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!

 

Arif Bharoocha

~ Coutesy Spittaman Petigara

There are some people that we are truly thankful for and in my case I have to thank Fali Cooper and his family for all the support and help they have given me through the years.

I started my music career in 1967 and can quite honestly say that our first band could not play very well.  I also needed to develop my own skills as a musician and thus dedicated three months of learning with my uncle.  I then got hold of a few guys and started a band called ‘The Abstracts’.

AB1

‘The Abstracts’ above L-R we have Mumdu, Arif Obaid, myself and Thaddeus D. Pinto.

The Abstracts

The Abstracts ~ Photographs contributed by Saddiq M. Artwork by ldg

 

In 1971 I met Fali Cooper and that’s when we started a new band and got quite popular in the entertainment business.  Our biggest supporter was Fali’s father and so we dedicated the name of the band to him and called ourselves ‘Dad’s Gratitude’.   The line-up was Saleem Akhtar, Rizwan Fancy, Fali Cooper, Richie and myself.

AB2

In the photograph above L-R we have Saleem Akhtar, Rizwan Fancy, Fali Cooper and myself.

Dad's Gratitude

For more on Dad’s Gratitude click on the following link: https://lmkonline.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/dads-gratitude-of-the-70s/

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Whilst performing with Dad’s Gratitude and even before that I was playing session music for tv, radio, films and background music.  I also played solo and had a band with Aamir Zaki.  I’ve played with so many musicians, too many to mention.

I also played for a Jazz and a French band.  Spittaman, Farhad and myself also played for quite a while.  A three piece band with Hillary (RIP), Denise and myself.

Apart from all the live music I was also teaching at Yamaha for many years and some of my students are playing professionally abroad.  It makes me so happy to see them all successful.

And Yes indeed Dad’s Gratitude was the best band that I played for!   I also played with Gerard and Malcolm at the Marriott.  It was an all acoustic with no amplification which was a very interesting experience for me.

AB3

In the photograph above L-R we have myself, Malcolm Goveas and Gerard Vanderlowen

Finally I have to thank Spittaman for introducing me to a school that I am working at and enjoying every moment of it.

Thanks!

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

Tribute to Ivan Bawa ~ by Peter Bawa

Ivan Bijoy Bawa

My father was born Ivan Bijoy Bawa on October 4, 1942 in Belgaum, India.  His family moved to Pakistan in 1947, where his father Ebenezer Kohinoor Bawa worked as an engineer and his children attended school.

My father loved music his entire life and began singing at home and at school.  He received a lot of positive attention at school especially for his beautiful voice.  He had a cousin named Lata who also loved to sing, and as youngsters the two of them used to sing duets together, usually songs from Indian movies from the 40s and 50s.   His interest in western music began with Elvis Presley; he often said that the first English song that he learned was “Young Dreams” from the Elvis movie “King Creole”.   That movie and that song led him to learn guitar (he bought a used acoustic guitar and made his own pickups by winding copper wire around magnets).

He formed a band with friends and relatives and began to perform at parties and functions at locations such as the Catholic Club in Rawalpindi.  A couple of people who were in his early bands were his first cousin Faith Derrick (now Faith Slocum), currently living in North Carolina, and Naseem Nasir, now residing in Canada. Both played drums.

In 1966 at the age of 24 after gaining attention around Rawalpindi he was hired to perform at the Flashman’s Hotel.  It was there that he first formed the band Ivan’s Aces. The initial members were his first cousin Alan Derrick (El Paso TX, now deceased) on guitar, Melvin Orr on bass, Alan Albuqurque, and Nigel Pushong on drums.  Over the next 5 years the band went on to perform at the Scheherazade Hotel in Islamabad, the Intercontinental Hotels in Lahore and Rawalpindi, and the Palace Hotel in Karachi.

