Artists appeal for funds to help old friend Mekaal Hasan

Last Tuesday, a fire broke out at Mekaal Hasan’s iconic Digital Fidelity Studios in Lahore that led to its wreckage. An electronic malfunction caused a blaze that reduced everything at Waris Road recording facility to ashes within minutes. No fire extinguishers worked and although the fire brigade arrived at the location within ten minutes, it was still too late to salvage anything, as team members, including Mekaal, ran for their lives.

While many in the music fraternity lamented the loss, Mekaal spoke about the studio’s legacy in a conversation with The Express Tribune and how it has catered to some of the greatest artists that have come out of Pakistan. He also shared that he’d make an appeal to the musicians that have been associated with his ashram-cum-facility to help collect funds to rebuild the space.

In light of the same, renowned actor Fawad Khan has put out an appeal on his Instagram handle to assist a friend and fellow artist. “Digital Fidelity Studios is a studio run by a very close friend of ours, an artist who’s made Pakistani proud globally, not just through his own music but by producing some of the country’s greatest mainstream acts,” he shared in a video message.

“Some of the artists of these acts had actually recorded their first singles at this studio. Our own personal association was probably when EP recorded its first album there. Mainstream acts like Atif Aslam, Junoon, Ali Noor, Ali Sethi and so many more, you get the gist of it. Every great band, musician has been associated with this studio one way or the other. And that’s why this studio has played an integral role in bringing Pakistani music to the forefront,” added the Ms Marvel actor.

Fawad went on to narrate the tragedy that transpired to request his followers to fund the facility’s reconstruction. “The reason why I’m talking about this studio is because in a recent tragedy, it was burnt down completely due to a short circuit. That is why we are putting out an appeal to you, so you can help us rebuild this studio so that Mekaal can go on producing great music for years to come,” he concluded.

Mekaal reshared this video on his Instagram, in a compilation with similar video messages from Arieb Azhar and Ahmed Ali Butt, who requested fans to pitch in for the same. “Hours and hours of some of the most beautiful recordings from the best musicians of Pakistan have gone to waste,” narrated Arieb. “Digital fidelity studio has been the nucleus or one of the centers of Pakistan’s music scene,” he added.

“So many albums, Lahore’s giants have recorded in this facility and this is the time to help out Mekaal Hasan,” shared Ahmed Ali Butt. “I urge all of you who are passionate about art and music and understand the significance of culture and society to please visit the link below,” Arieb concluded.

Mekaal shared a GoFundMe link in the post’s caption to write, “It feels reassuring to know that we have reached 12.6% of our target in four days! Thanks to your contribution we have started the rebuilding process and will be sharing updates with you soon. Please continue sharing and contribute whatever you can to help us rebuild DFS. Many thanks to Arieb Azhar, Ahmed Ali Butt and Fawad Afzal Khan for their love and support.”

Earlier, Mekaal had told The Express Tribune in a telephonic conversation, “Everything, including the equipment and the infrastructure, has been burned down. The damages would roughly cost between 10-20 million rupees.” Sharing pictures of the studio in shambles on the Guitar Collective Facebook page, a group member had also informed local musicians about the misfortune, garnering devastated reactions from the artist community.

The state-of-the-art facility was decked with the latest recording equipment and infrastructure. Everything inside the control room was burned to the ground, including instruments and air conditioners in other rooms which either melted or got brushed by the fire and smoke. “It’s a tragedy but we can’t do anything about it apart from looking ahead with a new resolve,” said Mekaal.

“All the artists that I have recorded, I have reached out to help rebuild the studio. Ranging from Atif Aslam to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Noori to Jal, Xulfi to Fawad Khan, I have requested them all to send in donations,” he informed. “You know this wasn’t just a studio; it was a happy place for musicians. It’s a space that has launched the biggest singers, instrumentalists, and maestros of the country. I am sure all of them will warm up to this task. Every artist has a following and their own set of well-wishers. This space is responsible for some of the most incredible music that has come out of our region and now, it needs your support,” he asserted.

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