Call him a devotee, an admirer or a zealous fan, but Saleem Zamaan’s self-professed love for Mohammed Rafi and his music, is contagious. So much so that it leaves you in a trance. And why not? It’s the Legend Mohammed Rafi we are talking about (lovingly known as Rafi Saab), the golden voice of Indian Cinema! While, we all might call ourselves a huge Rafi Fan, what separates Saleem Zamaan from the rest of us is his dedicated tribute to the grand maestro in the form of an annual concert.
“Whatever singing I understand and deliver comes from listening to Rafi Saab’s renditions and from studying his exemplary contribution to the playback art. The least I can do in return for my ‘Guru’ is to celebrate his legacy once every year in a small or large way”, says Saleem, who has been doing this ever since the demise of Rafi Saab in July 1980 … such is his abiding devotion to celebrate the great Legend. An ex-playback singer himself until 1995, Saleem derives all the inspiration from Rafi Saab’s humble personality, his voice modulations, diction, and his expertise in exhibiting the sentiments of different actors or different moods in the movie through his versatile, soulful voice. “Rafi Saab was the dream of every music composer!”
After relocating to Australia from New Zealand in 2012, Saleem continued paying his 33rd tribute to his guru in 2013 for a small gathering of music lovers in Wollongong. He then took the 34th tribute to another level when he moved to Sydney. RAFI SAAB 2014 at the Redgum Function Centre in Wentworthville provided nostalgia to a decent 300+ Rafi fans, and proved to be a roaring success, bringing respect and recognition for Saleem Zamaan in the Sydney community, even though Saleem performed only on pre-recorded music tracks.
2015 marks Saleem Zamaan’s 35th Annual homage to RAFI SAAB. Yes, you read it correct … his 35th tribute!
“This year, I am being supported by a team of Music-Lovers-turned-Friends-turned-Event-Managers to stage a bigger concert for about 700 Rafi fans. Some of Sydney’s finest musicians, singers and anchors have accepted my invitation to form a team of 12 professionals on stage, to present “a live concert with a difference” says the versatile singer, who has had exposure of singing in 13 languages including Punjabi, Gujarati, Spanish & English.
“We are attempting to recreate on stage the immortal classics of Rafi Saab that were recorded in his prime years” says Saleem acknowledging the fact that his guru’s singing was in a much higher league than his contemporaries. “The simplest of his songs are very difficult to render live. It is a challenge for any singer, especially me, when I am no longer in my prime!”
The concert is already SOLD OUT two weeks before the event!!! Music lovers and Rafi fans are gathering not only from all parts of Sydney, but also from Wollongong, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fiji and New Zealand, including some visiting guests from India and Pakistan. I feel fortunate to be among the elite audience who is eagerly awaiting this “concert with a difference”, and Saleem’s team has been working hard to make it memorable for all of us.
So, step on the journey back in time where music touched heart and soul, where eloquent lyrics lived with you throughout, where music appreciated the shades of life!
The 35th Annual Homage to Rafi Saab is being held on Saturday, 8th August at the C3 Conference Centre in Silverwater. The acoustically designed auditorium is expected to reverberate with beautiful renditions of Rafi Saab’s classic melodies. It’s time to bond with your fond memories from the Golden Era of Indian Cinema.