By Saiyna Bashir
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – American DJ and record producer Diplo brought his Mad Decent Block Party to Pakistan’s capital over the weekend, headlining a roster of musicians including local Pakistani acts.
For two-time Grammy winner Diplo, playing Pakistan is a way to foster good relations with the mostly Muslim country after an angry Jan. 1 tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump complaining that Pakistan gives “terrorists” a safe haven.
“I think the best way we can do any kind of diplomacy with the Pakistani people is … basically reaching out to the kids like we do at the concerts,” Diplo told TMZ last month after the Trump tweet, which soured U.S.-Pakistani relations.
He added that by having U.S. acts connect with the large youth population – an estimated 60 percent of Pakistanis are under age 30 – “they can grow into being our allies”.
More than 2,500 young people crowded into an outdoor venue in the capital, Islamabad, to a scaled down version of the event known for bringing together some of the hottest names in dance-hall, hip hop and electronic music.
Among the headliners were Diplo’s chart-topping side project Major Lazer Soundsystem, DJ Chrome Sparks and Pakistani duo SNKM, which has played the South by Southwest festival and toured with Diplo in the U.S.
“There’s a lot of bridges being built between here and the U.S.” says SNKM’s Adil Omar, who also has a successful hip hop career and a new album and film “Transcendence” to be released this year.
(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)