Riyaaz Qawwali at the Rothko Chapel

Sonny K. Mehta, Lead Performer
Featured Performance of the Menil Community Arts Festival
Performance co-sponsored by the Asia Society

Based in Austin, Texas, Riyaaz Qawwali formed in 2006 under the leadership of Sonny K. Mehta, a classically trained musician. Qawwali music is characterized by lively rhythmic cycles, gripping melodies, and the addition of improvisational poetry. As a form, this type of Sufi devotional music dates back to eighth century Persia, from where it spread throughout South Asia, particularly in areas with strong Muslim populations. It was originally performed primarily at Sufi shrines, but now has a mainstream following. The music is typically performed by a group of musicians called a “party,” whose members comprise singers, harmonium players, and percussionists. The songs are generally performed in Urdu and Punjabi, and the primary themes are love, devotion, and longing of man for the Divine.

Saturday, April 2, 2011
1:00 PM

Listen to Sufi devotional music.