KARACHI: Some groovy soft rock music from the Mary McBride Band nicely set the tone for the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) Music Festival 2015 on Thursday night. The three-day festival, which has been captioned ‘Bridging cultures through music’, aims to bring together musical flavours from different parts of the world for Pakistani music buffs.
The show began with the Napa students’ presentation of three Beatles songs. It was a departure from the academy’s usual form of presentation where it begins a concert with an eastern classical raga. It was a refreshing change that the concert kicked off with a few internationally known numbers.
The first Beatles track that the students played was ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’. It was a decent beginning. The second song, ‘Yesterday’, was very nicely sung. The young vocalist, whose name was not mentioned, did justice to the famous ditty to a large extent. The last Beatles song was ‘All my loving’.
The Mary McBride Band grabbed the audience’s attention with their very first song ‘Won’t be long’. They followed it up with a ballad-like track. Music lovers, who were allowed to appreciate the performances with all their heart, thoroughly enjoyed the band’s effort.
The band picked the right tempo with their third track called ‘I get everything’. It was a foot-tapping number, and the good thing about it was that all the band members seemed quite immersed in it. It gave off a very good vibe and energy.
Next up was ‘That thing you do’. It had a bit of a romantic tinge to it, but the signature rhythm pattern which the band appeared to have set for the gig did not alter much.
The semi-rock, a tad country-sounding feel, to the song was there. But that was not all there was to the American musicians. Their next offering ‘Maybe I’m dreaming’ opted for another trajectory with its wistful tone. It was pretty mellifluous.
Then the American group shifted gears and did some quality cover tunes. The singer, McBride, told the audience that once in the US the band was to perform on Valentine’s Day. Since they’re a rock band, instead of doing the lovey-dovey thing, they chose to sing a ‘heartbreak’ song. This led her to sing a Hank Williams song.
The moment she began to belt out the lyrics, the audience couldn’t help but notice the power and versatility of McBride’s voice. She put her soul into the words and kept the sanctity of the melody intact as well.
Finally, the band successfully managed to move from a Ray Charles song to the famous Pakistani national anthem Dil Dil Pakistan’s opening lines.
It further lifted the spirits of music lovers, especially the younger ones, as Ms McBride wore a Pakistani T-shirt for the act.
The last item on the list was a fusion performance between the Mary McBride Band and Napa’s Ustad Nafees Ahmed and Ustad Bashir Khan.
Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2015