Press Clipping
Wednesday Showcases

FACE: The Music of Pakistan
8pm, Victorian Room at the Driskill
With a diverse lineup befitting a diverse nation, SXSW's first-ever showcase of music from Pakistan promises to be illuminating. The showcase is sponsored by the Islamabad-based Foundation for Arts Culture and Education (FACE), a U.S. State Department-funded organization countering violent fundamentalism with cultural exchange. We begin with Sialkot's Sain Tanveer Brothers performing alongside guitarist (and FACE president) Zeejah Fazli. Tanveer remains a master of hypnotic Punjabi drumming, sometimes spinning multiple dhols around his neck while playing. Hailing from the Thar desert town of Umerkot, Mai Dhai keeps the centuries-old Manganiyar musical tradition alive with her soaring vocals and dhol playing. The Pashtoon rubab is the focal point for Khumariyaan. The Peshawar-based quartet's instrumentals are fueled by a riveting mix of traditional folk and ambient influences. Performing songs in English, Lahore's Poor Rich Boy represent Pakistan's burgeoning indie field with thoughtfully eclectic arrangements and lyrical intricacies. Islamabad's Haroon is a bona fide pop idol, having sold over 3 million albums. After landing the first Urdu/Hindi pop song on MTV with Awaz, the British-born entertainer created the female-empowering animated series Burka Avenger. The Lahore-based Mekaal Hasan Band ends the night by combining classical Eastern folk and Sufi traditions with jazz and prog-rock influences to epic effect. – Greg Beets