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Vieux Farka Toure

Shahe Mardan - SOLD OUT

Sufi Qawwali singers - centuries old mystical poetry sung to pounding rhythms: devotional music that will make you want to get up and dance

 £10/£5 (under 23/NUS)

Wednesday 22nd March, 7.30pm

The HUBS (Sheffield Hallam Student's Union)

Click below to see Shahe Mardan commemorate the 1st year Memorial of Moulana Sheikh Nazim at St Ann's Rd Dargah London

Shahe Mardan is a group of musicians based in Sheffield and Bradford who play Qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music that stretches back over 700 years in South Asia. Lead singer and harmonium player, Mohamed Zubair, played with the world-renowned Qawwali musician, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

The group’s reputation is growing rapidly. They recently played to over 2,000 people in London and will be touring Europe later this year. Come hear them play their mind-calming music – and also talk about its history and modern influences. Even if you’ve heard them before, you will come away with a greater understanding of what you’ve experienced.


Sufism focuses on spiritual aspects of Islam. Its Qawwali music aims to funnel energy from the universe to the audience, to help us find peace and serenity and is the central communal ritual of Sufis all over India and Pakistan.


Jameela Siddiqi wrote in Songlines #124: "Qawwali was invented by the mystic, poet and musician Amir Khusrau in Delhi in the 13th Century. The music consists of centuries old mystical poetry sung to pounding rhythms enhanced by a clapping chorus. While the songs that form the core of the qawwali repertoire date from the time of Khusrau and are possibly sung the same as they were 700 years ago, a good qawwali recital also demands endless improvisation, poetic as well as musical. Although a light-classical genre, qawwali rests almost entirely on classical ragas (melodic scale serving as a framework for improvisation) but whereas pure classical performers have to adhere faithfully to a single raga and reveal all its characteristics in carefully graduated stages, a qawwal is at liberty to touch upon a variety of ragas as long as they are joined seamlessly."


In the Indian sub-continent, people commonly go into trances during qawwali recitals. Band member Camran Munir told Now Then magazine, "In the West, we are much more subdued and up-tight... it's really difficult to break free from our minds in order to experience something more vast". Even so, and even if we don't understand the language or poetry, Qawwali music will often make us "want to get up and dance".

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