© Legendary Musicians of Karachi
If you are in the music industry in Pakistan then you will certainly have encountered Anthony Hilary Furtado aka ‘Hilary’ at some point in time.
If you haven’t, then indeed you haven’t been around much because this man is everywhere, from live entertainment to main stream music; he has done and seen it all!
He has played with some of the best musicians in Pakistan and probably all the hotels in town. This man goes a long way and still continues his regular contract at the Pearl Continental.
He recently performed with the Ari Roland Jazz Quartet at the American consulate and was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation.
Our LMK contributor, Chester Williams recently cornered him for this interview.
Hilary how and when did it all begin for you?
I started playing in 1968. First I taught myself how to play the guitar and whilst playing for a Thai band in Singapore in 75/76 I picked up the saxophone; again self taught. Along with both these instruments I took up vocals as well.
Do you come from a musical family?
No! – nobody in our family was musical. Somehow it just hit me and my brother, Nobby Furtado, who btw. is a fantastic bass player.
Which famous musicians have you learnt from or were inspired by?
Tell us about your experiences.
Being in the music field, I have admired most musicians of the yester years but most drawn towards instrumental and sentimental stuff..
My favorites are here in Pakistan with whom I have had the opportunity to perform with i.e. Alamgir, Mohammed Ali Sheikhi, Sadaf Munir, Tehseen Jawed, Faqir & Junoon… I like Ali Zafar but haven’t performed with him yet.
What are your fondest musical memories?
I have always had good memories here in Pakistan and even abroad in countries like UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand & UAE.
Have you recorded any of your music?
I have recorded with various singers and musicians and for those who don’t know I also do loads of jingles aired on the local channels.
Do you have some original music that you would like to record through the support of LMK?
Yes, in the near future.
Tell us about errors that occur at live performances. Have you encountered any and how do you handle them?
With all the experience up my sleeves I manage to cover up mistakes. With live music you just go with the flow and enjoy the experience.
Do you get nervous before any performance?
No, not really but yes I do remember an instance in the mid 70’s when I went to Singapore and had to audition with the guitar. I was dreadfully nervous but eventually got through. I have been in the music business for so long now that nervousness is a thing of the past.
Do you still practice and how often?
Yes, I practice every day for an hour or two
I hear that you used to teach music. Tell us about it?
I used to give vocal lessons to the kids at the Beacon House but not at present.
Are you still performing ‘live’?
I’m performing with “The Keynotes”! Yes! We are still keeping the name going. We perform at the Marco polo in Pearl Continental and twice a week at the Sind Club. Also had the pleasure of performing live at the French & Russian Consulates.
How do you balance your busy music schedule with other obligations – family/job?
Thank God I have never had a problem! Made sure I took time out to spend with my family and I am thankful to them for always supporting me and my music.
What words of advice do you have for the young musicians of Karachi?
My advice to all young musicians is that music is like the ocean, a very vast field thus don’t jump ahead too fast!! Take it one day at a time, enjoy the experience and you will flourish.
Interviewed by ~ Chester Williams
Artwork ~ by ldg