What comes to mind when you think about cultural integration? Do you imagine a world where there are endless possibilities for artists from around the world to come together and create something lasting and meaningful? Here’s a new version of globalization for you to think about: Sine Valley. A festival that took place in Kathmandu from October 20-29, 2017.

Co-founded by Pakistan’s Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey (Alien Panda Jury) and M. Manal (autonomotor) from Maldives, the festival aims to provide a space and atmosphere for creative minds to join hands and create sound and music with the gorgeous mountain peaks of Nepal in the backdrop. It is a rather unique blend of technology and music from world over coming together to bring something new to the South Asian map, and the ever-blooming city of Kathmandu. Or in the worlds of the team: “bringing multitudes of musical aliens, global wanderers, native artists, businesses and creative inhabitants together while opening this region to the vast reaches of the world.” The festival saw artists from India, Nepal, Maldives, France, Italy and Pakistan and more in the upcoming editions of the festival.

sine valley festival creative session
Image courtesy: Sine Valley Festival

What sets Sine Valley apart from most festivals around the globe is how it uses a narrative and a story to tell tales of artists involved. For instance, this year the festival presented a “trippy utopia” where artists taking part in the collective told their stories through live performances, up-close and personal panel discussions about their art and masterclasses that enabled the audiences to experience what the artists experience on a regular basis.

Pakistan-based artist Sana Nasir, also the art director of Sine Valley has been part of the journey since the first edition of the festival. She had a lot to do with this year’s social media plans and language (with the help of their writer Gibran Khaliq) surrounding the theme of the festival, apart from giving it an entire visual narrative of that dreamy, space feel – out of this world, literally and figuratively.

sine valley poster
Art director Sana Nasir gave the festival a distinct and unique style. Image: Sine Valley

“I sometimes find it hard to stop when an idea starts growing in my head,” Sana says. “Sine Valley came to my mind very developed as if it was there all along, waiting to be discovered.”

She explained that while the first edition of Sine Valley was an introduction to the atmosphere the festival inspires, this year’s festival was more about an introduction to the characters of the narrative that is being woven and the foundation for next year is already being set.

“The festival has broken new ground in the already existing electronic/experimental music scene in Kathmandu,” she added. “It’s the first collective of its kind there and growing with every step we take. I think it’s a great neutral ground for artists from South Asia to mix and collaborate.”

sine valley creative session
Image Courtesy: Sine Valley

For co-founder Daniel, the effort involved in setting up the festival was tiring but twice as rewarding. “The connections we’ve made and the way we expanded this year in terms of music and an audience was overwhelmingly positive, it exceeded our expectations,” he says.

From Pakistan, along with Sana and Daniel, was also Gibran Khaliq who took on the responsibilities as content writer for Sine Valley, Fatema Shah who collaborated with her slam poetry and Saalik Abbasi who documented the festival and helped with visuals. Natasha Noorani, who has been putting up festivals in Pakistan as co-director of Lahore Music Meet, also did her first solo debut at Sine Valley this year to showcase her indie-folk and contemporary R ‘n’ B tunes.

For Natasha, Sine Valley was a first in many aspects. Her first time in Nepal, first time sharing her music and collaborating with others from different parts of the world. Her debut album ‘Munaasib’ had been snippets of vocals and sounds and Sine Valley helped her find the direction she wanted to take her music in.

“Daniel was generous enough to take a chance on me when he invited me to perform and I couldn’t be more grateful,” Natasha says. “It was really challenging and rewarding putting my set together especially considering that I’ve never truly forayed into electronic music before this. The Sine Valley family was essential to making it happen. I got to collaborate with Autonomotor (Manal) and Voltaic (Aleaf Anwar) from Maldives and I was able to (kind of) polish my work and perform it in front of a live audience.”

Natasha believes that festivals truly take from where they are being held. Having Nepal as the background of this festival added significantly to the energy artists brought to the performances and collaborations.

“Performing everywhere from the heart of Thamel to early morning improv sets at a sunny farmers market, I feel the festival really utilized the space and fits in so perfectly with what the city has to offer”, she added.

Sine Valley brought together artists from different parts of the world, but it’s intimate set up not only allowed them to learn from each other it helped in celebrating music the way it should be, limitless and beyond borders.