A fire broke out at Mekaal Hasan’s legendary Digital Fidelity Studios in Lahore last Tuesday, resulting in its destruction. An electronic malfunction caused a fire that reduced everything in the Waris Road reception facility to rubble within minutes. No fire extinguisher worked and although the fire department arrived on the scene within ten minutes, it was still too late to save anything as team members, including Mekaal, ran for their lives.
While many in the music community mourned the loss, Mekaal spoke to about the studio’s legacy The Express Grandstand and how it has catered to some of the greatest artists to come out of Pakistan. He also shared that he would be appealing to the musicians associated with his ashram and facility to help raise funds to rebuild the space.
Against this background, the renowned actor Fawad Khan has published an appeal on his Instagram profile to help a friend and fellow artist. “Digital Fidelity Studios is a studio run by a very close friend of ours, an artist who has made Pakistanis worldwide proud, not only through his own music but also through producing some of the country’s biggest mainstream acts” , he said in a video message.
“Some of the artists from these acts actually recorded their first singles in this studio. Our own personal association probably came about when EP recorded their first album there. Mainstream acts like Atif Aslam, Junoon, Ali Noor, Ali Sethi and so many more, you get the point. Every great band, every musician has been associated with this studio in one way or another. And that’s why this studio has played an integral role in bringing Pakistani music to the forefront,” he added Mrs Miracle Actor.
Fawad went on to relate the tragedy that happened to urge his supporters to fund the facility’s reconstruction. “The reason I am talking about this studio is that it was completely burned down in a recent tragedy due to a short circuit. So we are appealing to you to help us rebuild this studio so that Mekaal can continue to produce great music for years to come,” he concluded.
Mekaal reshared this video on his Instagram, in a compilation of similar video messages from Arieb Azhar and Ahmed Ali Butt, urging fans to take action as well. “Hours and hours of some of the finest recordings by Pakistan’s finest musicians have been wasted,” Arieb said. “Digital Fidelity Studio was the core or one of the centers of the Pakistani music scene,” he added.
“The giants of Lahore have recorded so many albums in this facility and now it’s time to help Mekaal Hasan,” shared Ahmed Ali Butt. “I urge everyone who is passionate about art and music and understands the importance of culture and society to visit the link below,” Arieb concluded.
Mekaal shared a GoFundMe link in the post’s caption to write, “It’s reassuring to know that we hit 12.6% of our goal in four days! Thanks to your contribution, we have started the rebuilding process and will update you with news soon. Please keep sharing and contributing 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.”
Mekaal had told it earlier The Express Grandstand in a phone conversation: “Everything, including equipment and infrastructure, burned down. The damage would cost around Rs 10-20 million.” A group member had shared pictures of the smashed studio on Guitar Collective’s Facebook page and also informed local musicians about the tragedy, prompting a devastating reaction from the performing community.
The state-of-the-art facility was equipped with the latest recording equipment and infrastructure. Everything in the control room was burned, including instruments and air conditioning in other rooms, which either melted or were brushed by fire and smoke. “It’s a tragedy, but there’s nothing we can do about it except to look forward with renewed determination,” Mekaal said.
“All of the artists I’ve recorded have been reached out to help rebuild the studio. From Atif Aslam to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, from Noori to Jal, from Xulfi to Fawad Khan, I’ve asked them all to submit donations,” he shared. “You know this wasn’t just a studio; It was a happy place for musicians. It’s a space that has produced the country’s greatest singers, instrumentalists and maestros. I am sure that everyone will warm to this task. Every artist has a fan base and their own well-wishers. This space is responsible for some of the most incredible music to come out of our region and now it needs your support,” he said.
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