ISLAMABAD: American DJ and record producer Diplo brought his Mad Decent Block Party to Pakistan’s capital over the weekend, headlining a roster of musicians including local Pakistani acts.
For two-time Grammy winner Diplo, playing Pakistan is a way to foster good relations with the mostly Muslim country after an angry Jan. 1 tweet from US President Donald Trump complaining that Pakistan gives “terrorists” a safe haven.
“I think the best way we can do any kind of diplomacy with the Pakistani people is … basically reaching out to the kids like we do at the concerts,” Diplo told TMZ last month after the Trump tweet, which soured US-Pakistani relations.
He added that by having US acts connect with the large youth population – an estimated 60 percent of Pakistanis are under age 30 – “they can grow into being our allies”.
More than 2,500 young people crowded into an outdoor venue in the capital, Islamabad, to a scaled down version of the event known for bringing together some of the hottest names in dance-hall, hip hop and electronic music.
Among the headliners were Diplo’s chart-topping side project Major Lazer Soundsystem, DJ Chrome Sparks and Pakistani duo SNKM, which has played the South by Southwest festival and toured with Diplo in the US.
“There’s a lot of bridges being built between here and the US” says SNKM’s Adil Omar, who also has a successful hip hop career and a new album and film “Transcendence” to be released this year.
For a cause
Apart from bringing music, Major Lazer had announced that it will be doing its bit for social good in Pakistan owing to its growing connection with the country.
As a result, a part of the proceeds from the block party was slated to go to Sahil, a non-profit organisation that works for children’s rights.
The trio had in a January tweet stated that the contribution will go in the name of Zainab Ansari, the eight-year-old whose tragic rape and murder case had shaken the country last month.