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Photos: Pakistani Sufi Music Festival, New York City ; by Riaz K

MCB got wind of an amazing international 3-day music festival that took place last week in the heart of Union Square, New York and made sure that we were there to cover it!

The word "Pakistan" comes with a lot of negative connotations. Pretty much the way "Detroit" does in the rest of the country for us folk here. In the wake of the recent threat at Times Square, a few activists and dignitaries from Pakistan took it upon themselves to get together with US senators and try and revive the image of Pakistani culture and musical heritage here in the States.

Sufiism is the mystical element of unorthodox Islam that has existed for centuries - some of you might be familiar with "Whirling Dervishes". The Dervishes are also called Sufis and as such their connection to the divine is more spiritual and devoid of all the politics of organized religion. The emphasis is laid on the connection between the individual and the Creator and nothing else. In a state of trance, these mystics would create the most beautiful poetry and music known in the East and these traditions have passed down for centuries.

In the slideshow above, we attempt to bring forth the color, vigor and grace that this region's culture has to offer, but never gets the light of day from mainstream media any more.