion Fusion

Nermin and Feisal’s disco dream didn’t get the recognition they had hoped for in its time. But it remains a masterpiece: a testament to something lost, something found, and something beyond.

Nermin recording at Zella Studios, Birmingham, England 

Nermin, Feisal, and their LP with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham

Teenage Nermin in Akhbar-E-Jahan, Karachi, Pakistan

A Fashion Shoot with Nermin and Feisal


This piece was produced by Arshia Fatima Haq. Arshia is currently working with Nermin and Feisal to bring Disco Se Aagay to a new generation of listeners this fall.

Special thanks to Diamond Duggal, Maryam Hosseinzadeh, Sweety Kapoor, Jeremy Loudenback, Andi Magenheimer, and Nahid Niazi.

Thanks also to Douglas Ryan and Eloise Stevens for field production support.

Producer: Myke Dodge Weiskopf
Associate Producer: Paulina Velasco
Executive Producer: Jessica Hopper
Creator and Executive Producer: Nick White