Ronny Khan – Musician Profile

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Music was my passion since child hood and this journey in music began when I was in school.  I studied at Basra School and was in the 6th grade when I discovered a piano that was located near the Nursery and KG classes.

I distinctly remember this pianist, a Christian guy (forgot his name) that used to play on it.  Whenever, I would get the opportunity I would go and stand beside him and watch with amazement.

When I got to the 9th grade I bought a harmonium and an accordion.  At that time the accordion was a rare instrument to come by – hardly 4 or 5 in Karachi, this was sometime in 1972.   Later in 1973 as I was beginning to develop my knowledge in music, I bought a YC 20 with a Fender amp.  On the harmonium and accordion I would play folk, Pakistani and Indian music, few western numbers; Besame muchu etc.  Music is so beautiful that once you begin to understand it, there is no going back.  You want to keep learning and practicing and that gives you an inner fulfilment.

I knew quite a few of the live musicians of Karachi and one of them was Glenn Boyle.  One day he came up to me and communicated that they were in the process of securing a contract at The Midway House – with a condition that they must have an organist in the band.  I was very interested and that’s how I stepped into the live music scene of Karachi.

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Ronny Khan, Ronnie Remedios, Donald Duncan, Mario Rebello and Terence Simpson at The Midway house – New Years Dance

I played with these guys for about 6 months which was a great learning experience for me.  Later, another band came up to me that desperately needed an organist and I happily obliged.  The name of the band was Smiling Faces and I stayed with them at the Midway House for a while.  Later on, Bobby Fredericks and Malcolm joined us and we played there for about two years.

In December of 1975 a new band was in the process of being formed for the new Disco –  The  3 Aces.  Atiq Rehman on drums, Farooq Fatah on bass, Iggy on lead guitar, David Fredericks on vocals and me on the keyboard.  I think most of the musicians of Karachi know the whole story.. and thus the band  Like Harvest came into being.

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Ronny Khan on keys with Like Harvest

In 1978, Atiq Rehman took me, David, Bobby and Shakeel (Dad’s Gratitude) to Dubai.  Titus Nunes was already there.  We played in Dubai for about 3 years and had a great experience there.  We came back in 1980 and right away I joined the Communication.  I have to say that they were the best band I have performed with in my life.  I played with them for around a year and a half and then went solo at Holiday Inn (now Mariott hotel).

By the Grace of God Almighty, the journey is still on.  There were many other small bands in between.  I also had the pleasure of working with the legend, Sohail Rana saab for some time and Niaz Ahmad the tv Composer.

I still continue my music and since 2006 to date – have been playing solo at Karachi Boat Club.

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Standing with Sohail Rana at the opening of Yamaha show room and  school in Clifton – 1988

 

© Legendary Musicians of Karachi

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Richard Thomas – Musician Profile

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Musician Profile:   Richard Thomas

I started playing the drums when I was 10 years old as my brother – George Thomas – was a professional cabaret drummer who played at the Roma Shabana and other popular night clubs in Karachi.   He was in a band and performed at many shows before he left Karachi in the mid 70s.

He taught Anthony D’souza (aka TJ) how to drum.  I used to watch them practice and later when they would finish their session I would get behind the drum set and play.

Filled with enthusiasm, I started playing the drums for the church choir and it was during this period that my interest moved toward the bass guitar.  I used to go to the Legendary Iggy (Egan Fernandes) to learn bass.  Iggy was a cool and quiet person and a genius; not just with the guitar.  I used to pick him up in the evenings and we would  check out other bands that were playing at the time.

I was still quite young when I started playing for talent shows with my age group of friends but eventually started playing with older boys that shared the same passion.

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Dad’s Gratitude

 

My first professional music experience began when I was in the 10th grade with Dad’s Gratitude.  The line up  at the time: Richie D’souza, David Braganza and Rodney Judd and we played at the Midway House.

 

I then joined the Silver Sticks with Sydney D’souza (Norman’s brother) on drums and Ralph DAranjo on guitar at the Horseshoe Restaurant.  Later, Zia – the owner – brought in a Filipino band and gave them the contract.  The Filipino band wanted me to be their bass player, so they sent their bass player home and I was part of this ensemble for a while.  Their female vocalist Ruby was my girlfriend back then but that kind of fizzled off.  We had great fun at the Horseshoe Restaurant and played all kinds of music but mostly disco, funk and reggae.

