Aamir Zaki turns mentor for upcoming music platform -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Aamir Zaki turns mentor for upcoming music platform

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Every upcoming musician has a reason to believe in his dreams and ever veteran has a reason to channelise them. Be it the monks in the Shaolin temple or a young musician posing in front of a Jimmy Hendrix poster, it is the incredible mixture of experience and excitement that makes this journey worth having. However, not every Guru is willing to give and not every Shishya willing to take. Guitar virtuous Aamir Zaki falls on the other side of the spectrum.

The penchant for mentoring new talent has grown with the silver on his head as the musician gears up to headline yet another platform for fresh talent, ‘Sing with Aqeel’.
“It’s a good cause,” says Zaki at dingy studio in Gulshan-e-Iqbal where the show is being launched from.

“In fact I am itching to do it yaar. I saw this girl perform the other day and she was great. So I feel it’s my duty to support them, if we don’t then who will.”

With four decades of experience under his belt and portfolio that varies from someone as Eastern classical as Ustaad Rais Khan to someone as pop as Hadiqa Kiani and Zoe Viccaji, Zaki can be an ocean of knowledge if accessed properly. But does Pakistan have enough platforms where the new can learn from the seasoned?

“Not enough. I think even for the pros there aren’t enough platforms in Pakistan,” he smirks, and the statement is followed by an awkward silence. “You know I come from a time when there used to be a lot of bands and performances so the current scenario is obviously going to seem very dry to me.”

The name of the show comes from its founder, Aqeel Ahmed Khan who forayed into the music industry in 1994. He started off as a session player and later on ventured into production with the music of Bankay Miyan Ki Qawalli and some seminal works of Faakhir and Rahim Shah under his belt.

“I just want to give a platform to the unprivileged music talent of Pakistan,” Aqeel tells The Express Tribune. “Two ventures, namely Nescafé Basement and Coke Studio are not enough to cater to a population of 200 million people out of which at least a million are potential stars.”

Apart from a dearth of platforms, Aqeel also believes there’s a sense of nepotism involved in the selection process of branded shows. “You need to be part of a certain clout to make it there; you have to be a sellable product other than being talented.”

During his two decades in the music industry, Aqeel discovered that musicians have to go through so much just to get a song out there. “I know musicians who sold their cell phones and other gadgets just to get a studio booking. There are some really talented and needy musicians out there and ‘Sing with Aqeel’ aims to provide them with a stage to showcase their talent.”

It is the underground music scene and more so the not so celebrated platforms like ‘Sing with Aqeel’ that give Zaki some hope. ”I admire Aqeel as a person and a musician and everyone he has taken on board deserves to be there, “says Zaki.

The show will launch its first episode this Friday from the group’s facebook page and will then turn into a weekly affair. Producers are looking for potential sponsorship but they plan to carry on with the show regardless of any support.

The Express Tribune

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