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An Ode to Wameez!

Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:43 am

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Wameez is one person
With whom
The heart clicks

His friendship is genuine
Because he genuinely feels
Even for those,
Who live on the streets
Even those,
Who are sick

Maybe that’s why he wanted to become a doctor!?

He is also wise
And he knows
That ‘prevention is better than cure’

After completing his MSc. in computer sciences
He has left for England

To study ‘bio-informatics!’


Yes Friends!

The ‘Live 4 Rock’ Concert was the last show in which Wameez performed with us. Now he has left for a year! He will be coming back in December though, but only to attend his brother’s wedding, so we don’t think that there is a chance of him performing with us – especially at that time!

Unless of course, we perform at the wedding! – Did you know that Ali Noor’s ‘walima’ was a full fledged unplugged concert!?
Maybe, after a few years we’ll put up a song or two from that show….

A few more facts about Wameez before we go:

1. Wameez has been our neighbour for almost 6-7 years; Ali Noor’s age: 15-21, Ali Hamza’s Age: 12-18.

2. He had a very bad O’level score, but then he did a pretty decent job in Med School and also during Computer Science schooling – (just to be nice to him: he was an averagely good student)

3.His room and Ali Noor’s room were right opposite each others. Wameez knew how to play the piano so Him and Ali Noor hung out like hell. Ali Hamza only hung out with them when he had free time from his self indulgences – he used to talk to himself and practice golf in his back lawn, all day long!

4.In any case, Wameez used to contribute on and off, as a piano/keyboard player, in Ali Noor’s compositions; they used to have a lot of arguments on many things!

5.And then we left that place – both Ali Noor-Hamza and Wameez; one after the other.

6.Then, when KV couldn’t play wit us any longer, we were desperately looking for another session guitarist/keyboardist/DJ to fill in the sound of the live set.
And in comes Wameez to our rescue; he had just graduated and was taking a year off studies – after 26 years of constant schooling anyone would need a break!
He knew, back then, that he had to go for his masters but he wanted to take time out; maybe even do a short-term job.
So when we asked him to play with us, he immediately agreed; and so began his career as a session keyboardist for noori.

7. Ali Hamza calls Wameez a ‘Peer’; he is the direct descendant of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani

8.Ali Noor hopes that Wameez gets married soon!

9.For both of us, Wameez is not just a friend, he is a brother!

Until next time…


P.S. Wameez says that he will arrange a noori concert in England, and that he will perform with us in that show.

Note: This is not an Epitaph! – things don’t finish that easily in real life; this entry is only a stamp in time – something your mind goes back to, when travelling through time!


Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:31 am

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This entry has been long over due…

I knew exactly what to write about, but circumstances didn’t give me much time – and I do feel bad about it, so no more emotional blackmail on this!

Now coming straight to the point…

A few days back we toured between Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar. I think all shows went really well. But I would like to skip the details of the first two shows as we already have reviews on the forum....Yes I do visit the forums and particularly read these reviews (though I do wish that people other than the regulars should also give their take on the shows).

Peshawar I do wanna talk about… was definitely a very unique experience for both noori and the Peshawari’s.

On our way to Peshawar (Pekhawar as many like to call it), I can clearly recall how Wameez kept on telling me stories of Honour killings in Peshawar… he just loves to tell us all the reality based scary stuff…Fahd and Nabil were being sceptical about the audience turnover and I was just doing mental troubleshooting for any mishaps that could happen ….noori being a rock act and Peshawar being the Mullah beehive….. The thought was a bit scary.

And then we found out that it was a ‘Ladies Only’ show!

In fact it was the first concert ever happening after four years in Peshawar.

The Hotel Manager while greeting us was proudly telling how they have managed to hold a concert, in city where sometime back, the MMA had black spray painted all billboards that had a woman’s face on it.

My minds instant reaction was to recall a book I had read sometime back; “The Bookseller of Kabul” by Asne Seierstad, in which there is mention of the serious wrath a girl living in Peshawar has to face for having a fling with his neighbour who also happened to be her relative….

OK I repeat..... We have just girls coming to the show…and the city has not had a concert in 4 years…

I thought it was a trap… I imagined us performing in front of 25 completely veiled women who in the middle of the concert would suddenly take of their burqas only to reveal that they were Mullahs and then would shoot us……… no wonder Mandana calls me paranoid!!!!

OK enough of my drama….

To put it more accurately and less dramatically, the band was a bit sceptical as we had never heard of Peshawari women coming out of their homes and have fun like this – that too, all by themselves! Secondly, from what we hear about the Peshawar/NWFP culture, we had a feeling we would be performing in front of a bunch of head-covered females sitting miles away from us and clapping un-enthusiastically at the end of every song. I was also worried about how I would call such an audience up front, let alone making them dance!