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Dad’s Gratitude

I must mention that I also played at the 2001 Disco, Beach Luxury and would back up Maxwell Dias when he was with the Keynotes and Blackjacks.

 

After my stint at Horseshoe, I joined up with Anthony D’souza aka TJ – who was our drummer,  Ronnie Khan – our keyboard player, a good friend Shamim on lead guitar and Gerard Vanderlowen on rhythm guitar.   We were all good friends not just band mates!

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Anthony’s (TJ) wedding –  Seated- Vandy, TJ, Lolly, Dr. Shamim and myself. Standing- Gerard Vanderlowen, Gerry Boyle & Khan

After that line-up I moved to the US and continued my music career in Dallas.   I have a band here and we play for many charity events all over the city of Dallas.  I am also a studio musician (self employed), doing session work for many upcoming talented musicians.

I have great appreciation and respect for all our Karachi musicians as I know how much effort and dedication we put into our music.

For the newcomers back home – You guys are doing a great job out there and keep striving for excellence.

Love,
Richard

 

© Legendary Musicians of Karachi

Mansoor Fatah as the Craziest Musician

Those who have watched the Fatah Brothers perform live in their dhotis, barefoot and bare chested in Karachi know that I’m right when I say that they were an extraordinary breed of musicians.

This is Mansoor Fatah as the Craziest Musician.  He did a one man band stint all over Europe with a huge fan base..

People used to say that from outside the hall it sounded like a full band was performing till they finally walked in… Check this out!

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Mansoor Fatah as the Craziest Musician

 

Bang Bang with Malcolm Goveas

Junoon

© Legendary Musicians of Karachi

An unpretentious human being who is ever so eager to make you laugh with his infectious sense of humour but when he’s behind that drum set…. he transforms into this relentless beast!

He coyly says that he simply makes all the noise in the background but he knows it’s much more than just ‘noise’.

It has been said that drummers are the backbone of a band and Malcolm has always been one outstanding backbone even way back when he was with the Communication.

It took a while to get hold of Malcolm but I am truly thankful to him for doing this interview with us.

Let’s hear more from him.

ldg ~ Your band of the 70sCommunication without doubt was in a league of its own. ‘Communication’ was one of my ‘most’ favourite bands of the 70s. Not that I got to see you perform live but from the tracks that we’ve heard on LMK, the superiority of the musicians is pretty evident.  Tell us how it all started and what drove you guys to produce such high-quality music/sound?

Malcolm ~ We had the effortless Edgar Saville on keys, the versatile Vandy (Alan Vanderlowen), the rave bass player Alan Dias, the hard working and talented Errol D’silva on lead and ‘Saxy’ Franky on sax.  I just made a lot of noise at the back.

We chose to rehearse and play songs from Crosby Stills and Nash, Little Feat, Steely Dan, while also doing other popular songs of the time. This perhaps kept it fresh.  We did ‘Credence Clear Water’ and ‘King Crimson’,

I give Alan Vanderlowen much credit for introducing us to a wide selection of music, from Bob Marley to Jethro Tull, King Crimson to Little Feat and many others.

Click on Communication live  to listen to some of their old recordings or the youtube video above.

Communication

Malcolm with the Communication

ldg ~ Malcolm when did you start playing the drums and what led you to it?

Malcolm ~ My first bass drum was the wooden crate that housed the fridge that my dad bought from overseas.  That bass drum worked a little differently.  I had to bang my heel real hard on the crate to get a bass sound (ouch!) and a stainless thali! was my snare.  That’s how simple it was and the best sound ever (at least to me).

I was in Year 6 when I joined the ‘St Patrick’s School Band’ (marching band) as a drummer and played alongside Lawrence Andrade and Godfrey Mendes.

Back then we used to march down the streets of Saddar playing for processions, sports day events etc.  I vividly remember enjoying the Channa Puri from Joseph’s canteen at St. Pats that Monty (our band master) would treat us after performing.

I used to live at FCCHS opposite Edgar Saville’s apartment on the ground floor.  In those days the ‘In Crowd’ was considered the best live band in Karachi.  The In Crowd would practice at Edgar’s apartment and we kids would climb on the windows to try and get a peak at them (they would not let us in and rightly so!).

