The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, in cooperation with the Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Education (FACE), has sponsored six Pakistani bands to strengthen connections between the United States and Pakistan through a week of performances at the 2015 South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas. The bands represent a diverse cross-section of the Pakistani music scene, including traditional Manganiyar singer Mai Dhai; pop performer Haroon; folk drummers Sain Tanveer Brothers; and Khumariyaan, an instrumental group from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Rounding out the showcase are Sufi-rock Mekaal Hasan Band and indie-folk band Poor Rich Boy.
While in Austin, the bands will represent the first-ever Pakistani Showcase, playing at The Driskill on March 18. Pakistani Showcase members will also perform at the University of Texas at Austin, a university partner of the National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi; globalFEST SpeakEasy; the International Day Stage; and the NatGeo and Balcony TV showcase at the Palm Door. The bands will meet with participants of the U.S. Department of State’s groundbreaking Dosti Music Project, which brings together aspiring Pakistani, Indian, and U.S. musicians through collaborative musical performance. In addition to the Pakistani Showcase at the South-by-Southwest Music Festival, the U.S. Embassy supports year-round visual and performing arts programming in Pakistan.
The South-by-Southwest Showcase will bring a diverse group of Pakistani voices to one of the world’s premier music festivals, providing an unparalleled opportunity for American audiences to gain a better understanding of Pakistani culture and tradition. The SXSW Music Conference and Festival, held in Austin, Texas every year since 1987, is now the largest music festival of its kind globally, attracting over 51,000 registrants to Austin every March. The goal of SXSW is to create an event that acts as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, and to share ideas in music, film, and interactive technologies.