Ivan's Aces Band

Ivan’s Aces Band

Nigel Pushong was replaced by Alam (last name unknown) on drums, and Jerry Lovett joined the band when Alan Derrick left.  A female singer named Yvette Fyve performed with the band occasionally at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lahore.   The Ivan’s Aces Band also made several appearances on the Pakistan Television variety show “The Zia Mohyeddin Show” around 1970 and 1971.

Also during this time Ivan Bawa was noticed by the famous Pakistani actor and director Syed Kamal, who heard him playing with the band and invited him to sing for a movie he was making. That movie, titled “Roop Behroop”, was released in 1971.  Ivan sang two duets with the famous Mrs. Runa Laila for the movie.  Kamal, feeling that Ivan’s voice was a combination of the singers Talat Mahmood and Mohammad Rafi, billed Ivan in the movie credits as “Mahmood Rafi”.  The movie was a commercial flop but many scenes and all of the songs can now be found on www.Youtube.com; the soundtrack of this movie was released on Columbia Records in Pakistan and is now out of print.

Sometime shortly afterward Ivan and his family left Pakistan, first for Afghanistan, where he performed solo in the M&M Club in Kabul; and then to Tehran, Iran, where he performed for years at the Maharaja Restaurant (with a pair of Iranian brothers named Sarooj and Varooj on bass, drums, and backing vocals) and also on the American Air Base in the Officer’s and NCO Lounges.  Returning briefly to Pakistan after Iran, he then moved on to the UAE in 1977, where he continued to perform solo in such places as the Hostess  in Abu Dhabi, in Dubai, The Bangkok Cellar in Sharjah, and the legendary Oceanic Hotel in Khor Fakkan.

Ivan and his family moved to the United States in 1981.  First landing in Mississippi and then moving to Houston Texas, he performed at a long string of piano bars, hotels, nightclubs, lounges, and country clubs all across these and other states, also including Oklahoma, Wyoming, Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C.

In 1985/1986 Ivan released a country album of all-original songs on the Country Echo Records label.  This album, titled “Here I Am” and released on cassette and 45 RPM, is out of print.  For a short time during these years Ivan was also co-owner of his own establishment named “Ivan’s Club”.  Ivan also befriended Mr. Udayan Parikh, the well-known singer, and played guitar on his album “Guldasta Ghazals” (out of print).

In the years overseas Ivan played a combination of Hindi and western songs, but when he moved to the US, his repertoire of western songs greatly increased.  His first love was always hindi songs and he sang them at home or at parties, whenever possible.  He often performed at Indian and Pakistani private parties and also at such notable Indian establishments in Houston at Ashiana, Nirvana, and Bombay Palace, allowing him to sing the indian songs in public once again.  He held a long-standing entertainment position at the Pine Forest Country Club in Houston where he performed on a weekly basis and at parties and special engagements.

Ivan had always suffered from precarious ailments through his life but had always made it through them and kept performing.  However, in the 1990’s he began to have continuous heart problems which required several surgical procedures, and in 1997 he was diagnosed with emphysema.  This greatly limited his singing, and the addition of arthritis in his hands and bursitis in his shoulders made it difficult to play long shows.  Around 2005 or so he was forced to retire from performing.  He continued to play guitar at home whenever he was able to, and he recorded instrumental songs on guitar, all of which he published to the youtube website.  In 2013, living in Richmond TX, he was diagnosed with Advanced Stage Lung Cancer that had spread to his brain.  He underwent chemotherapy for his lungs and radiation therapy for the brain.  He passed away at home peacefully in the early morning hours of February 14, 2014.

Ivan Bawa

Ivan Bawa

You can visit his online obituary on the Houston Chronicle website here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/houstonchronicle/obituary.aspx?pid=169737140

In addition to Elvis Presley as noted earlier, Ivan loved Neil Diamond’s music and he sang many of his songs.  Among many, his notable favorites were the songs “I Am I Said” and “Play Me”. He had also been a fan of the British guitarist Hank Marvin of the group The Shadows, and often played many of their songs, including “Apache”, “Frightened City”, and “Cosy”.  In Indian music he loved to listen to Runa Laila, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjit Singh, and Talat Mahmood, among many others.

