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East meets West in this SMF debut of North Carolina folk-rock band Hiss Golden Messenger and Pakistani 10-piece supergroup Sounds of Kolachi.

Hiss Golden Messenger is the creation of MC Taylor, a Californian who makes his home in North Carolina, where he relocated to pursue folklore studies. In his SMF debut, Taylor will be joined by a full band for two performances. PopMatters referred to the music of Hiss Golden Messenger as a kind of “back porch mysticism,” depicting the South “of antebellum ghosts, red clay, emptiness, complex Christian iconography and sonics that draw from folk-pop, roots rock, alt-country, white-man blues and pew-shaking gospel.”

Sounds of Kolachi is a 10-piece supergroup of vocalists and instrumentalists from Karachi, Pakistan blurring raga and Western harmony, counterpoint and South Asian melodic lines, all without losing the groove. South Asian classical instruments are on equal footing with electric guitar and a rock ‘n’ roll rhythm section. Guiding the journey, composer, theorist and singer Ahsan Bari spins outrageous, bluesy, modal riffs, boosted by a quartet of male and female voices.

The presentation of Sounds of Kolachi is part of Center Stage, a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts organizations, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Center Stage Pakistan is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and the Henry Luce Foundation. General management is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.

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