Our promoter Badr clearly told us that this is an all girl show for security reasons and that no males were allowed inside the venue except for the organizers and us; and that if we intend to bring any of our own male guests, we will have to apologise and promise them another show…

At the sound check we met the first girl who would be in the audience later that night (she was a member of the organizing team). Firstly, there was absolutely nothing covering her head. Secondly, she was REAAALLLYYY pretty – beautiful in fact. Thirdly, she was EXTREMELY EXCITED!!

She told us that noori has a big female following in Peshawar and that we should expect a very enthusiastic and energetic crowd. In fact, on her suggestion, we removed 2 rows of chairs to further accommodate for a standing audience!

All this really charged the whole band up. All earlier impressions had changed and man, were we expecting a Rocking Show!!!

I was relaxed….

And so it was….

I can still hear the deafening screams of those odd 200 girls. We weren’t even on-stage when we heard them. And when we came on stage, we were totally awe struck. These 200-250 girls had the energy of a crowd of a thousand!

I can’t recall the order in which we performed the songs, but I can confirm that there was not a single moment when this energy died down.

There was hardly a distance of 2 feet between us and the first row. The stage was also very low and it was very easy for the girls to come up on stage. And they did… and they danced …. Like maniacs! Not only on the stage, but also on the side speakers, and on the chairs in the back, I could see groups of girls jumping, dancing and singing all over the place! They didn’t stop for a moment, until the show ended.

And then there was a long autograph and photo session. There I got to see these girls closely, and I observed something peculiar about almost 90% of the girls I met:

We have only performed two ‘all girls/ladies’ concerts. The first one was at Lahore Grammar School in 2004. There also, we got to see the wild side of girls when they are left to themselves, all by themselves! The absence of any fear, the freedom to do whatever the hell they wanted to – I clearly remember that when the show ended, the whole band ran for cover – I myself was hiding in the school canteen until things simmered down a bit!

It does give a great feeling to witness this freedom, especially in a country like ours. The situation was similar in Peshawar, but there was an additional factor that I noticed:

Not only had the girls let go off themselves in terms of what they did and what they said/sang etc., they also seemed to be emotionally liberated. They felt free to express all kinds of feeling that were coming to them – their facial expressions, the way they looked at us with so much love and affection, when we put out our hands for a hand-shake they kissed them, the way they literally ordered us to stand with them and take pictures – that is something I had not seen before; all girls or not!

And then we were going back to our rooms we met them again in the hallway and man, did they scream! I think they woke up the entire hotel … (it was P.C.; we were staying and performing at the same place).

The whole night we stayed up discussing the concert. Everyone had a story of their own to tell. Everyone wanted to come back again. Even Nabeel moved around on stage this time!

Today, when I look back at that concert, I do realise that it was a very rare event, especially for a city like Peshawar. I don’t know how these girls live their normal lives but I know that they made the best that any girl could make of that night! They didn’t look for a single moment to consider going back; they stayed there for as long as they could and they truly enjoyed themselves!

I really hope that more of such events take place, especially in cities like Peshawar. No matter how different it turned out from our expectations, there is still some truth about the general impression people have of this city … and I could sense that…

There is lot that is on my mind that I’d like to share with you… but, for now, I will leave some thinking for the reader as well…


Ali Noor

On the Fringe!

Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:35 am

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Guess who came for dinner?

Now I even know that you’re reading this Fasih! But this is not about you or me as we discussed earlier. Nor am I trying to make you feel happy about this – of course that will happen as you read further – but that’s not the real objective here!

Anyways, enough of our private conversations…

Hey everyone!

You might have read through the message/announcement we have put up regarding this blog (if not, then click here). There we specially mentioned that the reason why we put up this blog is because we felt that we needed to say much more than what we are regularly asked by interviewers. But we didn’t mention that there are some exceptions to the case.

I am sure all of you are aware of this program that comes on IM, called ‘On the Fringe’. The show is hosted by Fasih Zaka and shot/edited/produced by Zeeshan Parvez (Zeepar Productions – and more importantly of the Sajid & Zeeshan fame). Well this is one show that both Noor and I have really appreciated. And not only us, but our family and even many of our friends in the music community believe that these guys are doing some solid/intelligent work in the media. Be it their songs, be it their videos and be it this television show; one thing I have always appreciated about them is that they are genuinely inquisitive and sensitive people who are honest with their work (Fasih you must be enjoying this!).

It does sound a bit cheesy to think this way (for certain big-headed people of course), but we really wanted to come on this show! Even though, after watching it regularly, one would think twice that would I really want to fall victim to this guys witty criticism?! And we have heard some really nasty stories about certain artists these guys interviewed – put simply these guys have succeeded in making some serious adversaries in the music business. But we were kind of looking up to that challenge in a certain way!

