Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Reece Smyth hosted Pakistani instrumental band Khumariyaan in their ongoing Creative Minds series. On a rare sunny day in Dublin the event was held outside on the lawn of the Ambassador’s Residence in the heart of Phoenix Park.
Khumariyaan were touring the UK when the US Embassy invited them to Dublin for two days where they jammed with local musicians at Axis Ballymun, performed to full house at Trinity College, were interviewed on RTE Arena, and finally ending in the Ambassador’s Residence with a discussion and performance.
They talked about “existance is a form of resistance” in the face of a talibanisation and a highly conservative society where music is cherished but musicians are looked down upon. They say society is slowly changing for the better, uniting through music. Their music is intentionally instrumental so that all people of the many different languages and ethnicities in Pakistan can come together.
Khumariyaan are helping to drive this social change through their music, as well as outside of it. The band members consist of lecturers and activists. They hope to set up a record label to make it easier for other musicians to create music, and aim to only collaborate with female musicians which are rare in their heavily patriarchal society.
Despite the hardships creating music in Pakistan, the performance was fun featuring plenty of power stance from the guitarist, jumping off stage mid-song for a traditional dance, and an interactive dance lesson with the audience.