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NESCAFÉ Basement taking Pakistani Music to another Level

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LAHORE: NESCAFÉ Basement is a platform that encourages youngsters to pursue their passion for music and pursue their dreams. Every season gives opportunities to emerging musicians from across the country.With this raw talent, the producer of the show, Zulfiqar ‘Xulfi’ Jabbar Khan has managed to prove himself time and again. Over the past four seasons, the show has delivered some exquisite covers and original tracks that remain etched in our minds forever.

Nescafé Basement is back with its fifth installment. The show promises to bring forth the best of Pakistan’s young and raw talent. Season 5 encompasses 73 artists from different fields and genres. NESCAFÉ Basement’s fifth season witnessed a change in the recruitment process as the contestants were encouraged to make a video of their performances and upload them to Facebook with the hashtag #nescafebasement5. The makers also selected the highest number of talent this year: 73 artists were selected out of the innumerous entries they received.

The first episode of the show was released on Friday. It featured only two songs and may we say, they turned out to be some of the best work of Pakistani music in a long time.


With a few surprises, Xulfi revealed two tracks, Bol Hu and Mehbooba. The songs were well received by the audience.

‘Bol Hu’: The song, originally sung by Soch the band, represents a connotation of prayer with the lyrics literally call out to the Higher Being. Along with Hadiya’s powerful and moving voice, it also features Jamil Ayyan, a Dambura player from Quetta and one of the few artists striving to save this instrument from being long forgotten. It is an amalgamation of different genres, proving music transcends age, experience, cultural backgrounds.

The first composition of the season was Bol Hu. Orchestrated by Xulfi and Soch – The Band, that has now become Nescafe’s constant, the track is sung by the band itself and the latest addition to the plethora of young talent: Eight-year-old Hadia Hashmi. Needless to say, people are in awe of this fifth grader’s singing prowess! “The Bol Hu track on Nescafé Basement is just epic. Wah, wah, wah! Zulfiqar and Soch – the band,” known actor-writer Vasay Chaudhry wrote on Twitter. “The arrangement, the build ups, what an opening to the new season. And that kid, Syeda Hadia Hashmi! Masha Allah. What range! Crazy, crazy stuff.” When inquired how the former EP guitarist crossed paths with Hadiya, Xulfi commented, “February 2018.

I discovered a free of cost academy for kids who want to learn music and don’t have the resources to do it. Discovering new talent is what the universe wants from me. I auditioned Hadia in October. In tears, I decided that day that I’ll make the world witness her talent.”

‘Mehbooba’: One would think the world would have gotten over the renditions of classic songs after the infamous Ko Ko Korina debacle of Coke Studio, but this season follows a rendition on Haroon’s famous song Mehbooba. Not taking it too far, Xulfi puts just enough spin on the 2002 hit. Contrary to other covers we’ve heard in recent times, Nescafe Basement’s Mahbooba ticks all the right boxes.


I LOVED this version of my song Mahbooba

, Haroon himself lauded the rework of his hit.


A very intricate, polished and huge sounding production by Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan – Xulfi. Congratulations to Xulfi and the Nescafe Basement team. My original was launched in 2002 and this excellent version comes 16.5 years after the original. Time flies.

A Twitter user posted, “I hardly like remakes but Mehbooba from Nescafe Basement 5 is surely one of my favorite remakes. Better than the original I would say.” Another teen artist listeners were really pleased to see was 13-year-old Sinnan! The world is on the road to witness some hardcore Pakistani talent. All credit goes to Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan for having a vision this deep to create such master pieces.

NESCAFÉ Basement’s first episode is out and it’s song “Bol Hu” is already making waves. The song “Bol Hu” features one of the youngest singers, an 8-year-old Hadiya Hashmi, who got selected by Xulfi from the Surtaal academy. And after hearing her voice. The talented girl was discovered during the auditions and later got to be a part of this musical platform after attaining a year’s training in the academy. A year ago this passionate youngling went up to her father asking for singing lessons and that’s when everything changed.

