Soulful Sundays: Rizwan & Muazzam
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Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali is made up of two lead singers (Rizwan and Muazzam - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's nephews), with five secondary singers. They perform in the traditional Qawwali style sitting on the ground rather than on seats which they believe brings them closer to God. Last year, the intensity of their songs and stage performance led one commentator, only half-jokingly, to call them The Qawwali Clash.
The original Qawwali repertoire of Farsi (Persian), Punjabi, and Braj Bhasha (an old form of Hindi) has given way in recent times to Urdu and Arabic. Romantic love is used as a metaphor for spiritual adoration and mystical enlightenment, drawing upon a rich vein of poetic imagery.
These nephews of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, then, come from a direct family line of Qawwali vocal music that spans over five centuries. Their inventive reinterpretations of spiritual love songs based upon classical Islamic and Sufi texts was first showcased in the UK in July 1998, at the WOMAD Festival in Reading, to much critical acclaim, and has since journeyed to the far corners of the globe. They were a part of the famous episodes of Coke studio Pakistan and their episode was among the most acclaimed by music lovers all over the world.
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