Riyaaz Qawwali Performs Kashti
Asia Society Texas Center welcomes these longtime favorites to our stage to celebrate the release of their debut CD Kashti. Meaning boat or ship in Urdu and Hindi, Kashti draws upon the expansive embrace of qawwali to transcend religious, spiritual, and linguistic boundaries. The CD weaves poetry from diverse cultures to illumine the “oneness” residing at the heart of faith traditions around the world. Kashti is a beautiful reflection of Riyaaz Qawwali’s belief that music is a potent medium for connection, transcendence, and joy.
About Riyaaz Qawwali
Inspired by the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997) and having studied the Hindustani Shastriya Sangeet classical vocal tradition, Sonny Mehta formed Riyaaz Qawwali in 2006. Mehta and his fellow musicians build on the intensity of complex rhythmic cycles played on double-headed dholak drums and the clapping of hands. They sing improvised passages from ancient spiritual poetry of love, devotion, and longing for the divine that are closely accompanied by violin, harmonium, and tabla.
Qawwali is an Islamic song form linked to the mystical Sufi devotional tradition dating back to 13th century North India and Pakistan. In the West during the 1980s and 90s, it gained popularity on a large scale through recordings and performances by renowned Pakistani qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Now a new generation of qawwals, both here and abroad, is breathing new life and passion into music that seeks to embrace love, lover, and beloved.
Supported by The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston Arts Alliance, City of Houston, The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, Bank of America, and United Airlines – Official Airline of Asia Society Texas Center.