© Legendary Musicians of Karachi
Keynotes II with Hilary Furtado, Nobert Furtado, Maxwell Dias, Trevor D’mello, Alan Vanderlowen, Ainsley Highfield, William Joseph, David Joseph, Allan Smith and Neil Araujo.
Photographs contributed by Lynette Dias Gouveia and Ulysses Polacco
Artwork ~ by Farah Abro
Category ~ Legendary Musicians of Karachi
It was 1979 or thereabouts when Nobert Furtado aka Nobby (bass) and Julius Saldhana (keys) returned to Karachi from the Far East after performing there for several years with legendary musicians; Colin D’Souza (guitar) and Martin Fernandes (drums). They hooked up with Bobby Fredrick, Tony D’Souza (TJ) and Maxwell Dias aka Max and immediately started playing at the Horseshoe Restaurant as “The Talismen” since Nobby and Julius were the original members of that band.
The band split and Nobby (bass) and Max (lead guitar) teamed up with Hilary Furtado (sax and vocals), Trevor D’Mello (sax and vocals), Ainsley Highfield (drums) and William Joseph (keyboards). Hilary was the only member of the original Keynotes left in Karachi as the rest immigrated to Canada.
Keynotes II took form and immediately secured a contract at the famous Nasreen Room in Intercontinental Hotel (now Pearl Continental) and performed there 6 days a week for over 6 years.
The band gained immediate recognition and became extremely popular and in addition played regularly for parties at the Marine House, American, British, German Consulates and other diplomatic enclaves. They were always asked to perform live at the private residences of the elite and prominent figures of Karachi.
These guys were extremely dedicated musicians and practiced daily after they performed at the Nasreen Room till the wee hours of the morning even though some of them had day jobs to run too.
In 1983, Trevor D’mello immigrated to Australia and William Joseph could not continue as it was challenging keeping up with his day job at the US Commissary. So Allan Vanderlowen and David Joseph stepped in.
Trevor D’mello and Hilary Furtado were good front men and saxophonists.
David is the younger brother of William Joseph and both brothers though humble and soft spoken were extremely versatile keyboardists.
Ainsley Highfield a solid punchy drummer.
Nobby, a killer bassist and revolutionary musician of Karachi bringing in serious funk and groove to his bass lines. Max (my dad) says that Nobby was the best bass player he ever had the opportunity to play with.
Alan Vanderlowen was fantastic on vocals and guitar.
Maxwell Dias and his black 1960 limited edition Les Paul needs no introduction. He is known for his distinctive tone on lead guitar and husky vocals.
Nobby and Ainsley permanently moved to America and in came Allan Smith and Neil Araujo. Allan Smith was one of the top upcoming drummers at the time and musicians of the Keynotes II are extremely proud of his success and recognition! Neil Araujo had big shoes to fill in but managed to do a pretty good job.
In 1988 Keynotes II disbanded. Allan Vanderlowen continued playing at the Sheraton but he too emigrated from Karachi to the US. David Joseph also moved permanently to Canada.
Keynotes II was definitely one of the best live bands of the late 70s and early 80s.
Note: If we get lucky we might share some recordings of the Keynotes II here soon. Hilary Furtado is in possession of two tapes that were recorded by a fellow musician and dear friend Glen Boyle sometime in 1983.
Comments from other musicians and fans
Solomon David Clements ~ This was the best setup! Even had the privilege and honor to play with all these guys! great musicians and great music! miss those days, subbed for Ainsley on many occasions and enjoyed it every time i was at the Nasreen Room
Tony Dsouza ~ The Best Band ever of Pakistan.
Raza M. Syed ~ I have such great memories associated with this group! They were the best.
Allan Smith ~ my favorite band…
Daniel D’Cunha ~ Lynette, nice to to see Max pic after a long time…..
Ron Pinto ~ Real nice one!! Nobby Furtado!! He was the Best Bass Player !! And this is the Max and Hilary that i remember !!
Lynette Dias Gouveia ~ Ron this line up started when you guys left for Canada in the 70s
Michael Sylvester Rodrigues ~ Ron, exactly my sentiments, I felt the same…it was his presence w/that AFRO…huge, and solid Bass lines.
Spittaman Petigara ~ yessss, this deff brings back memories
Tahir Gul Hasan ~ That’s how I remember you guys!
Ron Pinto ~ Compliments for Hilary and Nobby always!! I used to be at their house often and Nobby used to take me with him to work always when they were playing at the Beach Luxury and give me one free cigarette every day and now i smoke because of him !!! Thanks Nobby…………..
Robin John ~ Hey Hillary bashter………..
Eric Dsilva ~ Loved this band!! Great musicians, better friends!!!
Michael Sylvester Rodrigues ~ Trevor was my Protege at the time. I took him into ‘ Blackjacks’ in 1978-79 when Bobby Frederick left for Abudhabi/Dubai. Yeap!!! he did not even know how to hold a Guitar. I showed him his 1st. few chords at Sopariwala Block and gave him a Tappu with love if he played wrong. He sang really well and then on his own picked up the Sax…after I left!!! Sweet memories!!!! he is a good Sax player now ‘ Bakers Beach’ Just the way you are…Billy Joel….he plays to the T…!!!! I was impressed!!!Me and my Baby Brother!!!…He is a Ladies Man too…..now that is not open for Discussion either LOL!!! I can get away with that…just because!!!