The sky’s the limit for Strings

Published: June 3, 2010
Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia are the new brand ambassadors for Etihad Airways. PHOTO:ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS.

Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia are the new brand ambassadors for Etihad Airways. PHOTO:ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS.

KARACHI: Strings have endorsed several brands over the past decade, including Pepsi, Mobilink, Warid, Gibson guitars and they have now been chosen by Etihad Airways as brand ambassadors for the airline.

This deal shows how Strings has come full circle, given that the band’s first international tour was to Sharjah in 1992. Strings, which featured four band members then, had a mixed reaction from the expat audience in Sharjah. Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia laughingly told the now-defunct music website in 2004 that they were not paid in full for the Sharjah concert from the tour promoters.

It is ironic – and a sign of how far the band has come that they are now endorsing the country’s national airline.

At a press conference to announce their new deal, Strings was flanked by officials from the airline. Peter Baumgartner, the Etihad Airways commercial chief officer said, “It is a great afternoon for us. Etihad values its relationship with Pakistan and we welcome Faisal and Bilal to this partnership. (We see that) Strings continue to grow and so does Etihad Airways. Strings has a different approach to music and Etihad Airways is running on those same modern lines.”

One of the key reasons for the airline choosing Strings is that the duo has a huge fan following in the Gulf amongst the desi community. Strings believe that the partnership will showcase a ‘softer’ side of Pakistan as well.

Baumgartner described the partnership with Strings as a “natural fit”. “It’s a new territory for us, and it showcases our commitment to the Pakistani community living in UAE, UK and America. Strings will provide prestige and glamour to the airline and vice versa.”

“It is a proud moment for both of us,” Kapadia said. “It is great that Etihad is investing in the country and promoting culture through music.”

Maqsood said, “(Through this) the soft image of the country is being promoted. They have signed us up and we hope that we are able to match our music.”

When asked why Strings chose to partner with Etihad (the national airline of the United Arab Emirates) instead of the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines, Maqsood candidly remarked, “After all, our president lives in Dubai too.”

The band’s upcoming song, “Ab Khud Hi Kuch Karna Parega”, which features Atif Aslam, will focus on the current sociopolitical situation in the country.  Maqsood said, “Last year, we were touring the US and when we came back, we had a reality check about the recent happenings in the country. We started writing the lyrics. We have worked with acclaimed Indian artists and this time round we thought someone from Pakistan (will fit in this) and what better name than Atif Aslam. So we recorded the song with him”

When asked what role politicians have to play in Pakistan, Maqsood said, “We expect a lot from our politicians. I don’t think they will do anything, we ourselves have to get up and do it.”

Kapadia told The Express Tribune that the band is heading back to foreign shores. “We are touring the US for the next two months and have been part of a national music contest called “Azme Alishan” which we were judging. Next up is shooting the video for “Ab Khud Hi Kuch Karna Parega”.

Published in the Express Tribune, 4th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Ali Haider
    Jun 4, 2010 - 12:29AM


  • mk
    Jun 4, 2010 - 1:05AM

    can’t say it any better than “Ab Khud Hi Kuch Karna Parega” – that is exactly how young pakistanis like myself feel.Recommend

  • Jun 4, 2010 - 1:18AM

    Strings… when the word comes into mind it represents the eternity, the unity and the music which flow direct through the heart… Big Big fan of Stings from India.. We ment at south Asian Msuic festival and they gave our band a gift..”ALL THE BEST ZEHEN THE BAND”.. highly inspired by there music and there songs.. strings u rocks and Bilal.. no words for you.. luv u Strings..Recommend

  • Asim Kaleem
    Jun 4, 2010 - 3:17AM

    Thanks to Etihad for selecting my favorite band as their ambassadors ………. indeed it is to honour their work for the country and to these guys who are indeed the voice of the youth of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Najia Khan
    Jun 4, 2010 - 8:52AM

    strong textWel of luck … superb work guys …. we all are proud of u ….. Mashallah … have more and more success ….. Ameeen :)…Recommend

  • Aashish
    Jun 4, 2010 - 11:35AM

    I think Strings has played a pivotal role in bridging distances between the two countries, as far as the youth is concerned. I guess we are way above the socio-politic warmongering which has crippled the bilateral ties, and are just happy to interact with like minded music aficionados. Congrats, for another feather in the cap, I’m certain there are many more to come. Peace \/ Recommend

  • Amazed squirrel
    Jun 4, 2010 - 2:30PM

    Sky is the limit strings!Recommend

  • Mustafa Kamal
    Jun 4, 2010 - 4:12PM

    Well done folks … you deserve this achievement. Pakistan really needs more responsible individuals like you who have the moral fibre and fortitude to improve Pakistan’s image worldwide. We in reality need those who are really proactive rather than merely talking and chitchat. Keep up the good work guys.Recommend

  • Sidrah Zaheer
    Jun 4, 2010 - 11:52PM

    I really liked Bilal’s candid remark that our President also lives in Dubai, which makes it a reason enough for them to endorse Ethihad Airways. Well said.Recommend

  • Awan
    Jun 5, 2010 - 6:03PM

    Gentelmen next time am gna fly with Eithad………as now u r it ambassadors!!!! Gud LuckRecommend

  • Adil8
    Jun 8, 2010 - 3:46AM

    I really appreciate this thought provoking title of the new song by strings,”Ab Khud Hi Kuch Karna Parega”.. We WILL support anyone who wants to do good to Pak as It’s the time to Do or Die!! Recommend

  • naku dewani
    Jun 19, 2010 - 1:26PM

    congratulations faisalbhai tusi great hoRecommend

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