Islamabad is usually a calm city but when Music Mela is around, you can feel the enthusiasm in the air. Music lovers from the twin cities gathered at Pakistan National Council for Arts (PNCA) for the 3-day Face Music Mela (formerly known as Music Mela Conference) to enjoy performances of more than 3 dozen artists from across Pakistan, United States and Poland.
As usual, this years Music Mela also had two parts scheduled over the period of 3 days: The indoor talks and workshops during day time and the musical performances in the evening. The event was free for all except that you had to get a pass from FACE and register yourself online. This was the 3rd Music Mela event organized by Foundation for Arts and Cultural Education (FACE) – an NGO run by famed musician Arieb Azhar and guitarist Zeejah Fazli.
Dehubs has been covering the festival since its very first edition. We even did a live stream and live blogging session on the inaugural Music Mela that received all-together about 70k views.
Although we will be posting regularly the individual performances, here are some highlights of the event:
Day 1: Folk, Classical and The Rain
The opening day at Music Mela featured classic and folk Music of Pakistan. Zarsanga, a woman led band folk band from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa started with her performance. Later, she was given a life time achievement award. Balochi music was second in line. Taj Buledi, a folk musician from Balochistan, brought people on their feet with his unique voice and moves. Other bands that performed before rain interrupted the show included Wahdat Rameez, Matra Percussion Band, Sufi Meeran, Qurban Niazi, Ali Sethi and finally and combination of Qawalistan with Imran Aziz Mian. Noori and Sounds of Kolachi were pushed to second day due to heavy rain.
Day 2: Noori and Salsa
On the second day, there were indoor workshops in the auditorium starting with a Song Writing Workshop followed by Introduction to Folk Music of Pakistan, Basics of Audio Production and Final Push on Artist Royalties.
The outdoor performances were a bit shuffled due to some bands that couldn’t perform on day 1 due to rain. There were speculations if Noori would be performing that FACE gave good news on their Facebook pages with a video Ali Hamza promising to perform on the second day.
The evening started quite nice with performances by Wind & Percussion Roots, Gulshan Jahan and the Nescafe Basement sensations Leo Twins performing alongside Richard. And then there was Blackhour, Islamabad’s own Abdullah Quershi, Fakhr-e-Punjab and Chicha, Palyaga & Friends, a band that came all the way from Poland. Before Noori came to rock the party, there was Javed Bashir, whose Coke Studio song was well received and Song of Kolachi, who had missed on day 1. And finally, there was Salsa! Grupo Fantasma – the Grammy Award-winning Latin funk orchestra from USA, brought again everyone on their feet. We saw some Pindi Boyses doing desi moves on Salsa which is something FACE says Music Mela is all about: Bringing music lovers from different parts of the world together.
Day 3: Karachiites Ruled The Stage
The third day started with Music and Globalization talk in the auditorium followed by Musical Journey of Nusrat – King of Qawwali, a workshop on percussion and talk on Breaking into the international music scene.
The main stage performances started with Sindhi folk artist Wahid Allan Faqir, who belongs to the Allan Faqir family of folk artists. He was followed by performances by Amie Maciszewski and local bands like Xarbb, Dissbelief, Jasim and Pindi Boys, MKSS – the all-girl band who started from Nescafe Basement and received a standing ovation at TEDxIslamabad. Then there was Leva Band followed by most awaited performance of the day by Zoe Viccaji. The end had to be sensational and nobody could do it better than Rizwan Moazzam Qawwal whose Qawwalis and tabla beats made audience to want more.
FACE has organized the FACE Film Festival that will be held on 29th and 30th of April at the same venue.