Faakhir Shakes Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Sacramento: Sunday, January
22nd 2006 was an uplifting day for the Pakistani-American
community in Sacramento, California as over 500 people gathered
at the local La Sierra Community Center in Carmichael to raise
money for the victims of the October 8 Earthquake in Pakistan.
It really was a special evening because Faakhir Mehmood, the
“Mahi ve” man, headlined the entertainment here
along with Shakila and locals Dream Sounds, Sir Punj, Imran
of the Pehchan Group plus Zaki Syed.
The evening started off a bit late, not because of the organizers
but the audience which showed up according to Pakistan time,
a fashionable 1.5 hours after the announced start.
and local ladies
with his many fans
But in any case locally
well-known personality Naeem Syed started things off on the
stage by inviting young Omar Khan to recite from the Holy
Qur’an. Omar also proceeded with the English translation
of the recitation which is customary in our gatherings here.
The singing of the American and the Pakistani National Anthem
by a group of community children (and one senior citizen)
led by Tanya Syed followed. The Star Spangled Banner and Pak
Sar Zameen were both extremely well received.
Naeem came back on the stage and reiterated the reasons for
this gathering namely Eid, and Earthquake Relief (donations
to the Helping Hands & Give to Save). The on-screen Eartquake
DVD presentation was delayed for another time due to technical
of the earthquake fundraiser
The first group invited
to perform was Dream Sounds from nearby Woodland. Brothers
Anwar Ali and Abrar Ali gave a solid demonstration of their
skills with songs from their recently released CD. This group
sang songs in English, Punjabi and Urdu.
The next item was by Zaki Sayed, an emerging rap singer from
this area whose “Humara Pakistan” was a big hit
amongst the youngsters in the crowd. Zaki was followed by
Imran of the Pehchan Entertainment Group who sang songs from
their upcoming CD. Imran’s “Mujh ko hi mujh say
chura le gayi” was well received here. Pehchaan is developing
into quite a local Desi musical effort.
anthems of Pakistan and America are sung by a group
Event organizer Sohail
Shahzad next came on to the stage and highlighted the need
for this continued Earthquake Relief effort. He asked everyone
to contribute to Helping Hands and took the opportunity of
thanking the local Sacramento Pakistani-American Association
(Bashir Choudhry, Mohammed Amin and Zubair Qureshi) along
with a number of individuals for their help in organizing
this Eid Mela fundraising event. He also took the opportunity
to introduce Faakhir.
Faakhir Mehmood is a young man of many accomplishments. Besides
being a singer and musician, he is also educated as an Electrical
Engineer (in Pakistan many young singers and musical group
members also sometimes happen to be doctors or engineers).
He started out as the main force in the Pakistani group AWAZ
in the early 90’s and has since gone solo with two main
CD’s (or albums if you will) the first of which was
“Atish” and the latest one called “Mantra”
(2005) out of which his “Mahi ve” Salsa style
of music is getting rave reviews. And another of his many
accomplishments is what we discovered here in Sacramento,
that being Faakhir’s extremely very well mannered persona
and show of concern for human beings that need help.
Faakhir started off by
saying that he was here in America where his mother was getting
medical treatment when the earthquake hit Pakistan in October
2005. He said that he was now doing free shows and wanted
to give back “to the country that has given me everything.
“Pakistan and Pakistanis is why I am here,” he
said. He added that he really liked the idea of mobile hospitals
for the affected area after a visit that he made to Pakistan
and that he would like to raise funds for Helping Hands for
5 of them. A mobile hospital, he explained, consists of three
vehicles, one ambulance and two trucks. “Gana bajana
to apni jagah hai. Chalo is bahanay Sacramento kay logons
say mulaqaat ho gai.” Faakhir said that he appreciated
what others can do (however little) but that Pakistanis need
to do this rebuilding themselves. Aakhir mein Allah Khair
After saying “Gana to aik bahana hai” (music is
just an excuse) Faakhir proceeded to sing the melodious “Jiya
na jaye” from his latest “Mantra” CD and
then a song from “Aatish”. He then left the stage
to Shakila to entertain the audience.
Shakila is a Bangladeshi-born, Indian-tutored singer who lives
in Pakistan and is touring with Faakhir for this earthquake
relief effort. She thanked everyone for being here and for
their support before she started off with a really catchy
number. Shakila’s rendition of the late Nazia Hasan’s
“Aao na” and Farida Khanum’s “Jhumpka
chandni ka” were well received but the more classical
“Humay tum say piyar itna” was possibly her best.
I spoke with Shakila and found out that her High School in
Dhaka (Saint Francis) was next door to mine (Saint Josephs).
Maybe on her next visit we will ask her to sing a Bengali
number for us.
a young fan
The biggest Desi musical
talent to come out of Sacramento thus far is SirPunj (formerly
known as TJ Kool). Sirpunj performed three songs at this gathering.
His CD “Kehra pind tera” is being released this
year. We hope to hear a great deal more from him soon.
Faakhir returned and everyone got seriously into fundraising.
People of all ages, especially women (his good looks don’t
hurt) and many children came up to the stage to donate. The
top price paid for an auctioned Faakhir CD was $200. Around
$15000 was raised in a short interval, quite remarkable since
this is very late in the earthquake fundraising season for
this area and most of our community is now quite low on donation
cash at the moment.
And on the entertainment side Faakhir did not disappoint and
actually got some Sacramento women fans to dance (which is
quite unique for this conservative community). He sang the
very popular “Mahi Ve”, “Mast Qalandar”
and even an Indian song upon request (he was helped by Shakila
and three ladies from the audience in this one). His “Toba
Hai” to all the beautiful women out there was also very
well received along with the “Jugni”.
Sami Siddiqui made the strongest earthquake fundraising appeal
and the program ended with more music and on a very high note.
Congratulations are in order to all the entertainers and attendees
for making this a memorable evening. The Sacramento Pakistani-American
community has shown once again that it cares about the people
back in Pakistan.