Farid Ayaz Qawwal & Brothers
, live at Liberty Hall, Dublin
In many ways, Qawalli
music has it all: committed and intense vocals, call and response chorus and verses, syncopated rhythms, and great group dynamics. On top of the devotional Sufi content and strong testamental power, it still retains the music-for-converting-people aspect of the Persian marketplace. Songs of poets, prophets and Islam, sung with suasion and passionate spirituality, sung with physical-performative rhetoric and virtuosity. Eight mustachioed musicians in the party; an amazingly dynamic song structure and ordering and dynamic control, hands reaching out like conduits. Fine voices with great sustain. The spinal tingle of the first group note and devotion to Allah. A group can say so much more than a single singer… spirituality begins in numbers.
Musically, it’s where Arabic vigour and lilt meets Indian precision and rhythm. It’s so much more passionate and lively than your average white Christian band testifying to ambiguity in a church; it’s people-to-people spirit, just as at home on streets as concert halls. Even if the evening didn’t quite match the expected pyrotechnics of the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, there were moments I was lifted inside.
Bush is 'inspired'
Of all the weird, hokey and downright idiotic things to say after a visit to Baghdad (and his grinning glee to get the words out right), President Bush says he was inspired to visit the capital of a free and democratic Iraq, and impressed with what he saw. Inspired by what? Daily carnage and sectarian violence? Downright chaos and bloodshed? Beheadings? What inspiration! To be inspired by that... means there is something dire and wrong not only with his perception and message-politics (and the yawning reality-chasm), but that in all likelihood Bush seriously likes all that killing and violence.
OK now, there's an election coming up and all that implies for Republican America, but imagine by analogy if Putin went on a little junket to Chechnya and says he came back 'inspired'. Inspired by his executed vision of controlled democracy. The Russian people of course would have the sanity not to believe the propaganda, not a word of it. How long can the politics of denial persist, or is this the shark-jumping turnaround the media, the voting public of America and the rest of the world need?