Tag Archives: Sufi

Artist Profiles: Abida Parveen

Abida Parveen
Abida Parveen
Abida Parveen, the queen of Sufi mystic singing spreads the message of love and induces a state of spiritual ecstasy with her Sufi mystic songs. An artist who has been recognized as a rue force in the realm of Sufi music, she proclaims her faith with her entire body. She is considered one of the most prominent contemporary exponents of the great ghazal and kafi musical styles from the Indian subcontinent. Rooted in the intense encounter between sensitivity and spirituality that is Sufism. She never ceases to sing her fiery love for the Divine.

The earliest memories of her childhood are all linked to her passion for music and her desire to sing. Born in 1954 in Larkana, Sindh into a family tat maintains close associations with the shrines of Sufi saints. She was imparted her initial training in the art of music from her father, Ustad Ghulam Haider, and later from Ustad Salamat Ali Khan of Sham Chorasia gharana. Her father, whom she refers to as reverently as Baba Sain, was also a singer and had his own small music school where he taught only male pupils. He was devoted to the Sufi poets and that is from where Abida gets her devotional inspiration. For her the Sufi poets of Sindh and Punjab are the ones who speak of the inner truths of the self and in their poetry, where she finds solace and peace. As she was growing up, Abida attended her father’s music school and that was where her foundation in music was laid.

Hyderabad Radio first introduced her in 1977. She is today the most popular and well-known folk and ghazal singer of Pakistan who breathed a new life into ghazal and semi-classical music. She holds an audience of thousands spellbound. Her appearance is a complete reverse of many other stage performers. She begins each number as solemnly as the previous one as the evening progresses, sinking deeper and deeper into her kafi’s and Sufiana kalam of the mystic poets. She is a woman of very few words and asks to be judged only by her music. This folk phenomenon, called Abida Parveen, is deeply religious and profoundly humble.

Abida Parveen is the finest singer of ghazal, geet and sindhi, seraiki and punjabi kafees. ‘While khayal and thumri became a part of her childhood training, her effective rendering of folk and traditional music with great sophistication and without losing the basic characteristics of the regional music of sindh has made her a versatile singer.’

Her command of kafi of sufi poets such as Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Hazrat Lal Shabaz Qalandar, Hazrat Sacchal Sarmast from sindh, and Hazrat Baba Bulhe Shah, Hazrat Khawja Farid Ganje Shakar, Hazrat Sultan Bahu, Hazrat Mian Muhammad Buksh, Hazrat Ghulam Farid, Hazrat Pir Mehr Ali Shah and Hazrat Shah Hussain from pujab embellishes her versatility. Apart from sufis of Pakistan, Parveen also sings mystic poetry of the Asian Indian subcontinent, which include sufis such as Hazra Amir Khusrau, Hazrat Nizamudin Auliya, Hazrat Kutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti and Hazrat Moulana Jalaluddin Roomi from Turkey.

Professor G.M. Mekhri of Sind University has rightly said that, ‘Abida Parveen is the spiritual daughter of Great Sufi Saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. She is the truly blessed voice.’ Abida has recorded all the poetry of Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, an 18th century poet and composer who blended folk music and classical raga in a style known as kafi from his book called ‘Shah jo Risalo’ according to their respective ‘Raags’ which were also laid down by him.

She has performed almost in all parts of the world and performed before international audiences and placed the name of the country high up I the field of music. Abida Parveen performed in Chicago in 1988. Her fist performance was based on classical and semi-classical art, the second was comprised of ghazals of prominent poets and the third rested on folk singing and different varieties of sindhi music. Her performance was recorded by the renowned organization Hazrat Amir Khusrau Society of Art and Culture, which issued a long play recording of her renderings.


Pakistani Sufi Songs (Inedit Music, 1995)

Devotional Journey (Shalimar Records, 1997)

Songs of the Mystics (Navras Records, 2000)

Raqs-E-Bismil (Music Today, 2000)

Ho Jamalo (Music Today, 2000)

Jahan E Khusrau (Navras Records, 2001)

Tere Ishq Nachaya (Music Today, 2001)

Visal – The Meeting Mystic Poets from the Hind (World Village, 2002)

Hazrat Shah Hussain (Tim, 2002)

Sings Amir Khusrau (Tim, 2002)

Baba Bulleh Shah (Oreade Music, 2003)

Mere Dil Se (Tim, 2003)

Kabir (Tim, 2005)

Main Janu Mera Khuda Jane (Music Today, 2005)

