Keynotes II ~ ’79 to ’86 – by Lynette Dias Gouveia

Keynotes II with Hilary Furtado, Nobert Furtado, Maxwell Dias, Trevor D’mello, Alan Vanderlowen,
Ainsley Highfield, William Joseph, David Joseph
Artwork ~ by Farah Abro © Legendary Musicians of Karachi

© Legendary Musicians of Karachi

Keynotes II with Hilary Furtado,  Nobert FurtadoMaxwell 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

Keynotes II

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.

Allan D’souza ~ That girl looks like Doreen D’Souza Bowmaker. Maxi is that right? Hey Lynette, whenever there were good looking women on stage that one guy you know too well almost always happened to be around.  Too much of a coincidence, wouldn’t you say so?.

Spittaman Petigara ~ yessss, this deff brings back memories

Keynotes II at the Nasreen Room
~ Alan Vanderlowen, Nobert Furtado, Ainsley Highfield, Maxwell Dias, Maxwell Dias and William Joseph
Artwork by ~ Farah Abro © Legendary Musicians of Karachi

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………..

Keynotes II ~ Nobert Furtado, William Joseph, Maxwell Dias,
Ainsley Highfield, Trevor D’mello and Hilary Furtado.
Artwork ~ by Farah Abro

Allan Smith ~ This was the band that made me who i am today..  hats of to all of you.
Neil Araujo ~ Same here Allan it was also our hard work.

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… that is not open for Discussion either LOL!!! I can get away with that…just because!!!

 Tony Dsouza ~ The best sounding Band of Karachi I ever heard. They were like a Cassette playing.
Ashley Clements ~ Truly legends, would have love to be in that era. Damn…
Flavian Fernandes~ The Good old days, alas the youth are missing a real lot
Ron Pinto ~ Nobby is really handsome in this one !!
Merlyn Furtado ~ Hey Ron.. you think so…????
Menin Rodrigues ~ Some members of the West Indies cricket team attended this New Year’s Eve Ball at the CYC in 1983…I think!
Michael Sylvester Rodrigues ~ My People’s!  So what!  Yes I did sleep w/ one of them.  No not your Dad Lynette.  At 21 back then, we did not even think about stuff like what it is today.   Trevor and me;  we were/ are the best of Friends and his Mom made us home made Booze, food and I just stayed over and then had good breakfast in the morning.  But if said that to people these days, they would never ever understand.  We walked …as Friends hands over each others shoulder…..WTF…….Dang!….Times have changed….  but life was so pure for me… my people in the 60 & 70’s.
Atif Ali Khan ~ Look at Hillary, Jackson 5 cut!!
Clarence Lobo ~ loved the Keynotes! nice original pic!!

Keynotes II ~ Alan Vanderlowen, Ainsley Highfield,
Maxwell Dias with his famous black limited edition Les Paul and William Joseph

Boniface Herbert ~ One of my fav band, great guys !!!
Kevin Francis ~ hey max your Les paul.
Maxwell Dias ~ Yeah man gone and i dont know where??? No further comments!!!!
Valentina Fernandes ~ i think i know where it is!!!
Ron Pinto ~ Hilary looks like James Brown !! this is nice !!!
Ali Tim ~ Hilary, Boney M ?  lol…..actually could be true.  Hilary has played in so many bands that one does not know that he probably once was in Boney M too—– i grew up seeing him play and he is still at it !  Btw Ron , was that a compliment for Hilary …?


8 thoughts on “Keynotes II ~ ’79 to ’86 – by Lynette Dias Gouveia

  1. I had the priviledge of seeing this band in action in Karachi…definitely the best band in those days. I still remember a few of the members but very fortunate to know a couple as friends. Here’s to good memories…CHEERS!!! (If there is ever a REUNION…I’ll be there!)

  2. Keynotes right ? Nasreen room PC. Been there . Was always shy and to be honest I never had money to sit there and buy something to eat …I was impressed with the guitars and amps they had ….I always wanted to play instruments …..but I had to go to college …study . Few times a friend took me there ….but all we did was stand in the lobby and heard the band play from outside the room …..did not have money to enter Nasreen room or whatever room it was ….I used to look at rich couples go there from the counter of the lobby ….then in the mid 80 s Sind medical college had a get together at PC … A class party . Keynotes was playing …i sat down and heard them play pop songs ……I was very inspired …I wanted to become a musician …I graduated …and during my house job ….I formed the MIlestones …..the rest is history . 1990 it was !

  3. Such fond memories… Starting with the original Keynotes. Loved, loved, loved to hear them play and enjoyed all the dances they played for. Had the honor of having them play at our wedding 32 years ago at Hotel Metropole and why not, my brother-in-law (Crofton’s Brother) Ainsley Highfield was the handsome “Drummer Boy.” Alan Vandy, Nobby, Hillary, Max, Willie, David, Trevor D’Mello & Kevin Frances (correct me if I am wrong, he played with them too for a while) Solly, Allan Smith. They also played at our daughter Sydel’s First Communion party at the KGA. Cheers to all of you… you are certainly legends and will always be remembered no matter where you are. Best wishes always, Sandy and Crofton Highfield.

  4. KEYNOTES…well, well! Some great memories to share. Between the great Ian Fyfe (Late) and I, we EMCEED lots and lots of shows and weddings during that time where the Keynotes (and many other bands) played to the delight of the people attending. It was a pleasure doing shows with them, always so cooperative (as emcees we had to regulate the time between sessions). Their music was the best at that time – a Karachi of another time and era, and surely, another country! In 1982, I organized one of Karachi’s first fashion shows along with Tanvir Jamshed (TJ) called “Fashion Forecast ’82” at the Holiday Inn (now Marriott) and we got Keynotes and Talismen (can you imagine both bands for ONE occasion?) to play live for the sequences! The outfits for both bands were especially designed and tailored by TJs! And guess who was the choreographer for us?…Ambassador Sherry Rehman! The ‘Keynotes’ also played at the pioneering ‘Lifestyle Awards’ that were given out the same night! A couple of years later at the Sheraton, I took a senior rep of YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) who was visiting Pakistan to the Nasreen Room at the Inter-Con and we danced to the Keynotes’ music…”my word” she said, “these guys are as good as the ones I hear in Paris, London and New York!” Hats off to you guys, each one of you on LMK, the original legends of the pop music scene in Karachi and kudos to LMK – its an heroic effort of historical importance, keep it up!

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