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Three-day Music Mela begins in Islamabad

The second annual Music Mela began here at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) to celebrate International Jazz Month.

The three-day event organized by the United States Embassy, in collaboration with the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (FACE) will feature 25 acts from diverse musical genres, attracting thousands of music enthusiasts from across Pakistan as well as international speakers and music promoters, according to a statement issued by the US Embassy in Islamabad.

“Music has a special power to overcome barriers – regardless of language, geography, or culture. This event builds on the tremendous success of last year’s Music Mela and a year of cultural events arranged by the U.S. Embassy and its partners in Pakistan and the United States,” said U.S. Ambassador Richard G. Olson while inaugurating the gala.

U.S. bassist Marcus Miller also addressed the crowd via video message as part of International Jazz Month. He spoke of Jazz as an American art form and its spirit of invention and improvisation that has found a home in countries around the world, including Pakistan.

Pakistani artists headlining performances this year include Hadiqa Kiani, Sanam Marvi, Faiz Ali Qawwal, Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, Coven, Sketches, Asrar, and many others. Music Mela 2015 showcases several intercultural collaborations, such as American artist Mary McBride singing a translation of a song in Sindhi, and Polish artist Maria Pomianovska performing with Sachu Khan, a Saroz master from Balochistan.

In addition to live performances, Music Mela 2015 will feature workshops and master classes that address the needs of the Pakistani music industry. The workshops will address the need for enhanced protections of intellectual property rights and artist royalties in the lead up to World Intellectual Property Day on April 26. The program also includes master classes and presentations from successful music initiatives such as the National Academy of Performing Arts and Nescafe Basement.

The US Embassy sponsors several programs that support the arts and Pakistani musicians every year. This year it sponsored the first-ever Pakistani Showcase at the South-by-Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas; and the Dosti Music Project, a collaboration between American, Pakistani, and Indian artists to compose, collaborate, and perform new music in a spirit of international understanding. – Samaa