Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ancient Qawwali musical traditions to be presented in Japan

The Japan Times Online - Celebrating civilizations: "Qawwali originated in ancient Persia but achieved its current form on the Indian subcontinent more than 700 years ago. Featuring sung recitations of Sufi poems written in Urdu and Punjabi, a lead singer is usually accompanied by a large ensemble that includes a chorus, harmonium and tabla players. A typical qawwali song often lasts more than 30 minutes, ranging from languid episodes of delicate call and response to feverishly quick free-for-alls in which the entire ensemble combines in praise of divine love and wisdom, bringing audiences to such a fevered pitch of excitement that the songs might be best described as the Islamic equivalent of foot-stomping African-American spirituals."