Nevada County favorites Fanna-Fi-Allah return to the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City for an evening of Qawwali music as part of Paul Emery’s Nevada City LIVE! concert series on Friday, October 13.
In this time of religious extremism, there are still those who are carrying the flame of religious tolerance, devotion and mysticism- and the Sufi’s are some of the most ancient. Fanna-Fi-Allah carries the tradition and teachings of the Sufi’s in their music, the devotionally driven and passionate music of Qawwali. Through many years of study and practice under the guidance of Qawwali masters of India and Pakistan, their expression of Qawwali music has become an authentic representation and continuation of this ancient tradition of Sufi music.
Fanna-Fi-Allah gives audiences a glimpse inside this rich and vibrant Sufi culture. The groups founding members have spent over 20 years learning this classical art-form. During their 15 years of world-wide touring they have played at many major international festivals in the USA, Pakistan, Europe, Indonesia, India, Egypt, and others. With ten albums Fanna-Fi-Allah have given us an even greater glimpse into this Sufi world of Pakistan with the production of their new documentary: Music of the Mystics.
Sufism is alive and well in India and Pakistan. Sung with a powerful and soaring melodious chorus and accompanied by entrancing energetic rhythms of tabla and group clapping, the Beloved is celebrated with ecstatic devotion.
Tahir Hussain Faridi Qawwal the group leader & manager, studies under vocal masters Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Pashupatinath Mishra, Ustad Sher Ali Khan, and Ustad Muazzam Ali Khan Qawwal. He has honed his harmonium skills with Rahat Ali, the first student of Ustad Faruk Fateh Ali Khan. When not on tour, Tahir teaches vocal music and harmonium within the traditional raaga system. He also sings Thumri, Khayal, Kafi & Heer.
Aminah Chishti Qawwal has been a leading force in the art of traditional Qawwali tabla. A student of the great Ustad Dildar Hussain Khan, Aminah was formally initiated by her teacher in 2003. She has changed the boundaries of women in Pakistan by performing at the shrines of Pakistan’s greatest Sufi saints.
Laali Qalandar has been an integral part of Fannah-fi-Allah Sufi Qawwali Party since 2001. He is a passionate and talented vocalist who has travelled several times with the group to Pakistan and India, as well as studying alongside Tahir with the current Qawwali masters.
Salim Chishti is well known for his purity of pitch & gamak taans. As well as studying with the Qawwali greats, he has also honed his classical vocal skills through years of study with the famous drupad singers – The Gundecha Brothers.
Ali Shan has a Qawwali clap & chorus that can travel from one village to another. He also studies the rabab with Ustad Humayoun Sakhi of Afghanistan.
Jahangir Baba has also been in the ensemble for more than 15 years and is deeply involved in the genres of Bhajan & Ghazal.
Abrar Hussain hailing from Lahore Pakistan is the oldest son of the living legend Ustad Dildar Hussain. His specialty is adding powerful giras to the music, enriching the poetic context of each kalam. He leads his own Qawwali ensemble in Pakistan called Ustad Dildar Hussain & Abrar Hussain.
Click here to learn more about Fanna-Fi-Allah
Content and photos submitted by Peter Wilson