Entertainment Music 04 Jul 2016 Zia Ul Haq brings Qa ...

Zia Ul Haq brings Qawwali home

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | POOJA NAIR
Published Jul 4, 2016, 12:14 am IST
Updated Jul 4, 2016, 12:14 am IST
Zia Ul Haq  tries to use the medium of music to combine tradition and modernity
 Zia Ul Haq tries to use the medium of music to combine tradition and modernity

‘Ajmer khwaaja yahh waliyullah….’, these words might be strange for a common Malayali music buff, but for Zia Ul Haq, a native of Ernakulam, they are his life and soul. Zia Ul Haq dared to present before music buffs in Kerala the essence of Qawwali music, a genre of Sufi devotional music famous in South Asia, by spearheading the first Qawwali band in the State named ‘Hazrath’.  

Zia, who is in a magnificent attempt to popularise the Northern music to the Southern buffs out here, has already set his foot affirm by performing the Qawwali at different podiums before the Malayali audience in and around the globe. This young singer, who has excelled in Hindustani music, is trying to use the medium of music to combine both tradition and modernity in music with rare honesty and simplicity.

“It was with the performance at the National Games held in Kerala my band became popular in the state. After that, there was no looking back,” recalls Zia. “Many times, our performance was preferred over common orchestra events by true lovers of melodies, classical and Hindustani music,” he added.  

Since childhood, music was everywhere around Zia, who belongs to a family of artists, musicians and poets. After schooling, he headed to Madhya Pradesh to learn Hindustani music in Sangeet Sagar Mandir. His passion for Qawwali started when Zia joined Sufi Inayath Khan Music Academy in Delhi.

Talking about the Qawwali background, Zia says, “Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia and is part of a musical tradition that stretches back to more than 700 years. Today’s audience is very much aware of music. They know about ragas and understand compositions and their structures. In fact, we believe that they are more informed than the audience of the past,” he opined.

‘Hazrath’ is a band of 11 musicians in which five members do orchestra. They have three dedicated vocalists and three chorus singers. Zia and crew have travelled to 32 countries with their shows and everywhere, they were wholeheartedly accepted, regardless of language and culture.

Zia has realised that performance is not mere rendition, but communication of the essence of the art form too. “Audience mostly understands the essence of the composition, but sometimes we make it a point to supplement our performances with explanations that convey its meaning,” he said. The band renders its own Qawwali compositions. “I enjoy composing Qawwali,” says Zia. Now, the band is busy with the release of some splendid compositions for the Eid season and its making is going on in a Kochi-studio.

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