Mystical ecstasy at Luton theatre

Qawwali music is a centuries-old form of Sufi devotional music

Qawwali music is a centuries-old form of Sufi devotional music

Hypnotic and ecstatic music based on Islamic mysticism comes to Luton next week.

Torchbearers of the 600-year-old Qawwali tradition, the Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali Group from Pakistan will bring their interpretation of classic Sufi texts to Luton Library Theatre on Wednesday March 22.

The group are touring to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of legendary Pakistani Qawwali singer Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Rizwan and Muazzam are Nusrat’s nephews and were trained by Nusrat himself in the Qawwali tradition.

The Rizwan-Muazzam UK tour seeks to remember and pay tribute to Nusrat as part of the 70th anniversary of the formation of Pakistan and the Independence of India. The Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali Group will be performing Nusrat’s own compositions, many of which have not been heard before by UK audiences, along with traditional and popular Qawwali songs.

Performing songs that use hypnotic vocal repetition to induce a state of ecstasy, the brothers’ soaring voices are backed by a gharana, an ensemble of harmonium and tabla accompanied by rhythmic handclaps.

The ten-piece band performs in traditional style - sitting on the ground rather than on seats - which they believe brings them closer to God.

Drawing upon a rich vein of Islamic and Sufi poetry, Qawwali music is a centuries-old form of Sufi devotional music from the Indian subcontinent in which romantic love is a metaphor for spiritual adoration and mystical enlightenment.

Call 01582 878100 to book or for more information.