Guitarist Aamir Zaki passes away at 49

Published: June 2, 2017


KARACHI: One of Pakistan’s top guitar virtuosos, Aamir Zaki, died due to heart failure on Friday, his family and friends confirmed. He was 49.

According to brother Shahid Zaki, he had been suffering from prolonged illness for quite some time.

Playing guitar since the age of 14, Zaki was best known for a short stint with the Vital Signs in 1994 when he toured globally with the group. He also played with the band on their fourth album before being asked to leave.

He then released his debut solo album Signature in 1995, from which the song Mera Pyaar became a massive hit.

The musician, who made his overdue debut on Coke Studio in 2014, was last seen in action performing at the two-day long I Am Karachi Music Festival. He recently collaborated with Saleem Javed, reworking the singer’s classic Tum Mere Ho.

Aamir Zaki — the fashion statement

Widely considered the most influential guitarist in the country’s history, Zaki was known both for his musical genius and volatile temperament. Even so, according to most of his colleagues, he has left a void that is not only difficult, but perhaps even impossible to fill.

“I must say that he was the most talented guitarist I ever came across in Pakistan. Not just as a musician, but even as a person, he was likeable and humble,” fellow Vital Signs alumni and guitarist Asad Ahmed told The Express Tribune.

“He was a great teacher as well, who inspired so many people. He inspired them to just pick up an instrument and play, and when someone like him goes away, it doesn’t really feel good. It’s a loss for the music industry but more than that, for people in general, because he was one of a kind. He is someone who will be missed but celebrated.”

Calling him the most influential guitarist in Pakistan, Fuzon band member Imran Momina, also known as Emu, regretted not having worked with Zaki one last time. “We have been honoured to play with him several times. He was such a great mentor and a great person to hang out with as well, and it’s just sad to hear this news,” he said. “I have one regret because I wanted to work with him one more time on a project and it just couldn’t happen. Sadly, he succumbed to illness and other factors in life.”

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Nescafe Basement producer and Call front man Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan, known by the mononym Xulfi, meanwhile express disbelief and sorrow on Facebook. “I cannot believe this. But this is the truth of our world, of our lives. It’s the truth of time. A guitarist, who was a genre in his own right in our country, has breathed his last. In a world of vocalists, this guy challenged the norm and succeeded. Back then, watching him made me believe in the power of music, even without words. He made me believe that I can make it if I never give up even as an instrumentalist.”

Zaki’s funeral is to be held after Fajr prayers on Saturday, the guitarist’s friends and associates said. He is to be buried in a graveyard in Karachi’s Steel Town locality shortly after.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • MA
    Jun 2, 2017 - 6:53PM

    Shocking! May Allah rest his soul in peace.Recommend

  • Yusuf Jan
    Jun 2, 2017 - 6:59PM

    RIP Amir Zaki – remembering our days at NAPA.Recommend

  • Danish
    Jun 2, 2017 - 6:59PM

    Huge loss to whatever that is left of the Pakistani music scene. :(Recommend

  • Maximus
    Jun 2, 2017 - 7:22PM

    RIP in peace Aamir Zaki !Recommend

  • farhan kermani
    Jun 2, 2017 - 7:33PM

    Rest in Peace…. brilliant artist :(Recommend

  • Phajja
    Jun 2, 2017 - 7:34PM

    Loved his music…Always struck as the strong silent type. RIPRecommend

  • Yasir Hasan
    Jun 2, 2017 - 7:42PM

    oh sad to hear that.. RIP Maestro Recommend

  • Hassan
    Jun 2, 2017 - 7:49PM

    RiP, big lose of music indusry Recommend

  • Asif Abdullah
    Jun 2, 2017 - 8:17PM

    Guitar of Pakistan music scene has turned silent……. R.I.P sirRecommend

  • Amir
    Jun 2, 2017 - 8:34PM

    Rest in Peace.
    One of Pakistan’s excellent, yet underrated artistRecommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Jun 2, 2017 - 8:52PM

    RIP Zaki, you’ve been a huge inspiration. Thank you.Recommend

  • monica
    Jun 2, 2017 - 9:01PM

    Massive hit of the time mera pyar…may his soul rest in Peace.Recommend

  • eman asad
    Jun 2, 2017 - 9:37PM

    R. I. PRecommend

  • Adnan
    Jun 2, 2017 - 9:53PM

    A true musical talent, one of the few yet virtuoso guitarists, surely a legendary caliber; have a lot of nice nostalgic memories of his riffs. RIP.Recommend

  • javed Qamer USA
    Jun 2, 2017 - 11:55PM

    I am shocked and saddened. May Allah give him a place in paradise.Recommend

  • tyrone
    Jun 3, 2017 - 12:15AM

    Very tragic, we have lost a guitar player of par excellence. Recommend

  • tyrone
    Jun 3, 2017 - 12:20AM

    We have lost a guitar player of par excellence Recommend

  • Amin
    Jun 3, 2017 - 12:50AM

    Was with him in the guitar classes in 1981 at Rangoon Walla hall. Whab was our teacher there. Zaki had a nice demenure, Ised to take walks with him after classes upto Bhadurabad, God bless him.Recommend

  • Haseeb Iqbal
    Jun 3, 2017 - 4:59AM

    Its so sad for Pakistan. His songs are so nice and relaxing. Allah bless the departed soul. I am still in shock…lovely person.Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jun 3, 2017 - 12:20PM

    Another genius lost by Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 3, 2017 - 2:34PM

    Legend Recommend

  • Faheem Sherwani
    Jun 4, 2017 - 8:14AM

    RIP…very sad and shocking news. May Allah give him a place in paradise. Ameen suman ameen Recommend

  • Dawood Khan
    Jun 5, 2017 - 2:51PM

    I am shocked and saddened. May Allah give him a place in Jannat ul firdos Ameen suma Ameen Recommend

  • ArtofNoiz
    Aug 14, 2017 - 12:16PM

    V,Sad to hear, so shoking, a big loss for paki musicians.
    May Allah rest his soul in peace

  • Sanna.
    Aug 28, 2017 - 7:17PM

    Realy vry upst to hear ths shokng news as I ws the silent fan of zaki since his launching Mera Pyar songRecommend

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