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Soundcheck: Tour de force

June 16, 2013

Strings’ globetrotting stint recently saw them on US shores again to perform in New York, Boston, Houston, Dallas and San Francisco in the first leg of the tour while the second leg will feature Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Jersey and Washington later this year.

Exhaustive in nature, the band plans such tours once in two years to promote their music in expatriate-centric urban centres. Images on Sunday sat them down upon their arrival from the US, and before their flight to Dubai.

“The US is a multi-ethnic and multifarious society and it’s always exciting for Pakistani musicians to perform in its various cities. Expats with deep-rooted connections look forward to music and art from Pakistan. After Main Tou Dekhoonga, we feel people have started connecting more with Pakistan and its politics. As the tour took place right before elections, they were anxious to know about what’s really going on,” said Faisal Kapadia.

Bilal Maqsood seemed excited while sharing his experience, “Every performance was special in its own way, making it difficult to compare them. However, at the one in New York’s Colombia University we performed for Pakistani students. The performance in San Francisco was a fundraiser for The Citizen Foundation (TCF). Interestingly, Salman Khan of Khan Academy was also there. It is a non-profit educational website that has delivered over 240 million lessons in a variety of disciplines. He also had a presentation prior to our performance.”

“Our kids are huge fans. We met Salman and expressed our excitement and appreciation,” chipped in Faisal.

In Boston, Strings performed at Berkley Performance Centre for the second time to an “amazing audience.”

Fun on tour Says Faisal, “We always make it a point to travel around during tours. This time Bilal, myself and an old mate Rafique from Strings Vol 1&2 took a trip of Highway 1 from San Francisco to LA to see Universal Studios where we had loads of fun on different rides.

“People were quite anxious about the situation back home. They wanted elections to be on time and were pretty optimistic about the new government.”

According to Strings, many Pakistani bands/artists and folk musicians visit to the US on exchange programmes and vice versa. However, it needs to happen on a broader level and should reach out to the masses. “We see many American bands visiting Pakistan but their performances are restricted to the niche at consulate or diplomatic enclaves. This should be made public.”

So, how do they manage hectic back-to-back shows? Bilal quotes, “We had three back-to-back shows. On a Friday, we had a show in Houston, which finished at 12am, and by 2am we reached our hotel room. Then we had to catch a flight at 8am and reached another venue at 10am and went straight for soundcheck and performance. At 9am next day we had to fly to the third venue and the same routine. Although quite tiring, our love for music and the adoration of the masses kept us going. We also take special care of our health and diet, prior to tours with less sleep and lots of travel.”

Faisal and Bilal of Strings were accompanied by Adeel (guitar), Shakir (bass), Haider (keyboards) and Ahad (drums).