On the video that made the 24-year-old Pakistani singer Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch a viral hit on YouTube, there is a solitary guitarist. As her modern interpretation of Reshma's Punjabi folk classic Akhiyan Nu Rehn De builds to its climax, bass, keyboards and drum sounds slowly drop into the mix, but it's still a sparse, mournful sound. All of which makes her next project all the more startling.
Today, Balouch will take to a UK stage backed by the 90-strong BBC Philharmonic Orchestra to sing new arrangements of her own songs, as well as those by legends such as Musarrat Nazir and Noor Jehan. The whole evening, titled Queens of Melody, will be broadcast live on radio and worldwide via the internet.
"Ninety!" she shrieks with mirth. "Are you sure? I've been told 80! Wow, it's going to sound amazing. But honestly, I'm not that daunted."
Well, maybe a little bit. As Balouch - more widely known as QB - prepares for rehearsals, she confides in The National that one of the songs will be by Musarrat Nazir, who is "quite a challenge to get right".
"Oh, and Noor Jehan is a little tough to do well, too," she laughs. "Her music is amazing but very complicated, which is probably why I don't cover her very often. I will try my best to do her justice as she's such a legend but I'm seriously more excited than nervous."
Balouch is in the UK for the BBC Philharmonic Presents series, in which the renowned orchestra (whose Music Boxes commission appeared at the Abu Dhabi Festival last year) collaborates with artists synonymous with the BBC's national radio networks. So far this year, it's worked with the singer-songwriter Richard Hawley and the uber-hip electro act The xx, so when BBC Asian Network suggested Balouch and Shazia Manzoor might be a nice fit for a celebration of Pakistani music, it jumped at the chance. But this project was always about much more than simply slapping loads of strings on classic Punjabi songs. Aware that this was a unique opportunity to fuse two very different styles of music, the orchestra was keen to do the songs justice.
"We asked a composer-arranger with particular interest in Carnatic music to look at the material that the artists wanted to sing," explains the BBC Philharmonic's projects manager Martin Maris. "And our brief to him was to develop a sound that clearly reflected and supported the original material. But we wanted it to have an orchestral depth, too: we're trying to make sure we're getting the sound authentic, but we also want it to surprise people, want it to sound extraordinary."
And there is the real sense that events such as these are great opportunities to build bridges across cultures. Maris admits that when the Philharmonic first knew it would be working with Balouch and Manzoor, its members listened to their recordings in their Greater Manchester office, picking out exciting tracks and playing them over and over again.
"With the best will in the world, we would never have ordinarily done that," admits Maris. "I think that's what makes this exciting, this sense of musical discovery. We live on a diet of mainly western music, so to step out of that, to change our palates, if you like, is great. The musicians love it, too."
"And I know this is a great opportunity for people to listen to not just my music, but the female Pakistani legends we'll be covering," adds Balouch. "It's a whole new game when you do a live performance like this, in front of an audience who may not all be familiar with Pakistani music. We can connect cultures, I completely agree."
Balouch herself is an interesting character - she's only been in the music industry seriously for a year and a half and hasn't limited herself to specific genres in that time. Born in Pakistan but moving to the US in her mid-teens, she doesn't know whether America has influenced her sound - but even the look of her videos suggests someone who has grown up watching rock bands rather than Punjabi folk.
"I don't want to rush into a debut album, but it will come, and when it does I want it to sound original, that's most important," she says. "I am into Sufism and Punjabi folk, but I do like to fuse it with pop and rock. Maybe lots of people like Bollywood, house or trance, but there is another way, I think."
One being, of course, the openness to working with an orchestra. What's most encouraging is that the orchestra itself sees this as the start of a "conversation" rather than the end of a journey.
"I hope it will bring a new audience and encourage and delight our existing audience," says Maris. "But the best outcome of all is that it fascinates a potential future audience, enthralled by this fusion of sounds."
• The BBC Asian Network's Queens of Melody evening begins broadcasting at 9.30pm (GST) tonight. Go to www.bbc.co.uk/asianetwork to listen to it live.
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