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Aamir Zaki (April 8, 1968 – June 2, 2017) was a Saudi born Pakistani guitarist-songwriter, Zaki is considered by many as one of the most influential guitarist in the Pakistan’s history.
April 8, 1968|
|Died||June 2, 2017
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, blues rock, hard rock, acid rock, post-metal|
|Instruments||Gibson Flying V (self-made)|
|Associated acts||Hadiqa Kiyani, NAPA, Vital Signs|
Zaki started out his music career with a band named "The Scratch" in 1987, their first album was named "The Bomb", whose title track was about the Empress Market bomb blast. The song gave Zaki a little recognition. On an advice from his friend, he quit The Scratch in 1988 to form his own band, thus in process of doing so he started touring with Alamgir.
On Tour with AlamgirEdit
The first mainstream musician to recognise Zaki as a teenage prodigy was Alamgir, who got in touch with him to tour India, Dubai, England and the U.S.A. After touring Zaki played on two of Alamgir's albums. "Keh De Na" and "Albela Rahi" were two hit singles with young Zaki as the lead guitarist, he played a self built Flying V guitar, inspired by his love for Randy Rhoads.
Post-Alamgir, Aamir Zaki formed three rock groups. "The Barbarians", "Axe Attack" and "Scratch". Axe Attack was the only band that made an English album recorded in Pakistan and perhaps for that reason, all music companies refused to release it. However, some years later, the rhythm guitarist, Nadeem Ishtiaq took it to Australia where the songs made it to the radio and were well received. Back in Pakistan, the album lay forgotten. Zaki continued with his songwriting and started playing session guitar.
In 1994, Zaki joined Vital Signs who at that time were already country's largest pop act, Vital Signs had expelled their second guitarist Rizwan-ul-Haq, and Zaki joined in his place as Rohail Hyatt, the leader of the band wanted to expand their sound, and wanted something deeper and complex like "a mixture of vintage Eagles and Fleetwood Mac". Zaki performed extensively with Vital Signs before quitting the band due to band's existential crisis and not getting the equal profit of royalties. Zaki later toured with former bandmates Junaid Jamshed and Shahzad Hassan after Hyatt's exit from the band.
After leaving Vital Signs, Zaki released "Signature" in 1995, an independent release, by his own money. The first batch of CDs was made in England, and Sonic released the album in Pakistan. The album was a hit, and one song "Mera Pyar" (Urdu for My Love) was a major hit, when asked about inspiration for the song, Zaki responded by saying,"someone who doesn't exist and never will.", referencing to his ex-wife. Zaki was awarded with Gold Disc for his debut album from Soundcraft UK. Zaki further released two more albums Rough Cut (2007) with Hadiqa Kiani on vocals and Radio Star (2007).
In late 1990, music scene in Pakistan began to recede, although by the time, Zaki had a cult-following. Zaki then used to perform live songs of his original English and Urdu songs, before they were released, he started doings gigs at Karajazz Festival and Cafe Blue (Karachi, Pakistan).
Zaki further collaborated with many artists on various tracks including collaborations with Hadiqa Kiani for her song "Is Baar Milo".
Zaki appeared as guest musician on Coke Studio Pakistan (season 7), he featured on three songs by Zoheb Hassan, "Chehra", "Dheeray Dheeray" and "Yaad", last one of which was a tribute to Nazia Hassan.
Zaki got married at the age of 22, and got divorced at the age of 24. The song "Mera Pyar" from his album "Signature" was for his ex-wife. Zaki had prolonged illness and severe depression, he became self-destructive with time and even started to burn some of his guitars.
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- Syed, Madeeha (June 12, 2009). "The mad genius of Aamir Zaki". dawn.com. DAWN. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
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- "Pakistan's ace guitarist Aamir Zaki dies at the age of 49". Samaa TV. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Legendary guitarist, songwriter Aamir Zaki passes away". Muslim Global. Retrieved 2 June 2017.