‘Ishq: l’Amour Absolu – Supreme Love (Accords-Croises, 2005)

Passage to India:Traditional (Navras Records, 2006)

Euphoric Abida Remixes (Tim, 2006)

Live in Concert: Svar Utsav, Vol. 1 (Music Today, 2006)

Live in Concert: Svar Utsav, Vol. 2 (Music Today, 2006)

Euphoric (Tim, 2006)

Aashna (Tim, 2006)

Ghalib (2008)

Abida Ghazal Ka Safar Vol. II (Times Music)

Jeway Saiyaan (2008)

The Very Best of Abida (2009)

Zikr – Soul of Sufism, Vol. 1 (2009)

Thumri and Ghazal (2009)

Rukh-E-Murshid (2009)

Roohani Mehfil (Vol.2) (2010)

Qalander Asra Hai (2011)

The Sufi Queen (Vol.1) (2011)

30 Greatest Hits Abida Parveen And Noor Jehan (2011)

Treasures (Vol.1) (2011)

Eternal Abida (2012)

Lal De Rang Vich Rangi Aan (2012)

Sufiana safar (2012)

Tera Lal Sakhi Mera Lal Sakhi (2012)

Shaane-e-Ali (2012)

Ru-e-Ali (2013)

Zikr – Soul of Sufism (Vol. 2) (2014)

Tasawwuf (2014)


Timeless Cross-cultural Qawwals

Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood and the Rajasthan Express – Junun (Nonesuch, 2015)

Junun is a spectacular two-disc album that brings together Indian musical traditions, Sufi and Jewish spirituality and western music elements. Israeli musician and composer Shye Ben Tzur collaborated with Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood (England), and the Rajasthan Express, a group of Indian musicians that provide the vibrant brass band and percussion sections as well as mesmerizing Qawwali vocals.

The album was recorded in early 2015 in an improvised studio inside the 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, India. Shye Ben Tzur composed the music and used. The lyrics include traditional Sufi poems and original verses by Shye Ben Tzur. The vocals are in Urdu and Hebrew.

American independent filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson made a film also titled Junun that documents the recording sessions as well as the close friendship of artistic collaboration. The impressionistic film debuted at the New York Film Festival in October 2015.

Shye Ben Tzur lives in India and Israel. He composes qawwalis in Hebrew, Urdu, and Hindi. A concert by Indian maestros Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasia that Ben Tzur attended as a young man was life-changing. “It touched my heart so deeply,” he says. “It was at the time the deepest musical experience I had gone through. It moved me so that I could do nothing but go find out what it is. I feel I’m still in that spot. I don’t think I have achieved it. Indian music is so vast and so deep and the more I learn different things about it, I realize how ignorant I was. It just doesn’t stop.”

The Junun lineup includes Shye Ben Tzur on vocals, guitar, flute; Jonny Greenwood on guitar, bass, drum machine, computers, ondes martenot and keyboard; Aamir Bhiyani on lead trumpet; Hazmat on tuba; Ajaj Damami on trombone; Sabir Damami on tuba; Soheb Bhiyani on trumpet; Bhanwaru Khan on tuba, Zaki Ali Qawwal on Qawwali vocals; Zakir Ali Qawwal on Qawwali vocals, harmonium; Gufran Ali and Shazib Ali on Qawwali chorus; Ehtisham Khan Ajmeri on Qawwali chorus, dholak (a small double-ended barrel-shaped drum); Chugge Khan on khartal (a type of castanet made of rectangular wooden blocks), bhapang (a one-stringed talking drum), manjira (tiny cymbals); Nihal Khan on dholak; Nathu Lal Solanki and Narsi Lal Solanki on nagara (kettle drum); Asin Khan on sarangi and vocals; Dara Khan on kamaicha (vertically held string instrument); Afshana Khan on vocals; and Razia Sultan on vocals.

Junun is an impressive world music recording featuring splendid timelessly crafted Qawwal devotional songs enriched by a lavish and imaginative production.

Buy Junun


Riyaaz Qawwali to Bring the Sufi Music of Pakistan & India to New York City

Riyaaz Qawwali
Riyaaz Qawwali

Riyaaz Qawwali is set to perform on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Zankel Hall in New York City. Riyaaz 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 celebrating the traditional qawwali that has been in existence for over 700 years, the ensemble also weaves various songs and poetry of South Asia into the qawwali 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. The ensemble last appeared in New York at globalFEST 2015 and has an album titled Kashti.

Time: 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue
Downtown Brooklyn