peteg's blog - noise - music - 2015 09 19 FareedAyazAbuMuhammadQawwalAndBrothers

Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad Qawwal & Brothers at Logan Center for the Arts.

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It was a perfect day for cycling, so I figured I'd ride down to University of Chicago along the Lakeshore Trail for this gig. Had lunch at the Chicago Curry House, which was OK for a buffet, a snooze in the park near 39th Street Beach, and a coffee at the Bridgeport Coffeehouse in Hyde Park. There's more to that place than I realised. I got some takeaway dinner at Siam Thai on 55th and hightailed it over to the Logan Center for the Arts. I was a bit surprised that I'm fit enough to do bike rides of this length without too much discomfort. Well, at least when there are no headwinds.

The place (same as for Ishiguro) was packed for the first act: Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa. The City of Chicago World Music Festival blurb:

Aziz Sahmaoui sets out once more with his magical group, conjuring up sonorous dreams and intoxicating trance states. On this new journey, in which heady refrains are coupled with a divinely undulating groove, the Moroccan poet-singer has achieved a glorious harmony between Maghreb rock, jazz and gnawa music. With the full fire of his spellbinding voice, the cofounder of the Orchestre National de Barb├Ęs and former associate of Joe Zawinul, he confirms his reputation as one of the foremost singer-songwriters of contemporary world fusion music, a reputation that reaches across Europe and beyond to the Middle East and the United States. They will be touring the US in Fall 2015 fresh off their latest, critically-acclaimed release, Mazal.

Yeah, north African dance music, high energy and happy stuff. After intermission the Pakistanis set up, with almost no English, and about a third of the crowd departed, as if they hadn't known what they had signed up for, after a couple of songs. I somewhat concur as the first two-thirds was not especially inspired call-and-response. As they loosened up, and responded from some good natured heckling from those in the crowd who spoke Punjabi and so forth, things got more free-form and electric. They closed with Kangna and another piece of a similar style. A bit muted, but still awesome, and let's not bother with a denouement. There's not a lot to look at, though I'm sure there's a fairly rigid hierarchy at work within the ensemble.

The City of Chicago World Music Festival blurb:

Fareed Ayaz, Abu Muhammad Qawwal and Brothers are masters of Qawwali Sufi music as well as classical genres such as tarana, thumri and khayal. They learned the art of Qawwali from their father, the late Ustad Raziuddin Ahmed of the Delhi Gharana, a music school founded in the 14th century that can be traced back over 700 years to its original founders, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and Hazrat Amir Khusra. The group sings in multiple languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Hindi, Farsi, Arabic, Bengali, and Purbi. Weaving together devotional and secular traditions, Ayaz and company have been bringing Qawwali music to international audiences for over thirty years.

Country of Origin/Based: Pakistan
Genre: Qawalli

I took the Green line back to Lake-at-Morgan, and cycled home from there. I'm told that things get a little sketchy after dark between Hyde Park and the City, and anyway I was tired.