Sajid and Zeeshan we have met quite a few times earlier, at different media events and ‘after-parties’ (yea we have them here… of course our very own Pakistani versions of them). And whenever we have met them we have always had a good feeling about each other – they seem like some long lost cousins we might have had in another lifetime. Zeeshan of course is the technical buff, just like Ali Noor; and when they meet these guys just open their mental database of software and equipment and start sharing notes. If you observe them during this conversation you will notice the high these guys are getting just as if they are drunk on 0’s and 1’s!!! Sajid on the other hand, I can relate to much more – it takes more than simple software to get us high!

But where does Mr. Fasih figure into all of this? This is the question we would ask these two as well; keh ‘Yaar… who jo tumhara mota wala dost hai, who kahan hota hai?’ And they would say that he is Islamabad or Peshawar or some place else. It seemed that this guy was a genuine outcast in the music scene!

And then we went for the 3rd IM Awards, and guess who’s hosting the damn show? … Mr Fasih Zaka! That was a shocker, but the devil in my own heart said suddenly woke up! Suddenly coming to these awards had some meaning to it! I am not gonna go into the details of the ceremony, you will get to see it all very soon (its expected to be aired on the 25th) – but yes that day was the first day we got to meet Mr Fasih. We only got to talk to him before the awards, and the impression we got was absolutely terrible. You see this guy on t.v., you are really in awe of the quickness of his mind, you get this hope that there is someone who is trying to make a difference, and when you meet him in person – to have a normal conversation – he’s totally spaced out!!! He hardly had anything to say… and man that was definitely a shocker! Though, in my mind I did give him the benefit of doubt. Maybe he was all tensed up for the ‘Big Day’. He was probably collecting his thoughts before saying them out loud… cuz when he presented the ceremony, he was all that one could expect him to be. Perhaps even better … wittier!

So this is the background of our early encounters with the three guys we had so wanted to meet. And then, day before yesterday, Ali Noor comes up to me and says that ‘On the Fringe’ is coming tomorrow for an interview. Obviously, both of us went through the entire chain of events that I have already mentioned; but one fact that Noor hadn’t told me was that Mr. Fasih had told Ali Noor earlier that he was a big noori fan!! And that he really respected the work we are doing and all that… The respect is definitely mutual, but suddenly it put things into a certain perspective! I could find another reason why we had had an odd first meeting (I will not mention details here as I don’t want to be an Apnay Muun Miyaan Mithu). At the same time, there is the fact that people do act differently on and off-screen; a very sad thing though, but I myself am also one of those individuals – so let that be!

We met Fasih again. Once again I did sense a distancing when I went out to receive him at the gate. Of course, this time one could blame it on the heat and humidity … This weather can really tire out a person, both mentally and physically … and so, the first thing he asked for… was water! And just like me, he needs a lot of water to quench his thirst. That’s how our conversation started – that is about how our bodies require abnormal amounts of water!

Zeeshan came a bit later with his little camera, and as usual him and Ali Noor started straight away with their ‘techie talk’. And then we all started having a nice chit chat session – just to get comfortable for the interview. One really interesting thing we found out was that both of us are really big fans of Shiraz Uppal! And I am not being witty here. Shiraz, is not only a very good friend and a good person, but he is a very good musician. He knows his music and more he has some very fine set of sensitivities.

As far as the interview is concerned, I will not go into details – I am attaching a little teaser video for a basic idea – I would rather leave the interview for when it is aired (you will be notified of date and timings whenever they are confirmed). What I can say abut the interview is that we had a very straight forward and honest conversation. We talked about some very serious and even controversial issues, but interestingly when talking to these guys we didn’t feel a bit of antagonism. Before they started the interview they told us the format of the show – that it is shot as one whole and put up totally un-edited. Well we talked for one whole hour, and in the end Zeeshan said that this is the longest interview we have ever had, and that we’ll definitely have to edit it!

After the formal interview, we went out for a late dinner (really late as it was 1:30 a.m. when we left for the restaurant). And man we didn’t stop talking for another two and half hours! While on the one hand, Noor and Zeeshan were constantly talking about music and their usual technical stuff, I was telling Fasih (who himself is a Rhodes scholar from Oxford, and is doing his Phd) about the work I have recently started doing at my grandfather’s institute (Sanjannagar – Well yes, my mornings are spent at Sanjannagar (in the philosophy department) where I am trying to re-educate myself (I will save details for another blog entry) … So we discussed a lot about philosophy and the future of mankind…

And then we all went home on a rather happy note….

Moral of the Story
I guess even if we do sense a link with someone, without meeting him/her in person, it does take time for some of us to open up and be frank.

I suppose we had to go through this ‘On the Fringe’ ordeal to finally get to make friends with these guys!

Nice siphoning technique Mr Fasih!!

Signing out,

Ali Hamza

P.S. If at any point someone gets the idea that I have gay tendencies and that, through this entry, I was trying to court Mr Fasih for a more intimate relationship… then you’re God damn right!!! … Maybe you’ll be my next obsession!
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