If you go on www.youtube.com and search for Ivan Bawa you will find many hindi and western songs that he recorded and uploaded.  Attempts are currently being made to reprint some of his recordings, and some video live clips will be upload to the youtube website in the near future.

My Band Experience in Karachi ~ Donald D’silva

Donald Dsilva

In 1958, I moved to F.C.C.H.S.  I grew up with all the guys in the block.  We had great times together, playing all the fun games, doing things which would upset the elders, but those experiences I remember vividly and will always cherish them.

I was relatively shy in high school and a little beyond, but with my experiences playing in the band, things changed for the better.

My interest in music started at an early age.  My mother and some of her siblings played the piano and we would have great party sing-a-longs for all family occasions.  My dad’s mother, Aunty Virgie, was an accomplished pianist and used to teach piano.   I was forced to go to her for piano lessons, but I did not get far as I was more interested in playing with all the block boys.

I joined the St. Patrick’s school band in the early sixties and used to play the clarinet.  I also learned how to play the harmonica.  When we were in school, I learnt  the guitar.  I did not have a guitar, but played with good friends who had a guitar, like Everard Remedios, the late Johnny Aranjo and others, I managed to get pretty good.

I am also indebted to a good friend of mine, Titus Nunes.  I used to go his house in D’Cruz Lane and would get the opportunity to listen to some of the new music, practice the guitar and fool around… singing…
In 1969, we started practicing as a group i.e. Titus Nunes, Willie Po, Peter Patrick, Iggy Castellino and I.  We practiced in Iggy Castellino’s spare house, which we called the “Shack”.

In late 1969, we got an opportunity to play at “The Merchant Navy”.   This was a joint adjacent to The Beach Luxury Hotel, patronized by the shippies.  Less pay but this was considered as a training ground for musicians.  I am greatly indebted to Peter Patrick, who loaned me an electric guitar so that I could be part of the group.

We, like many other musicians will always be thankful to a gentleman named Schwartz, who had a shop in Regal and would rent out amplifiers and PA systems to the Karachi musicians who could not afford to buy the stuff.  We named our group Barbed Wire and sometimes we were Willie and the Po boys.  I played the lead guitar and sang.  This stint lasted for about a year, and ended when the 1971 war with India started.

After that, I completed my B. Comm and started working.  There was no music for me until the end of 1972, when I was approached by Titus Nunes, the late Edgar Saville who asked me if I was interested in joining a group, namely “The In-Crowd”.

The In-Crowd was a very famous and well recognized group in the sixties and into the early seventies.  I agreed to join, this time playing bass guitar and vocals. There was only one member of the original In-Crowd remaining, Edgar Saville.

This lineup comprised of Ronnie Pinto (lead and vocals), Hilary Fialho (drums). Titus Nunes (rhythm guitar and vocals), the late Edgar Saville (keyboard).  After loads of practice and getting our act together, we turned out to be a good group and I believe kept the name of the In-Crowd in good standing.

Edgar Saville was just brilliant with his musical abilities.  I learned a lot from him and also from Ronnie boy, who was a very progressive musician.  We continued playing at the Disco in  Hotel Metropole and had some great times.  We continued at the Disco till it closed in the latter part of 1974.

We then moved to the Beach Luxury Hotel where we played at “Casbah.”  I played for a few months at the Beach Luxury but for personal reasons, quit the group.  I was replaced by David Fredrick and Titus took over playing bass.

I then joined a Chartered Accountant firm, Ford Rhodes Robson Morrow with the aspiration of doing my CA (a dream).  The stipend paid for this stint was rupees 75.00 a month.  I continued with this job until I was approached by Titus Nunes, Hilary Fialho, Ronnie Pinto (from the In-Crowd) and Clarrie Andrade and Alex Gomes (from the Phase – II, who played at the Midway House).  These individuals were in the process of quitting their respective groups due to differences.
I was asked to join the group as a singer, something I was not comfortable doing as I always had a guitar in my hand.  Anyway, they coaxed me into joining this six piece group which was named, “The Familiar Faces”.

