Islamabad: The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad congratulates four Pakistani bands on their successful performances in the 2016 South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival which concluded last week in Austin, Texas. For the second year in a row, the U.S. Embassy, in collaboration with the Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Education (FACE), sponsored Pakistani musical groups’ participation in the festival in order to strengthen ties between American and Pakistani music communities.
“Music plays a unique role in connecting communities and individuals through a shared language,” Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jeffrey Sexton said. “We were thrilled to sponsor some of Pakistan’s best musicians to attend one of the world’s largest music festivals in the United States, and we are looking forward to supporting the lasting relationships between the arts communities in Pakistan and the United States that develop out of this program.”
Female Sindhi musician Mai Nimani, folk musician Wahid Allen Faqir, qawali group Imran Aziz Mian Qawwal, and Lahore-based rock band Overload participated in this year’s festival. While in Austin, the bands presented a diverse range of folk and rock music during the second Pakistan Music Showcase at The Driskill on March 16. The bands also networked with music managers, participated in a music tech meet up, and performed at other venues across Austin. Austin Mayor Steve Adler was so impressed with Pakistan’s musical representation at SXSW, he declared March 14, 2016 “Music of Pakistan Day.”
Reflecting on his experience, Faqir said, “This trip has been a gift from God. Now I feel the responsibility to spread happiness and love through my performances. The people I met in America have such big hearts. Wherever I went, people took photos with me, gave me hugs, and were curious to know more about me and my country. I have such great memories of love and happiness from Austin.”
The South-by-Southwest Showcase provided an unparalleled opportunity for Pakistani musicians to share Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage with American audiences. The SXSW Music Conference and Festival, held in Austin, Texas every year since 1987, is now the largest music festival of its kind globally and attracts over 51,000 people 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.