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    1. #1


      goodname's Avatar
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      "Pakistani Musicians Captivate Audiences at SXSW in Austin, Texas With Booming Hypnotic Beats · Global Voices

      "More than a hundred people packed the historic Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, full of anticipation for Pakistani traditional, exotic and indie beats on the night of March 19.
      The performers had flown thousands of miles for the first ever Pakistani Showcase at SXSW, one of the largest and most eclectic music conferences in the world. The night was organized in conjunction with the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (FACE), a non-profit based out of Islamabad, Pakistan.
      The showcase kicked off with the energetic, booming sounds of the Sain Tanveer Brothers. The duo, originally from a small town near Sialkot, are the best known dhol players in Pakistan.
      Their performance started in the middle of busy 6th street as bystanders gathered. And the pulsing sounds of their drums lead the crowd to the Victorian Room in a dancing procession.
      The audience was awestruck as Sain Tanveer hung four dhols around his neck and continued to play, while spinning as fast as possible. The performance ended to thunderous applause.
      Next, the audience was treated to the melodic and soulful folk sounds of Mai Dhai. Hailing from the Thar desert, Mai Dhai is a traditional Manganiyar singer with influences of song reaching as far back as Sufi mystics and the Mughals of Rajasthan. No one in the room could have ever guessed that the small, fragile woman sitting center stage with her dhol would have a larger than life voice with the power to transform space and time. Accompanied by the tabla, dholak and harmonium, Mai Dhai truly made the audience feel the emotion behind every word as they swayed to her rhythmic beats.
      But the rockstars of the night, the ones who stole the audience’s hearts, were Pakhtun musical quartet Khumariyaan.
      Khumariyaan, as lead guitarist Sparlay Rawail explained, means “intoxicators.” And the fast and furious sounds of the group were nothing less than intoxicating. Perhaps the secret of Khumariyaan, other than an exuding stage presence, is their use of traditional instruments such as the rubab and the zerbaghali. The rubab almost sounds like a sharper toned banjo, with strings that are plucked to deliver various melodies. The zerbaghali is a goblet-shaped hand drum which provides percussion at various sounds and speeds.
      From the moment they started with Bela to the end of their hour-long set, Khumariyaan had the audience on their feet. At one point, lead rubab player Farhan Borga, even led the audience through a demonstration of a traditional Pakhtun dance to much laughter and excitement.
      After the show, Rawail shared that he was not sure if anyone back home in Pakistan could truly understand the magnitude and size of SXSW. But for him, there is no difference between the United States and Pakistan because what really matters is the music. Rawail felt proud to know that Khumariyaan’s music had the ability to create influence, regardless of country.
      An audience member Sandhya Vadrevu said she decided to attend the event due to her keen interest in South Asian music. She had limited opportunities to experience Pakistani music firsthand in America, and did not want to pass up the chance to see these musicians in her hometown. As an aspiring musician herself Sandhya felt encouraged to know that South Asian music is not only limited to Bollywood films.
      “Exposure to artists such as the ones performing tonight sends the message that our music is diverse, multi-faceted and unique,” she shared. “I feel inspired just being here tonight.”
      Other highlights of the showcase included the socially conscious indie-rock sounds of Poor Rich Boy (and the toothless winos) and all newly-released songs by former pop idol and reinvented cultural instigator responsible for the “Burka Avenger,” Haroon. Mekaal Hasan Band, with influences of rock, jazz and soul music, paired with Sufi inspired lyrics was the perfect ending to the night.
      Mehnaz Parveen, Project Coordinator for FACE, was extremely proud of all the Pakistani artists who made the journey to Austin, Texas for the showcase. She has been traveling with the group since their departure from Islambad on March 12. Parveen was a part of FACE when initial talks to collaborate started with SXSW senior music producer Todd Puckhaber. The senior music producer spoke at Pakistan’s first “Music Mela,” a three-day festival organized by FACE and funded by the US Embassy in Islamabad.
      Puckhaber specifically handpicked the six acts that performed as a part of this year’s showcase, according to Parveen. “Music is a connecting bridge between Pakistan and the US and these artists are our cultural ambassadors,” Parveen shared. “We hope by collaborating with SXSW we can share our viewpoints and ideology to break some of the negative stereotypes of Pakistan.”
      Both FACE and SXSW organizers hope this showcase becomes an annual part of the music conference.
      Besides the Pakistani Showcase, FACE also hosted a Rooftop Pakistani Day Party on March 18 at popular Austin venue The Speakeasy."


      Mai Dhai in particular has such a mesmerizing voice. It must have been a real treat to listen to a live performance by her.

      "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." US Declaration of Independence.

    2. #2


      goodname's Avatar
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      Seems like Mai Dhai's going places! An excerpt from an article about her band and the Manganiyars of Sindh:

      "Voice of the desert takes the world by storm - The Express Tribune

      Dhai’s raw vocals and soulful compositions have transcended borders, with her having recently performed in New York City. And it seems like international audiences can’t get enough of her as she’s already booked to perform another gig at the University of North Carolina next year.
      “I want the world to know about us Manganiyars, our simplicity and our love of music,” says Mai Dhai. “We stay away from politics. We play music and seek happiness from it,” she adds.

      Meanwhile, The Sketches, another great band from Sindh, performed in Thar last week. It was an open concert so they didn't even charge anything. How cool's that?

      Bringing rock-and-roll to Tharparkar - The Express Tribune

      The Sketches entered Tharparkar as a bunch of musicians but left it like a group of rockstars. The band which hails from the city of Jamshoro performed the first rock concert in the district of Tharparkar on Tuesday.
      The idea to perform at a place like Thar had been there for quite some time and it was only recently that due to the efforts of their friends Pratab and Satish that they were able to perform there. “Traditional musical evenings tend to happen in the city on a regular basis but we wanted do something more modern and concert like for a long time,” Saif Samejo, The Sketches frontman, told The Express Tribune
      But for Samejo, the motive behind staging a performance over there was to bring a smile on the faces of people who have been fighting various natural calamities of late. They performed in front of an open crowd while sitting on sand dunes.
      Samejo, who has collaborated with Tharparkar-based musicians through his Lahooti Music Ashram, was full of praise for the residents of the area, saying there is an abundance of talent in the region, which is being ignored. Legendary folk musician Sadiq Fakir, who hailed from the district, was a major inspiration for the band, which performed the song Pakhi Pardes as a tribute to Fakir, who passed away two months ago.
      “Not only are they talented people they are extremely hospitable and peace loving too. We had to spend the night in Tharparkar as the people there had become adamant on hosting us,” remarked Samejo. The band is keen on taking their music to other localities as well.
      "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." US Declaration of Independence.

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