Folk Nations is a three-year project, which aims to make connections between the folk music industries in South Asia and the UK. Over the years Folk Nations concerts have seen fusion of traditional South Asian forms like Qawwali, Manganiyar and Baul with English folk music. Celtic Connections, Scotland’s biggest folk music festival, has been the meeting point for many of the musicians and promoters involved.
In Pakistan, Folk Nations has effected collaborations between Susheela Raman and Mian Miri Qawwals (2012), Martin Simpson and Arieb Azhar (2013) and this year between British guitarist, Sam Carter and acclaimed sitar player, Sajid Hussain and tabla player, Haroon Samuel. This last collaboration came as a result of a British Council and Tehzeeb Foundation partnership whereby Malahat Awan, of Tehzeeb attended Celtic Connections earlier in 2013 and initiated the collaboration on her return. Two performances took place in Karachi at Marriott Hotel and Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. About his experience in Pakistan, Sam Carter said: 'By giving me opportunity to work with gifted musicians from a different culture and musical background, the Folk Nations project gave me a fantastic insight into the music of Pakistan. I really enjoyed exploring the fusion of our two traditions and finding much common ground.' Hamyun Rashid, who viewed the performance live online from Ontario, commented, “Great songs linked to real social issues. Great to watch the social scene in Pakistan crossing borders”.
Sam Carter also conducted a workshop at the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in Karachi on song writing, for many aspiring musicians.