Edgar, Ivan, Sydney and can’t remember the bassist at the time.  Perhaps it was Noel and they jammed some mean tunes.  The sound of the snare drum just killed me…  I was so inspired and knew it was time that I got hold of a drum set.  My “Stainless Thali” would not cut it anymore.  After a few weeks of relentlessly bugging my parents, off we went to ‘Saeed Music Palace’ and came back with my first drum kit.  Bright shinny tinsel blue, all with shiny silver looking cymbals and rims and camel skins, little did I know that camel skins don’t work in the winter LOL!  We had to light bulbs to heat the skins to get any sound from them in the colder months.

Excitement soon turned to frustration!  Those shinny silver looking cymbals never did sound anywhere close to the sound coming out from Edgars house!

A bit of a deviation from the question but I remember playing on a Pakistani drum set with Errol, Alan, Cookie and Busheen at someone’s house in Defence and we called ourselves the ‘HAMMER HEADS’ …. Yeah

Anyway, my first kit was just a starter kit and I started bugging my parents again.  My dad was working on a ship that regularly docked in Singapore.  At first he said No, and that I should concentrate on my education but I was persistent and kept bugging him till he finally gave in.  Two months later he returned with a Red and Black Pearl kit with Zildgian cymbals. I was over ecstatic.

A big shout out to Pawan Rawat from India for sharing these videos with LMK!

ldg ~ Who inspired you at the time?

 Malcolm ~ Thaddeus Pinto was by far the best drummer and his playing technique really inspired me.

ldg ~  Your favourite ‘live’ band/bands of Karachi?

Malcolm ~ The Talismen and Incrowd were really good bands.  If I am not mistaken both Talismen and Incrowd played at the CYC hall for a jam session.  Solid sound.  Still remember Norman singing ‘Child in Time’ and ‘Evil Ways’ and so many others.  The In Crowd also played a very well.

But as far as innovation goes, my vote goes to “Hello Why are You”, with Mansoor Fatah, Farooq Fatah and Atiq Rehman performing songs from Zepplin (Ocean, Rock and Roll), Stevie Wonder.  They were way ahead of their time.  Super intense sound.

They also wrote a song called “Freedom” and were on National TV.  Great rock song but Pakistan was not ready for them.  I remember filling in for Atiq for one day at the Horseshoe Restaurant.  I felt like a total misfit.

Coming back to my Red and Black Pearl drum set.  Hey whoever’s got that drum set it is now worth at least $100,000.  It had been through two “water world” scenarios and has a lot of history.

Once the Jamiat guys after firing on us at a Karachi University show, threw it in the pool (of course we all ran for our lives before it got that bad) and the other time is was submerged in water was when I played for Underground 4 at the Horseshoe Restaurant.

God bless “Brave Heart” Mansoor Fatah for diving into the water, tying the rope to the drum set and then swimming back up to help us pull the set up. He did that for all our equipment. Thank you Mansoor!

Did you know that Mansoor performed bare-chested and wore a “dothi” at many concerts.  Wow! How incredibly bold.  He could have easily passed off as a hippie in Goa.  LOL.  Farooq was always experimenting with sounds for example putting a speaker on a ” mudca” and playing bass through it.

Live performances of Malcolm Goveas with Junoon.  Video courtesy Pawan Rawat

ldg ~ Concerts you played that brought the best in your music? Or your most memorable experience as a musician.

Malcolm ~ I remember we (Junoon) played in New Delhi for the MTV awards and our Tabla Player Ashiq Ali was practicing in the camp (tent) before the show and the Def Leppard drummer came in to see us.  He was blown away with the intricate rhythm Ashiq was playing.

Right after we played ‘Sting’ came on stage and we got to meet him.

I have played with many singers and performers but Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, was one singer that simply blew me away.  It was an honour to perform with him.  The power in his voice, vocal range was so incredibly alluring.  I played with Nusrat on 4 occasions ~ ‘Dum Must’ rendition.

I remember playing at ‘the Luvin’ at Hotel de France near the Karachi airport, and our then lead guitarist Huma Azad was leaving for Jeddah.  I went to Iggy Fernandes’ house and asked him if he would like to audition for Tears Silence and Laughter (Glen Boyle, Bobby and David Fredrick aka Daoud Rafik, myself and Huma Azad).  So Iggy went with me and blew us all away playing songs from Santana and Deep Purple etc.  Huma was speechless.  Iggy joined the band.  One exceptional guitar player! Amir Zaki is another in that league. I played with Amir Zaki for two concerts before Junnoon.