The Familiar Faces did not need much practice as all the guys, except myself were still playing, although I had a little catching up to do.  In the first half of 1975, we landed a very lucrative contract at the Hotel Intercontinental (The Nasreen Room).  This was a very sophisticated joint, patronized mainly by the rich and famous.  Playing at the Nasreen Room was a great experience, both from the satisfaction of the music played and the appreciation from the patrons.

There were changes in the band, when Clarrie Andrade and Ronnie Pinto quit to migrate to Canada.   Michael Rodrigues (keyboard) and the late, great Ivan Menezes joined the group.

We continued until early 1977, when due to personal reasons, Michael, Ivan and myself left the group.   A few weeks later, the three of us along with Tony Fernandes aka Tom Jones (drums), formed a band which we named “Schwartz”, honouring the great creator of amplifiers and PA systems.

We played mainly for weddings and were having great deal of success when the unthinkable happened.  We were scheduled to play for a wedding in the evening, when in the afternoon, Ivan Menezes was killed in a motorcycle accident.  That was devastating and his loss was greatly felt.

My final band experience was when, Norman Fernandes, Sidney Fernandes, Edgar Saville, Ronnie Remedios and myself formed a group and played at “The Midway House”.

At the end of 1977, Ronnie Remedios and myself quit the group and that was the end.

My last unofficial band experience was when I was asked to help the Blackjacks, who at that time had Roland Trinidad, Glenn Boyle, Ronnie Remedios, Michael Rodrigues and Bobby Fredrick, who were playing at the Three Aces. I was now working full time at SAS, a great job and free airline travel.  As their main vocalist, Bobby Fredrick left the group, I was asked to help with the vocals until they could get things together. I stayed for a short time with the Blackjacks and did some singing, until Trevor D’Mello was ready to take over with singing and his saxophone.

I can sincerely say, I would never trade this great experience for anything else.  It allowed me become a self confident person and has left me with memories that I will cherish forever.

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Editor’s note:

Donald & Marie Therese live in Toronto, Canada

Looking at the 1973 above photograph, the person on the left is the late Edgar Saville (keyboard), 2nd from the left is Titus Nunes (rhythm guitar and vocals), in the middle is Hilary Fialho (drums), 2nd from the right is Donald D’Silva (bass guitar and vocals) and on the extreme right is Ronnie Pinto (lead guitar and vocals).

Originally posted on ‘FCCHS Live’

Interview with Arif O Mohammed ~ The Abstracts

The Abstracts

© Legendary Musicians of Karachi
Category ~ Band Profile 60s – 70s

Hello Folks!!

We recently got hold of some rare photographs of the band ‘The Abstract’s of the late 60s courtesy Mr. Siddiq M.

For us here at LMK, it is a privileged moment to connect with these great old musicians and would like to thank Siddiq for arranging this interview for us.

Siddiq is the son of Mr. Arif O Mohammed, guitarist of ‘The Abstracts’.

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Mr. Arif O Mohammed, it is truly a pleasure for LMK to have you with us.  As you are aware, our initiative is to promote Karachi’s legendary ‘live’ bands and musicians of the past, therefore tell us more about your band ‘The Abstracts’.

I am a big fan of your website ever since my son pointed it out to me and for people of my generation it is a great way of reliving our youth again in our old age!  Thank you for this chance to share some of my memories.

I remember those days very fondly.  During the period of ‘67 to ‘69 we played together.  We were in college then; I was in Dawood Engineering College and must have been aged 21-22.  I knew a little bit of guitar, so when Arif Baroucha wanted to form a band he called me.

He is my cousin from my mother’s side.  He had his guitar which was a white arch top guitar and a sort of unbranded replica of a Gibson Casino.

