Nearly two years have passed since Aaroh lead guitarist Haider Hashmi succumbed to a brain tumour, leaving the entire music fraternity is a state of shock. Remembering the ace guitarist and how instrumental he was in shaping in the landscape of Pakistani music with his band, Nescafe Basement has decided to dedicate their ongoing season’s closing episode to him.
Having interacted with Hashmi at various junctures of his career, show producer Xulfi has great admiration for the late musician’s talents. Recalling his first interaction with Hashmi as if it was yesterday, he said, “Haider [Hashmi] was the first musician that I had ever met in my life. I was a 13-year old and used to play the keyboard at that time … I had performed somewhere and he was also there. Following the performance, he even gave me some tips.”
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While the decision to dedicate an entire episode to Hashmi is admirable, it has still come a long time after the guitarist’s death. “In Pakistan, we only tend to honour legends from previous decades such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sahab. We don’t remember the artists and their contributions from our own time ... how they influenced the music and musicians from the younger generation,” said the former Entity Paradigm guitarist. “Also people keep forgetting that Haider was not just part of Aaroh. He played with several musicians such as Ali Azmat and Ali Azfar,” he added.
Since the episode was not aired till the filing of this report, Xulfi tried to keep a few details back. However, he hinted that fans were in for a surprise. Describing his work on the episode as an emotional experience, he decided to cover Aaroh track Na Kaho as part of the tribute. The hit ballad’s memorable music video had seen Hashmi appear on screen for the first time as an Aaroh guitarist following the departure of Nabeel Nihal.
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“Na Kaho is an emotional song. Haider was a major part of the music video and it was also his first appearance as part of the band [Aaroh],” he said. The episode also marks the return of several Nescafe Basement alumni with all of the show’s guitarists featuring on the track.
The major surprise though comes in the form of Xulfi himself. This is the first time he will be seen playing alongside his understudies on the show. Vocalist Faraz Nayyar will serve as the vocalist.
Aside from the track, a tribute video featuring talking heads from Hashmi’s former band mates and contemporaries such as bassist Khalid Khan and vocalist Farooq Ahmed will also accompany the episode.
Praising Xulfi for taking the initiative, Khan said, “It is heartening to see Nescafe Basement and Xulfi pay tribute to Haider. Farooq and I were both looking to do something like this but we had no platform.” Although he is happy to see his former band mate being remembered, Khan said it was very difficult for him to articulate his thoughts about the untimely death.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2016.
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