Other than that I’ve enjoyed performing live in Dubai, Maritius, Central Park and a few others.

Video courtesy Pawan Rawat

ldg ~ What styles of music do you prefer?

Malcolm ~ Classic and slow rock. However, when we did covers, I never wanted to play it exactly the same way…  nice excuse 🙂   I always wanted to add my own two cents.

ldg ~ Something you really try and try with the drums and could not get yet or are not satisfied with the results?

Malcolm ~ I   could never play double bass.  My son Sheldon Goveas can play double bass with ease. (Damn how the hell does he do it!) There are many things I cannot do yet…… you always keep learning.

ldg ~ Favourite drummers?

Malcolm ~ Right now Avery Molek is my favourite drummer.  Check him out!

When you see 7 and 8 year old drummers play like that, trust me I don’t want to do any interviews LOL.

Back in the day, Ian Paice (Deep Purple) was my favourite drummer.  His rock style, intricate rolls, technique, fluency just blew me away and he is still playing.

Billy Cobham ~ I was fortunate to see him perform live in New York at a small club when Paulina and I went on our honeymoon many moons ago.  Great inspiration and terrific performance. Jazz rock and rock.

Neil Peart from Rush.  Smooth and intricate timing. complex rolls.

Current drummers, just so many.  One is Mike Mangini

‘Music is All I know’ with Hilary Furtado

Hilary Furtado

© 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.

 contd. below

Chester Williams interviewing Hilary Furtado

Chester Williams interviewing Hilary Furtado

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.

contd. below

Chester (L) and Hilary Furtado (R)

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.

 

Hilary

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 

With Robin John there is no end ~ by ZeeJay

Robin John

© Legendary Musicians of Karachi

Like many upcoming musicians of his time, my father started his music career in a popular band called “The End of the Road”.

The band consisted of three musicians who are no short of introduction; Mario Rebello (drums), Terrence Simpson (bass), and Patrick Callaghan – R.I.P (rhythm).

~ contd. below

Mario Rebello (drums), Terrence Simpson (bass), Patrick Callaghan – R.I.P (rhythm)
and Robin John (keys)
Artwork ~ by ldg © Legendary Musicians of Karachi

It was in 1976 when the band recruited a 19 year old organist, who had no prior professional experience what-so-ever; All he brought with him was 6 years of dedicated practice, his skill with a church organ and his overwhelming love for music.  Robin John was introduced as the official organist for “The End of the Road”.

“The End of the Road” came to an end for Robin John in 1979 when he decided to move on and further pursue his career in music.  He switched to recordings and worked as an independent keyboard player and a music arranger in the Pakistan Film Industry.

At age 21 Robin John (as we say in NY) was “running the town”! He was working with top vocalists like Alamgir and Muhammad Ali Shehki as a back-up musician and top-notch composers like Karim Shahabuddin, Sohail Rana and Nisar Bazmi.

~ contd. below

Pakistan Day Parade 1989 New York
Mr. Robin John accompanied Mr.Sohail Rana & Team

Robin John represented Pakistan internationally and was the first Christian musician to be awarded the Presidential Award by the former president of Pakistan, Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf in the year 2000.

Now, for the past nine years he has been living in the US and there is still no end to his musical journey.  He is producing music in the US and is currently working with celebrated Indian vocalists.

And there’s still more to come, because when you’re talking about Robin John, there is no END!

By ZeeJay

~ contd. below

‘With Robin John there is no end! ‘ ~ by ZeeJay

*Note by ldg ~  Robin John is the son of the legendary singer S. B. John who was awarded the ‘Pride of Performance’ award by the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari on August 14, 2010.

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Special Thanks to Glen Boyle ~ by Darryl Leachay

Glen Boyle
Artwork ~ by ldg © Legendary Musicians of Karachi

© Legendary Musicians of Karachi

Photograph contributed by Sabby Patrick

I grew up playing bass during the post martial law era, so did not get to hear some of these legendary musicians, but do recall GLEN BOYLE of the ‘Blackjacks’ as one of the most encouraging musician for young up coming musicians.

As an up coming musician at the time, I recall visiting Kewal and Glen would let me play a couple of songs on stage.   He also gave me my first guitar.

Later on, when I started playing for the VISIONS, He encouraged my band by letting us share the stage with his band the BLACK JACK’S.

Full props to Glen Boyle!!