From the first episode to the curtain call, a recurring theme throughout Nescafé Basement’s Season 4 has been that of honouring the greats of Pakistani music. While the musicians on the show have belted out new renditions of classics such as Awaz’s Jadoo Ka Charagh and Junoon’s Talaash; it is the cover versions of tracks such as Aaroh’s Na Kaho and Mizraab’s Kitni Sadiyaan that have stuck with the audiences. Where Na Kaho was a posthumous tribute to the late Aaroh guitarist, Haider Hashmi, the season’s grand finale featured Kitni Sadiyaan, as a celebration of maestro Faraz Anwar’s contribution to Pakistani music.
Recollecting their decision to pay tribute to the Mizraab guitarist, Nescafé Basement producer Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan recalls that while he had always been a fan of both the song and Anwar, the track seemed to have clicked with him when he had heard it recently. “I heard it ahead of this season and had tears rolling down my cheeks. It is such a great song,” Khan, colloquially known as Xulfi tells The Express Tribune.
Shedding light on how a musician of Anwar’s stature is not given the respect he deserves, Xulfi feels it was important to recognise his influence on the music industry. “It takes years of hard work to reach a world-class level in anything that you do and Anwar is the perfect example of this. Over two and a half decades into the music industry and this guy has stuck to his true calling despite all odds.”
Anwar himself makes a guest appearance in the tribute song, which is something that young lads at the basement will cherish for the rest of their lives. “If you look at the video you would notice how everyone else is seated down and playing their instruments whereas Faraz Anwar is standing up. It’s like a classroom where he is the teacher,” Xulfi proclaims.
The latest instalment of the show which drew to a close on Saturday has not only received appreciation from the audiences but also from several artists within the music industry. “There is no point in doing anything if there isn’t any progression… Otherwise you can just refer to the show as Nescafé Basement’s rather than Season 1, 2 or 4,” says Xulfi. “And by the time we had reached the point where we had to do Na Kaho and Kitni Sadiyaan there was clarity in vision. The band was like a well-oiled machine and we knew what we had to do. This season we wanted to honour the unsung heroes of our music.”
For now, Xulfi is planning to take a short break before he goes back to studio to record a brand new single of his band, Call.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.
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