As part of the first group of artists to travel from Pakistan to perform at the SXSW Music Festival, traditional Manganiyar singer Mai Dhai performed three official showcases at SXSW 2015. Watch her full set on the International Day Stage in the Austin Convention Center.
Mai Dhai is a traditional Manganiyar singer and dhol (Punjabi drum) player from the Thar Desert region. The Manganiyars are a caste of Muslim musicians who traditionally performed for the kings of Rajasthan in the Subcontinent. Their repertoire ranges from ballads about the kings to Sufi songs written by various mystics. Hailing from Tharparkar, in the interior region of Sindh province, Mai Dhai’s driving percussion and other-worldly voice evoke the ancient rhythms of times long past.
Started in 1987, South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that take place early each year in mid-March in Austin, Texas. SXSW’s original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today whether it is music, film or interactive technologies.