Pakistani Band “Strings” at Columbia

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Breaking the strings of my heart

Tugging at my heart-strings

On Sunday night, Columbia was visited by stars—Pakistani pop-rock stars, Strings. Bwog sent Pakistani Partier Sarah Thompson to check it out.

People stood outside in the rain for hours (literally) for the event put on by the Organization of Pakistani Students as the band perfected its sound. Like the herd of wildebeests that kill Mufasa in The Lion King, the excited fans stampeded into Roone Arledge. I trotted up to the fourth row—thanks, OPS. The announcer made things just edgy enough when he shouted, “For Pakistan, for India, for the rest of the subcontinent—are you ready to have a ballistic night?” Apparently we all were!

Confession time: I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Pakistani pop-rock music before, so I was expecting something similar to the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire or Non-Stop Collection of Bollywood Songs. That’s why I was so surprised when the band sounded like something you might’ve heard on the radio anytime in the past few decades in the US—perhaps not as groovable, but a bit more relatable.

The band was energetic—the drummer, who I initially thought wasn’t wearing pants, constantly waggled his head around with his tongue flopping about, enjoying the music—as well as fun—during a crooning song, they invited up on stage a delirious fangirl, who may or may not have had a heart attack following the encounter with her idol/fantasy-boy. Strings brought everyone to their feet, and the crowd never stopped dancing along to the hits, including the famous “Sar Ki Yeh Pahar” and “Titliyan,” off their last album.

In the end, Strings left the crowd happy, as they interacted heavily with the fans throughout the show, and we left Strings happy, as they can say to their kids, “We played at Columbia” (as they noted). Kudos to OPS for scoring a band with such a big name in the international and Bollywood scene. Everyone studying in Butler missed out on a good time and temporary deafness.

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  1. seriously guys

    There is a really weird orientalist tone in this article. herd of wildebeests? not as groovable? "as they can say to their kids, “We played at Columbia.”"pantless drummer with his tongue flopping out? FYI Strings is a highly renowned band, and their music is deep and beautiful. Honestly, the tone of this writing, as if this whole "exotic" experience was soooooo amusing, is disgusting and an embarrassment for this institution.

    • thanks  

      yeah when it got to the tongue waggling, I agree. I mean there's an irreverent absurd tone, which is what bwog often gets right, but this is very 'ooooh look at these weird people from abroad'. a lot of it probably results from poor journalism - like, you couldn't find a single pakistani student to quote re the band's popularity? couldn't get an interview?

      the one plus was discovering the non stop collection of bollywood songs link.

    • Anonymous  

      Kudos for you pointing this out! I would extend your response and argue that you have uncovered the author's racism! I live in one of the brownstones on 114th, and Sunday night I passed by the crowd outside. And the majority of people seemed to be of middle eastern descent. So for the author of this article to similize a non-white racial crowd with dark wildebeests, for the latter to even pop up in his or head when thinking about this crowd, suggests a racist mind. That comparison should be edited out of the article asap because it is tremendously problematic and subtly racist! We need people to bring a post-colonial critique to discourses such as this article's manner of language, even so-called humorous ones.

      • Anonymous  

        this is me again. Reading the article again helps me see even more of its problematics. I quote:
        "Like the herd of wildebeests that kill Mufasa in The Lion King, the excited fans stampeded into Roone Arledge"

        I already wrote about why using the word wildebeests is problematic above. But using the words "kill" and "stampeded" are problematic as well since they suggest the crowd's criminality, disorderliness, and violent qualities. My point is supported by the article's emphasis on the crowd having stood outside for hours. I'm disgusted with this article!!!!!!!!!

  2. OPSalum

    CONGRATS to the entire OPS board! I'm amazed by the accomplishments this tiny group achieves year after year with minuscule funding and an even more minuscule demo- from the Flood Relief Effort, to CHAMAK, to Hangama, to this. GIVE THESE FOLKS A KINGS CROWN ALREADY!

  3. a volunteer  

    Like the herd of wildebeests that kill Mufasa in The Lion King, the excited fans stampeded into Roone Arledge

    false, people were let in ten at a time. way to reinforce stereotypes. great journalism guys.

  4. S  

    Great piece, Sarah!:)

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