At South by Southwest’s first Pakistani music showcase, the Sain Tanveer Brothers kicked off Wednesday night with a high-energy set of trancelike psychedelic rhythms. The master percussionists drummed their way from Sixth Street into the Driskill Hotel’s Victorian Room.
The veteran musicians, known for their dhol spinning, didn’t keep the eager crowd waiting. They cleared room on the dance floor, and started by hanging one dhol on their neck. They somehow still managed to play even as they spun themselves around and their dhols whirled in the air. Cheers erupted. But wait, there’s more. At one point the musicians hung up to four dhols on their necks and began spinning. Phones came up and stayed up, capturing every dizzying moment.
The Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (FACE), which is the organization that brought the Pakistan showcase to SXSW, also featured traditional Manganiyar singer Mai Dhai, indie-folk band Poor Rich Boy, pop performer Haroon and Khumariyaan, and Sufi-rock outfit, the Mekaal Hasan Band.
A total of 27 people traveled to Austin to participate in the festival, and FACE president Zeejah Fazli, who is also the guitarist for the Sain Tanveer Brothers, thanked the state department for being able to make the showcase happen. Most of the bands have more showcases throughout SXSW, so check the schedule at sxsw.com.