Islooites get an electrifying experience of brass music
ISLAMABAD: The venue was booming with the energetic sounds of brass instruments on Saturday night. The US embassy hosted a vibrant evening at the Rock Musicarium, bringing a piece of New Orleans to Islamabad through a brass band called The Stooges.
The event opened with dhol players Saeen Tanvir and Khalil Hussain’s predictable but vigorous dhamal, soaking up some of the crowd’s anticipation as The Stooges prepared to follow with equal amounts of stamina and exhilaration.
“Ya’ll are gonna love this,” Tuba player John Cannon’s deep throated, southern drawl echoed in the microphone as the seven-member brass band overwhelmed the stage.
The venue was radiating with the energy of the performers as they belted out edgy brass tunes, so infectious that those modestly swaying in their seats were forced to move towards the stage to feel the beat even more.
The crowd was shouting back “stooges” as the band crowed “everybody say stoo-ges”. Even the slightly older crowd yelled along, excitedly watching the band occasionally break into dance moves or jump into the crowd to rally more dancers.
The American band was followed by a Punjabi brass band in neat white uniforms, which played traditional Pakistani tunes including their recent Coke Studio hit “neray aah”.
The band, though lively, lacked the kind of dynamic influence of folk, military and contemporary hip-hop that lent to the success of The Stooges’ performance. The wedding-like quality of music deprived the rest of the night of the soulful experience of New Orleans.
Brass, which is a popular genre of music in New Orleans, a port town at the end of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, emerged in the early 20th century as a more creative offshoot of military band music.
Its main influence came from West African slaves, who migrated to the Mississippi area, flavouring it with their own traditional folk music.
The Stooges comprise trombone players Lamar Heard and Larry Brown, saxophone player Cameron Johnson, drummers Bernell Edwards and Errol Marchand, tuba player John Cannon and John Perkins.
“We all like good music, good food and we all surely love to dance,” said the Head of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Pakistan while addressing the audience.
The concert, he explained, is a part of an initiative to strengthen cultural ties and share knowledge of the diverse musical heritage of the two countries.
“While The Stooges are on a tour of Pakistan, having already played in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistani music sensations Noori and Arieb Azhar are touring the US,” he said