The Asian Arts Agency’s short introduction to Qawwali
Ahead of welcoming Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali to St George’s on Thursday 28 March, brought to you by our friends at the Asian Arts Agency, we’re taking a closer look at the ancient and beautiful tradition of Qawwali music.
What is Qawwali?
A fountain of inspiration for generations, Qawwali is more than music. Traditionally sung within a Sufi shrine, it explores themes of love, devotion and feelings of separation from the beloved. Sometimes there is ambivalence towards whether the beloved is of human or divine nature. It is said that Qawwali has to be experienced to be believed. Expect to be taken on a musical journey through the hypnotic rhythm and entrancing vocals.
Where is Qawwali sung now?
The centuries old tradition of Qawwali is now shared beyond Sufi shrines. Qawwali has in recent years been performed on prominent festival stages like WOMAD. RIZWAN-MUAZZAM performed Qawwali at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. The intensity and poetic nature of the art form makes Qawwali a favourite choice in the Bollywood industry, the world’s largest film industry.
Watch the trailer for the Rizwan-Muazzam 2019 tour:
Who are Rizwan-Muazzam?
A Qawwali singer is known as a Qawwal. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is highly revered as the King of Qawwali. He is widely considered to be the most important Qawwal in history. A key person who put Qawwali on the World Music map, Nusrat fateh Ali Khan had many honorary titles bestowed upon him and is an important icon worldwide.RIZWAN-MUAZZAM, being the nephews of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, are carrying forward the ancestral legacy of Qawwali.