Since earliest times music and dance have played a major role in uniting people through ritual, often seeking union with the divine through trance or ecstasy. This festival seeks to bring back some spiritual nourishment to our lives; to focus our physical and mental selves. While the music and rituals associated with each genre are very different from each other, they share a common thread in bringing people together in search of enlightenment. These are just a few of the many forms that music takes to enrich our lives.
Riyaaz Qawwali performs the ecstatic improvisational Sufi vocal tradition made famous in the West by the late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, enthralling listeners with its lively rhythms, joyous melodies and inspirational poetry. In addition to paying homage to traditional qawwali that has been in existence for over 700 years, the ensemble also weaves various songs and poetry of South Asia into theqawwali framework, using qawwali as a universal message of oneness that transcends religious boundaries. Most qawwali troupes are composed of Muslim family members, but Riyaaz Qawwali, which is based in Texas, is composed of musicians who represent the diversity of South and Central Asia; they are of Indian, Pakistani, Afghani, and Bangladeshi descent, and come from various spiritual backgrounds, including Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism.
“Sufi trance masters” – Village Voice