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/ES/Epiphone/61-Reissue-Casino-50th-Anniversary.aspx

I had mine which was a German made Hofner Galaxie…

http://www.hofner-guitars.com/electric-guitars/solid-body-guitars/galaxie-ct.html

My Father, Mr. Obaid Mohammad who had worked in Pakistan Telecommunications and later in the United Nations used to travel often to Europe on official business.  During one of his trip’s to Germany he acquired the guitar from some of his friends there.

At that time in Karachi finding guitars was rare enough and we would make do with whatever we could get.  Hofner guitars were a popular brand in the 60’s and all bands like the Beatles /Stones were playing it.  There was Paul Mcartney’s bass and Keith Richards’s first guitar was a Hofner.

So having the actual German made Hofner made me a real swinger in town…. or at least an asset to the band because of my gear.

We started out with cheap unbranded transistor amps, which was all we could get our hands on.

The amps we had at the time were the ones with metal coils inside and they would heat up quickly.  We would have to go every couple of months to the electricians to replace/ unwind the coil.

A little later Mamdu somehow managed to acquire the Vox AC30 Amplifier http://www.voxamps.com/custom/ac30/ which was a sweet sounding amp and another 60’s staple and our pride and joy.  The amp tone was pretty special.

Our Guitar Guru was a mysterious older cousin of mine Mr. Ayub who used to live in Japan, but came to Karachi for extended periods of time. We weren’t really sure what he did.   He was an excellent guitarist who could play Rock n Roll and Blues and some Classical Guitar as well.

He had an amazing ear and could work out songs after only a few listens.  He used to teach Arif B songs who would then teach me and  Mamdu; and Thaadeus (drums) would pick up the songs quite quickly.

Mr. Ayub never played professionally or with a band and would only play at home as a hobby.  I used to have a music book as well “US School of Music” which taught basics and learned to read a bit.  Arif B “borrowed” the book from me one day never to be seen again.

Mamdu (bass) was my neighbour in PECHS Block 6 where we used to live.  His Father was a photographer and they owned a photography shop in Elphinstone St.  They were doing pretty good with the business.   Thaddeus (Drums) was the Anglo member of the band.  He came through Mamdu’s connection as his Father knew much of the Christian community living around Elphinstone St as his business was there.


In the summer of 67 we met for our first jam at my house in PECHS.  We jammed out some of our favourite tunes of the day.  If I recall I was the one who came up with the name “Abstracts”.  We didn’t really call ourselves anything and didn’t have a real goal or purpose;  just enjoyed the music,  so it seemed like a fitting name at the time.  Yeah, we decided the name and then stuck it on our drum kit!

After Jamming and practicing for a while mainly at my house or at Mamdus, we got our first gig in 67.  It was a musical night mainly for students in one of the Cinema halls in Saddar.  There were other bands though don’t recall the names.  It was mainly kids with well off parents who supported them in their hobby with equipment, and we also fell in that category.

We did have one of the best guitars my Hofner and later on Mamdus Vox Amp.  We did a short set of about 5 -6 songs that we had been practicing almost every weekend for a few months and gave a pretty good performance: our parents family and friends were proud.

After the initial show we got offers to play other gigs.  Mamdu was the main marketing and financing guy and was able to hook us up with shows, mainly through his Father who was well connected because of the photography business.   Thaddeus who was part of the Anglo community knew lots of musicians and was able to get shows as well.

We probably did a total of 15-20 shows, some were small some were quite big.  We played a few shows at Karachi university, different events like charity shows, balls, culture nights.  We played at some of the cinemas that had different musical nights, we used to play at the Airport hotel which had a bar at that time.

Our biggest show’s were at the Hotel Metropole where we were the main headlining show.   This was around 1968-9 when we had a good year or so of playing as a band and the sound was coming together.

There wasn’t any main front man but Arif Baroucha was the main talent.  He was the best guitar player among us and could play stuff like Ventures to note.  I was mainly playing rhythm, we were always switching instruments around sometime Mamdu on Bass sometimes myself.  Arif would often play the Hofner as he was the best player.  We would switch singing sometime myself on the Elvis songs, but mainly Arif B.   Mamdu was a good bassist who played simple but tight.  Thaddeus was a solid drummer with a natural talent and could pick up things very quickly.  He would mostly just play the drums and smile.  Thaddeus had the typical working musician’s ethic and would only play with us if he was getting paid.  We would get around Rs. 75-100 for a good paying show, which was good pocket money back then.   Oh and yes we also had Uniforms which were the Suits I wore the white one.

