KARACHI: He came, he saw and he left too soon. Aamir Zaki’s death took the Pakistani entertainment industry by shock but there was something about this mad genius that concerned veterans and newbies even while he was alive; a dearth of recorded music.
Musicians who were in touch with him during his final days believe Zaki had recorded loads of music on his own during the past few years but none of those hard drives could be retrieved from his apartment. Others consider this to be just another theory to justify the mystery surrounding his life and works – he was a great live musician who didn’t get as many opportunities to record.
Only Zaki would know what actually happened but the second case of missing recordings makes more sense and can be actually corroborated. However, the good part is that Zaki’s final recording will be unveiled via South Asia’s biggest music show – Coke Studio. Much like Amjad Sabri, the virtuoso who the late Rais Khan once called the best ‘western music’ player in Pakistan is in for a grand farewell.
The Mera Pyar hit-maker will feature in a classical Thumri, Naina Moray being rendered by Javed Bashir and his brother Akbar Ali. The song has been produced by Jaffar Zaidi who has nothing but fond memories of working with Zaki.
“Eight years ago Aamir bhai heard one of Kaavish’s songs in the studio and decided to play on it and we were left spellbound,” recalls Zaidi while talking to The Express Tribune. “What was more awe inspiring was the fact that he did it only out of love as it was our first album. I could never repay him for his graciousness.”
Since then Zaidi was itching to work with Zaki again, not only on just another song but a song that really meant something to him. “When I was working on Naina Moray, I knew I had to ask Aamir bhai to be part of it, and as always, he poured his heart out. God Bless his loving and compassionate soul.”
Bashir met Zaki for the first time during the recording for Coke Studio 10 and he was amazed by his humility despite the stature he had. “He was so down to earth and gave me the respect of a senior and once he started playing, I was truly amazed,” confessed Bashir, adding, “He is definitely the most talented guitarist we have and for me, he is still alive and will continue to live through his music.”
This rendition of Naina Moray will be a cross between a Sufi Kaafi and Thumri, and in Ali’s opinion, Zaki added a lot of oomph to the sound. “Zaki was excellent like always and he added a lot to the beautiful composition by Jaffar. He was a great guitarist and undeniably irreplaceable. ”
As coincidental as it may be, it’s quite reassuring to see an unsung legend like Zaki get a fitting farewell by the music industry. However, he was once asked to leave Coke Studio by Rohail Hyatt post audition, and remained dejected till he was finally invited to the famed platform during Strings’ tenure. Though invited back, things didn’t turn out as peachy as they seemed and the late musician came out even more agitated about the cumbersome creative process of the show.
We are not sure whether Zaki himself would have preferred such a goodbye, but as destiny would have it, this will be his final show.
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.