Amidst the auditions for season 5, team NESCAFÉ Basement came across a small music academy known as Surtaal Music Academy, which is run by Zia ul Haq. Xulfi discovered that Zia teaches young children singing as well as the art of appreciating and playing various instruments.

During his visit to the academy, Xulfi realized that the academy was falling apart. And even though he was aware of the talent the place encapsulated, he felt it lacked attention and was in dire need of renovation. Xulfi immediately reached out to Fizza Ijaz, the marketing manager of NESCAFÉ’ and together they decided to give the academy a makeover. Team NESCAFÉ was mesmerized by the young talented children.

They acknowledged that curating young talent is essential for the future of Pakistani music industry and NESCAFÉ is doing its part to support such acts. “Some days you work for a pay cheque and some days you work for a purpose. And for me, personally, NESCAFÉ Basement is that thing where the purpose is what brings me to work every day.” says Fizza Ijaz, the marketing manager of NESCAFÉ. Xulfi, while discussing the initiative, said


Such initiatives will help attract new talented individuals who are looking for a platform as well as it will help revive Pakistan’s music industry. This is the main aim of NESCAFÉ basement: to create a future for the music industry of Pakistan. And this young generation is the future

Taking to Facebook, Xulfi launched the band’s rendition of the 90’s hit Pyar Diyan Gallaan, originally by Fakhr-e-Alam, Fringe Benefits and Yasir Akhtar. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you Pakistan’s youngest musicians giving the message of love and peace to the world with their version of Fakhr-e-Alam, Fringe Benefits and Yasir Akhtar’s 90’s hit Pyar Diyan Gallaan. Everything you’re about to hear has been played by these kids,” wrote the composer.

Here’s all you need to know about the young artists. On the vocals are Rajea Iman, Samiya Gohar, Fizza Batool, Muhammad AbuBakar, Sultan Muhammad Fateh Shah, Syed Haider, Shujaat Ali and Ali Mahoon. The guitarists include Elyan Nasir, Hassaan Salman, Saad Mirza and Muzamil Hussain. The bassist is Rafay Rajpoot, the violinist is played by Syed Zain and Ahmed Effendi is on the sitar. The ukulele is played by Shayan Ali.We see Sinaan Salman and Alishba Faisal on the drums. The dholplayers are Ali Imran and Zeeshan Ali. The tabla is being played by Mohib Khurram and the pianists are Jerry Chris, Syed Saad and Zayna Mian with Sehar Yonus on the harmonium.

As expected, Twitter is in just in awe of these uber-talented youngsters. “Nescafé Basement did it again! Pyar Diyan Gallan. I mean their music makes me want to hear more from them! The kids set the stage on fire! My personal favourite is the one in green sweatshirt,” wrote one user. “Just realised, first it was ‘all girls band’ and now, ‘all kids band. They definitely know how to keep up with their game!”

Another fan added, “Nescafé Basement is doing tremendous work by promoting local talent and giving them a platform by showing their talent to the world. Kudos to all kids who performed so good in songPyar Diya Gallan,” penned another one.


Kudos to all the kids who sang the song Pyar Diyan Gallan. Super talented kids. Great job Nescafé Basement!

, wrote one user.

One more said, “This has to be one of the most incredible Pakistani music ensemble. Little angels, killing the game with their swag, style and bad-ass attitude. Take a bow Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan. You have owned the whole game with this one!” A few users said,


These kids are such bad-ass rock stars! Love, love, love this rendition. Nescafé Basement 5, you have floored Pakistan with this one,


THIS. IS. CRAAAZY! Wish I possessed even 20% of the talent that these kids have! Another great rendition. Kudos to these kiddos


There is definitely only one person in Pakistan to pull such an amazing performance from kids! Thoroughly enjoyed. Hats off to Zulfiqar and rest of his team!

NESCAFÉ Basement is the only platform that encourages the youth to awaken their passion for music and pursue their dreams. The brand is helping musicians refine their skills and restore our old songs, making them all the more appealing to our youth. The Musicians involved with show vary every year and new musicians bring something extra, something raw to the show.

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