Dosti, New Orleans style
KARACHI: It was a fun-filled event marked by some brilliant music. The Stooges Brass Band, later joined and ably supported by a young Pakistani musician Asif Sinan, enthralled music lovers with their catchy compositions steeped in brass tradition and at the same time having that edge which imparted a contemporary feel to them at a concert organised by the US Consulate-General Karachi at a local hotel on Thursday.
The beginning of the very first track that the Stooges Brass Band played titled ‘Fire’ (not to be confused with Jimi Hendrix’s famous song, though no less vivacious) made the audience realise the quality of the group’s music. The sound of the tuba (played with remarkable facility by John Cannon) kicked off the track as the drums (Bernard Edwards, Errol Merchand) joined in and rocked the venue. And when the trombone (Larry Brown), trumpet (John Perkins) and the saxophone (Cameron Johnson) picked the tune, they elevated the song to another level, and from then on there was no looking back. The band kept the upbeat sound of the number throughout and egged on the audience to sing along and enjoy. The audience responded positively, creating an extremely entertaining atmosphere.
The next track was ‘Wind It Up’, which is one of the band’s celebrated songs. Pakistani guitar player Asif Sinan was called on stage to collaborate with the Stooges. He came and did his part well. By that time the audience, mostly the younger lot in the hall, had warmed up to the band’s idea of engaging their listeners in their act. A few of them even knew the song by heart and screamed the lyrics at the top of their lungs. During the performance some music buffs, including a band member, reached the area in front of the stage and danced their hearts out.
The Stooges Brass Band then got off stage and Asif Sinan was given company by his other band members. The group started off with a song ‘Jo Jaey Janey Do’ and followed it up with their version of Abida Parveen’s famous Sufi kalam ‘Mahi Yaar Di’.
The resounding beat of ‘Mahi Yaar’ compelled some spirited individuals to do the trance dance. But Sinan’s best act was his rendition of raga kirvani. He was true to the ascending and descending notes of the raga. If he can add innovative elements to the composition, it has the potential for becoming a special treat.
In the end the Stooges (minus their drummers) joined Asif Sinan’s band to perform the well-known Pakistani pop song ‘Yaro Yehi Dosti Hai’ (originally sung by Ali Azmat). The sound of the trombone, saxophone and the trumpet added tremendous exuberance to the track and proved a befitting end to the concert, as it basically talked about the value of friendship.
The New Orleans-based Stooges Brass Band has been around for more than 15 years and has toured all over the world.