In a milestone for the nascent Pakistan dance music community, Boiler Room announced their first-ever show in Pakistan.
Local dance music fans were swept off their feet when a striking poster popped up on Instagram from Boiler Room with the surprise announcement earlier this week. The poster pays homage to Pakistani culture with a rose shimmering above the Pakistani state symbol of a crescent with a five-pointed star, embellished with a famous Urdu phrase: "dekh magar pyar se" (look, but with love).
Pakistan’s inaugural Boiler Room streams today, June 20th at 7PM PKT (3PM BST) from the metropolis of Karachi. The highly anticipated broadcast is a collaborative effort organized by the British Council, Dialled In, Karachi Community Radio, and Cape Monze Records.
U.K. producers Ahadadream and Nabihah Iqbal will host the show, which is poised to celebrate Pakistan’s native live music heritage as well as its contemporary dance music community.
Esteemed 70-year-old Benjo player Ustad Noor Bakhsh leads the lineup of artists representing traditional Pakistani music. Another exciting act is Lahore’s instrumental quartet Jaubi. They’re revered for reinterpreting famous hip-hop tracks using qawwali instruments, blending North Indian classical music with modal jazz, and composing tunes through pure improvisation by ear rather than notating music.
Multidisciplinary artist Natasha Noorani and Islamabad-based singer-songwriter Natasha Ejaz round out the live music roster. ”Mama Baba [mom, dad] that's my name on something I never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd have my name on,” Ejaz exulted after the Boiler Room poster was publicly revealed.
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Closing the stream is a host of electronic music artists like Pakistani-electronic producer Malik, techno aficionado Tollcrone, genre-fluid Lyla, and Ozzie. Plus, a pulsing techno, back-to-back performance by Kukido and TMPST.
“No words can express my emotions right now. There’s so much I want to say, but the music will speak for me,” Malik gushed.
"It's not every day that you get to strike out an item from your bucket list,” added Tollcrane.
On a mission to “tell stories from the fringes” and “connect local dance floors to the wider world,” Boiler Room's move to spotlight Pakistan’s budding dance music scene, recognizing and honoring the varying facets of Pakistani music—traditional and contemporary—adds fuel to the fire for a legion of diligent local artists making strides in their craft.
“This one is for all the believers,” Ozzie cheered. “This thing alone gives us so much hope and pushes us forward, it keeps us going.”