Riyaaz Qawwali in Concert: 'Qawwali e Nau: Amrita Pritam and Parveen Shakir'VIEW EVENT DETAILS
Saturday, November 12, 2022
7 p.m. Concert
Health and Safety
In this concert, masterworks by modern female poets Parveen Shakir and Amrita Pritam will be sung in the radiant tradition of qawwali music for the first time. The nationally celebrated (and Houston-based) group Riyaaz Qawwali will celebrate these major figures of Urdu and Punjabi literature with a performance of original compositions conceptualized by Riyaaz Qawwali's founder and Artistic Director Sonny K. Mehta and commissioned by Asia Society Texas. Reception to follow.
This program is presented as part of Asia Society Texas' Muslim Series.
About Riyaaz Qawwali
Riyaaz Qawwali has been performing the gripping musical style of qawwali for over 16 years. The musicians, all settled in Houston, have roots from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh with various religious backgrounds. Trained in Eastern and Western classical music, they have released two albums and over 30 singles. With heightened attention to quality, their work respectfully moves forward the 700-year-old tradition of qawwali and, since their first release, Riyaaz Qawwali have experimented with singing new poets in the form. Riyaaz Qawwali’s mission is to expose qawwali to new audiences by expanding the reach of the genre to new platforms and people of all faiths. To achieve this, they perform at universities (Princeton, Dartmouth, Harvard), museums (the J. Paul Getty Museum), and festivals to broad audiences. The founding members of Riyaaz Qawwali chose the qawwali genre of music because it houses unique musical elements in its repertoire that are not found in any other form of South Asian music. They have been featured in major outlets including NPR and the Huffington Post. Riyaaz Qawwali founder Sonny K. Mehta leads the ensemble as Artistic Director.
About the Poets
Born in 1919, Amrita Pritam was an Indian novelist, essayist and poet, who wrote in Punjabi and Hindi. A prominent figure in Punjabi literature, she was the recipient of the 1956 Sahitya Akademi Award. Her body of work comprises over 100 books of poetry, fiction, biographies, essays, a collection of Punjabi folk songs and an autobiography that were all translated into several Indian and foreign languages. Pritam is best remembered for her poem Ajj aakhaan Waris Shah nu, an expression of anguish over massacres during the partition of India. As a novelist, her most noted work was Pinjar (The Skeleton, 1950), in which she addressed violence against women, loss of humanity, and ultimate surrender to existential fate.
Parveen Shakir is considered to be one the great Urdu poets. She was born in Karachi, Pakistan on November 24, 1952 and started writing both prose and poetry at an early age, contributing columns to newspapers and articles to English dailies. Shakir published five books of poetry to great acclaim, Khushbu (Fragrance, 1976), followed by Sad Barg (Marsh Marigold, 1980), Khud Kalami (Soliloquy), Inkar (Denial, 1990), and Kaf e Aina (The Mirror's Edge), along with a collection of her newspaper columns entitled Gosha e Chashm (The Sight Corner).
About the Muslim Series
Through a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes Asia Society’s breadth of programming opportunities, this series explores the artistic talents and stories of American Muslims to inspire our community to better understand one another.For information about sponsoring the Muslim Series and other programs like this one, please contact Saleena Jafry, Director of Development, at SJafry@asiasociety.org or 713.496.9939.
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Performing Arts and Culture programs at Asia Society Texas are presented by Syamal and Susmita Poddar. Major support comes from Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, and The Brown Foundation Inc. Generous funding also provided by AARP, The Anchorage Foundation of Texas, The Clayton Fund, The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, and the Wortham Foundation. Additional support provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, United Airlines, and through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional programming and exhibitions to Asia Society Texas.
Performing Arts and Culture Presenting Sponsors
Syamal and Susmita Poddar
Official Airline Sponsor
Performing Arts and Culture Program Sponsors
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.
1370 Southmore Blvd.
Houston, TX, 77004
For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/texas/events/riyaaz-qawwali-concert-qawwali-e-nau-amrita-pritam-and-parveen-shakir 1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX, 77004