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South by Southwest Music Festival joins Pakistan’s first ever Music Mela Conference

Islamabad, May 04, 2014 (PPI-OT): The Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) and Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (FACE) welcomed more than 1,000 attendees to the 2014 Music Mela Conference held May 2-4, 2014, in Islamabad. Noted musicians and U.S. exchange program alumni Arieb Azhar and Zeejah Fazli organised the festival, which is funded by US Embassy Islamabad through an alumni grant.

“This festival is an opportunity for musicians, artists, promoters, students and music enthusiasts to celebrate Pakistani music and address some of the challenges facing our industry,” said Arieb Azhar, a 2012 CenterStage exchange alumnus. “Our hope is the mela will provide a platform for musicians to work together for the enhancement of our musical heritage and industry.”

Fifteen folk, fusion, rock, indie and qawwali bands from across Pakistan performed. The mela also included master classes, presentations and panel discussions with music industry luminaries. Performing artists included: Khumariyaan, Zeb and Haniya, Mekaal Hassan Band with Humaira Channa, Bukhshi Brothers, Usman Shakeel and Ali Hamdani, Masuma Anwar, Amna Mawaz and Feriyal Amal Aslam, Malang Party, Poor Rich Boy, Qayaas, Taimur Khan and Natasha Humera Ejaz, Abbas Ali Khan, Mai Dhai, Imran Aziz Mian Band, Akhtar Chanal Zahri and Arieb Azhar.

Representatives from Coke Studios and Sachal Studio examined aspects of successful Pakistani music projects; Haroon Rashid discussed his advocacy work on intellectual property rights for musicians; and folklorist Uxi Mufti spoke on developing a music curriculum for schools and colleges.

Todd Puckhaber, music festival booker for one of the United States’ largest and most prestigious festivals, South by Southwest (SXSW), gave a workshop for Pakistani musicians on how to market themselves to the U.S. music industry and apply to festivals like SXSW.

“Music has the unique power to transcend boundaries, promote peace and cultivate mutual understanding,” said U.S. Embassy Counsellor for Public Affairs Angela Aggeler. “We’re delighted that an exchange program like Centre Stage has inspired Arieb and Zeejah to organize this conference, and thrilled to introduce the SXSW festival to Pakistan’s diverse range of musical traditions.”

For the complete schedule of workshops and presentations at Music Mela 2014, visit www.musicmela.org. Follow the mela on Twitter at hasthtag #musicmela.

For more information, contact:
Alberto Rodriguez
Spokesman
Information Office Public Affairs Section
Embassy of the United States of America
U.S. Embassy, Islamabad- Pakistan
Cell: +92300 501 2640
Tel: +9251-208 0000
Fax: +9251-227 8607
E-mail: webmasterisb@state.gov

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