The Abstracts

Share your experience of the live entertainment in Karachi during the 60s – 70s? What was the atmosphere back then?

It was like live and let live, we had bars, concerts, cabarets.  A lot of the activities were in the proper “clubs”.  Sindh Club had a band, The Metropole had a band, The Dhaka Club had a band.  We would go to the Beach Luxury hotel and watch the Dutch band there who were the most talented band around at the time, they would play Rock and Jazz.

There were a few bars that you could go to in the hotels.  One of the hotels we would go to was the Intercontinental Hotel, which had bars and a Cabaret.  We would sometimes sneak into the Cabarets, even though it was quite open and anyone could go there.  I would often go with my old school friend Javed.  There were exotic dancers in some places (seriously!) and you had dancers from Turkey, East Europe, and Philippines.  One of the hang outs was the Bar in the International Hotel where we would get a table and hide our bottles under the table in case any of our parents, friends were around.  There was a Piano there and guitar and any one could sing songs.  Shahid Sheikh was another friend of ours who would perform there and we would often join him on different songs.   His special number was “Tie a ribbon on the old oak tree” an old Tony Orlando number. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjqBhZj_37U. We would be singing along with other people, the place would also turn into a dance hall and there would be dance music.  We had no fear of the police or anything at that time.

What kind of music was ‘The Abstracts’ drawn towards?

We used to play Elvis Presley’s “Sentimental Me”, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KelG77t4qTQ) and Elvis’s “Muss I Denn (Wooden heart)”, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9W6m_PhXq4) which had that German part that I would sing as I knew a bit of German. We were big Elvis Presley fans and he was my Hero growing up and probably still is.  Other songs were your regular Elvis staples “Jail House Rock”, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbre48NgBOg) “Blue Suede Shoes” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm5HKlQ6nGM “Love me tender” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoriFtRVGQs. Other artists we would cover are the Beatles, “I Wanna Hold your Hand” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKHFUKZ-IXE “Yesterday”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8Wg5nwOs9E , Of course the Rolling Stones, “Satisfaction” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhNm3WI8myM which was the biggest thing at the time.  We did some Venturers – “Walk don’t run” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW21rcHiVU0 and other which were Arif B’s specialty.  Some Monkeys “Im a Believer” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfuBREMXxts. We did “Blue Berry Hill” Fats Domino http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQQCPrwKzdo.

We have heard a few of your tracks courtesy Stewart Ellis on the album ‘Pakistan Folk and Pop Instrumentals’. Tell us about the initial project.  How did it come about?

I finished college in ’69 and then left for Germany to work, so I had to leave the band during a time when we seemed to be going places which was a hard decision.  I also needed some money to set up there so had to sell my Hofner Guitar in Karachi…which was a mistake!

I don’t recall who I sold it to but wouldn’t be surprised if it is still intact and lying in someone’s basement or cupboard.  And so, if you’re reading this and have a Vintage 60’s Hofner lying around, I would be happy to buy it back.  Truth is ill probably never know what happened to that guitar, it’s one of those memories that just seem to have been lost in time.

I believe Arif Barocha and Thaddeus Pinto continued to play on and later heard that they had made an 45 rpm, but I sort of lost touch with them.  I don’t know if Mamdu continued to play either.  I listened to the Abstracts tracks on your site recently and the playing sounds familiar like maybe it could be Arif B and Thaddeus, but cannot be sure if they are on the record.

What would you like to impart to the young musicians of Karachi? A thought, a slogan ?

Just enjoy your music and enjoy your freedom……..

 

Interviewed ~ by ldg

Artwork ~ by ldg

 

‘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