Friday, September 09, 2011

Catching up with Chaar Payee

cover story

It was just a couple of months back that we covered Chaar Payee in Us for being selected as the best freestyle drumming band in Pakistan and taking us on an international platform. They were nervous, yet excited. They knew they had a tough competition ahead, yet they were hopeful. They knew it wouldn’t be easy, yet they were determined to show the world what they could do. And they sure managed to pull it off really well.

After winning the national qualifiers, Chaar Payee were off to Rio de Janeiro to represent their country in the World Finals of Red Bull Tum Tum Pa, the freestyle drumming competition for students. The team from Pakistan eventually finished fourth, and were the top team from Asia. Whoa! Now that’s an achievement. So we celebrate this achievement with them, as we caught up with Ahmer, Usman, Nabeel, and Talha - Chaar Payee - to ask them about the competition:

Us: How was the experience of participating in the World Finals?
Chaar Payee:
The experience was exhilarating and an extremely unforgettable one. Everything from the travelling, sightseeing, interaction, the event itself, parties, till the outcome of the competition was unbelievable. Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city and each one of us had the time of our lives. The World Final was a big stage, a big occasion, and a magnanimous platform for amateur and professional drummers alike so we felt really overwhelmed to be a part of that crowd.

Us: How do you guys feel about finishing fourth?
Finishing fourth? Awesome. Since it was a unique and somewhat alien concept here in Pakistan, we can presume that there weren’t many high expectations from us since we were pitting against the likes of Brazil, Jamaica, the United States and other teams where drumming/freestyle drumming is practiced at large. However, creativity also played a major chunk in your overall result and that’s where we feel we tapped the most points. Coming fourth out of 32 countries from all over the world, getting the exposure that most musicians yearn for, and above all, getting such stupendous recognition upon returning home makes us feel like winners already. We thank Allah Almighty for giving us this stature.

Us: Do you feel you should/could have done anything differently?
Oh, definitely. The thing is that up till the time that we were here we had a set idea and a routine to follow. Once we went there, met with the other people and exchanged ideas, there were some moments when we were all in for making last-minute changes to our composition and layout. There were a couple of hindrances regarding allowed materials that made life difficult for a number of competitors but thankfully, not for us. However, given the provision of using all the materials that we’d thought of using, we most certainly would have done something different than what we played. However, we’re all pretty content with what we did and the standing just goes on to testify that.

Us: How did you get along with your competitors?
Each individual from every country was awesome. Simply awesome. Everyone got along really well and made good friends. The Brazilians themselves were very welcoming and friendly. Since we arrived a night earlier, we were present when the majority of the teams were checking in to the hotel, so we got to meet almost everyone on the day of their arrival. So, by the time the World Finals started, we had a formidable fan base that cheered for us and really egged us on. The boys from Qatar, especially took a great liking to us as well as the Urdu language. We’d specially like to mention Andrew and Vinay, the guys from Belmont, USA, who in our opinion were the most talented individuals out of the lot, no doubt. We’ve made great friends during this trip and we really cherish the fantastic memories.

Us: Did anything interesting/memorable happen during the competition/trip that you can tell Us about?
A lot of interesting things happened but the highlight of the trip undoubtedly has to be Usman’s injury. He sliced his thumb open with a paper cutter and all looked in pretty bad shape since this happened just two hours prior to the start of the event. We all panicked and really were in sixes and sevens before Usman himself managed to stem the blood flow, patch himself up and make his way to the venue for the performance. We really didn’t think he could use his hand since it had been messed up pretty badly but all credit to him, he remained adamant upon performing and really came through on stage. Since the rest of us mainly provide the baseline for the track, it’s usually Usman’s antics that provide the top layer and that special visual element in our performances. We knew that if we took that out, we’d be bringing our overall performance several notches down. Fortunately for us, Usman realised that too and made sure that he wouldn’t bail out on us, even in that condition. Cheetah!
Don’t put down the rest of us for being selfish though; we all took him to the clinic to get his thumb stitched up afterwards. =P

Us: How did you like the trip to Rio? And Ahmer, how was the Ipanema Beach?
As mentioned, Rio de Janeiro is an absolutely beautiful city with great sightseeing spots and a comfy ambience overall. The Hanging Forest in Tijuca, the Flower Gardens, the G├ívea Stone Mountain, Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer), etcetera, are all places with breath-taking scenic views. And if all that is STILL not pleasing to the eye, we always have Ipanema Beach and its beautiful people. (Haha, I’m glad you remember this). We’d like to specifically thank Mr. Ali Haider, who accompanied us throughout the journey and who really took care of us with regards to everything and made sure that we ran into no trouble at all. We really enjoyed Rio in the fullest in the two days after the competition since we were free from that tension afterwards.
Note to fellow future passengers in Rio: Taxis are expensive. Oh yes. And PLEASE! Do not have Pizza in Rio de Janeiro. They do not know how to make it and it’s a complete waste of your precious money. Kasam se!

Us: What do you take away from the whole experience?
It was a great experience for all of us individually as well as a team. Not only did it give us the exposure that each of us could never have gotten separately, it also instilled a team spirit within the four of us and we realised that our synchronisation, harmony, and tandem was all that was going to make us successful here. We may have kept our name “Chaar Payee” out of sheer spontaneity and wit over here but we do believe that over the course of the entire competition [from the College Rounds to the World Finals], we have developed the “payee” factor.
It also gave us the opportunity to marvel at Allah’s benevolence and how he can shift anyone’s entire paradigm within the blink of an eye. Before the 12th of April, we didn’t even have an idea about such a competition, and the grand prize, etcetera. All that happened in the coming couple of months is now in front of you.
One other thing that we would like to mention is that this competition also gave us the chance to change the mindset of a lot of people who had misconceptions about Pakistan, its people and its culture. We really had people exclaiming as to how they had found us to be exceptionally nice, friendly and humble. Nearly everyone had the wrong impression in their minds, thanks to their respective media but we took it upon us to make sure that Pakistan gets the respect and dignity that it deserves. Sure, it was 2-300 odd people only, but we played our part to the best of our abilities.

Us: Will you participate again if you get a similar opportunity in the future?
After Pakistan’s success at this year’s inaugural World Finals, we’re pretty sure that the organisers would want Pakistan to be a regular part of this competition. We await their decision on whether they plan to host it again next year or not. If it’s in the affirmative, you can bet that Chaar Payee’s going to be there, with a lot more tricks up their sleeves. Who knows … we might end up going to another corner of the globe, and hopefully, with your prayers and wishes, go all the way next year and bring the title home.
Much love to all of you for supporting us throughout the entire tenure of the competition, and even afterwards.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 9th September, 2011

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