This Saturday, October 17, Flushing Town Hall will present a performance of Riyaaz Qawwali, a unique musical ensemble specializing in this joyous and exciting musical genre from Pakistan, India, and surrounding areas.
The performance is part of Flushing Town Hall’s dynamic fall line-up of performances, special events and new exhibitions, providing global arts for a global community.
With lively rhythmic cycles, gripping melodies and inspirational poetry, this American-based ensemble – with members from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – returns to the roots of the ecstatic form of the 700-year-old music tradition of qawwali.
The musicians, trained in Eastern and Western classical styles, include vocalists, tabla, dholak, harmonium, and violin players, and represent the diversity and plurality of South Asian language, culture and religion. Their mission is to expose qwwali to new audiences, while paying homage to its cultural and lyrical tradition.
You can purchase tickets here.
Qawwali began as Sufi devotional music, but later found a wider audience throughout South Asia. Much of the repertoire was based on inspirational poetry in Urdu or Punjabi with the primary themes being love, devotion and longing for the presence of the Divine.
Returning to historical interfaith connections between South Asian communities, Riyaaz Qawwali aims to reach a wide audience, incorporating poetry from many different South Asian sources and languages to create a universal and ecstatic message of oneness.
This ethos informs their music, as they weave songs and texts from Sikhism and Hinduism into the Muslim material, with the hope that their pan-South-Asian message of peace conveys a universal message of oneness and joy that transcends religious and political boundaries.
Engagement with Riyaaz Qawwali is made possible through the ArtsConnect program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.