Azhar Hussain
Event 7
Thursday 19th October, 8:00pm 
Little Missenden Village Hall

Sufi devotional music from Pakistan

This is an archived event from the 2017 Programme.

Azhar Hussain Qawwali Group




Qawwali (the dicta of the prophets and praises of God) is devotional music with a 700 year heritage, part of the Sufi tradition of mystical Islam, celebrated worldwide through artists such as the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Whilst based in Pakistan, it was Birmingham-based Oriental Star Agencies that promoted him and his music to fame at WOMAD and elsewhere, and the legacy of this music within the UK is often under-appreciated. So it’s with great pleasure that we present The Azhar Hussain Qawwali Group, based in Birmingham.

Music has been one of the richest sources for devotional mysticism throughout history. Qawwali achieves its transcendent effects by using varied repetition to sing through its sacred poetry, leading performers and listeners into a trance-like feeling of ecstasy, ultimately to a state of spiritual enlightenment. For this event, the Group of seven will perform from the spiritual tradition - songs of love, devotion and longing - together with the joyous music used in celebrations - from weddings to festivals.

Come and join the party! You'll be able to enjoy a drink from our licensed bar...

Tonight's performance will be introduced by Mukhtar Dar, and will also feature a short reading by Saqib Deshmukh, taken from his latest novel - part of a trilogy set in High Wycombe.


For more about the legendary Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, go to the BBC Asian Network Website

For 11 little known facts about Nusrat 'King of Kings', read this BBC News Story

For more on the dynastic development of Qawwali in Pakistan, read this BBC News story

A group of qawwali musicians (a party) typically consists of seven to nine men, including a lead singer, one or two side singers, one or two harmoniums and percussion. They sit cross-legged on the ground in two rows. Such a group performance - in which the audience is also seen as an important member in its own right - is very different from classical Asian music, which tends to be centred on a solo performer.

The Azhar Hussain Qawwali Group is based in Birmingham. Azhar drew his inspiration and learning from the rich heritage of the music, studying under Ustad Ansar Khalid, who in turn was a student of the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the world-renowned master of Qawwali singing.

Watch Azhar Hussain during a recent live performance