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Mystic Music of Pakistan: Abdullah Muhammad Manzoor Niazi


Mystic Music of Pakistan: Abdullah Muhammad Manzoor Niazi

Date: Sunday, May 15, 7 pm
Price: $50 regular, $45 Friends, $37.50 seniors and students
Includes same-day Museum admission

Journey through a captivating performance of Qawwali music by Abdullah Muhammad Manzoor Niazi. Popular in India and Pakistan, Qawwali is a musical genre which expresses Sufi devotion. Originating in 14th century India, Qawwali songs fall into two groups, Hamd or Manqabat, both devotional songs dedicated to Allah and ghazal which are secular songs celebrating wine or love. A traditional Qawwali ensemble consists of nine men – two lead singers who play the harmonium, five chorus singers who beat time with their hands, a tablâs player, and a dholak drummer.

A Harmonic Conversation


With each song lasting about 15 minutes, they usually follow a similar format in which the main melody is generated on harmoniums, usually with improvised variations on this theme. Then comes an introduction called “âlâp,” where the singers intone different long notes. The lead singer then sings the lines of poems with improvised melodies, accompanied only by the harmonium leading up to the heart of the song. The tablâs, dholak, and choir singers then join in, weaving an intricate tapestry of rhythm and harmonies. The song continues to rise in tempo and pathos as each singer tries to outdo the other through musical dialogue and vocal arabesques, building to an abrupt ending.



Abdullah Muhammad Manzoor Niazi, also referred to as Abdullah Niazi Qawwal, belongs to the Qawwal Bachchon Ka Gharana of Delhi. The eldest son of Manzoor Niazi Qawwal, he learned Qawwali from his late father and late uncle, Bahauddin Qawwal. Niazi was one of the principal Qawwals in Manzoor Niazi Qawwal's group. In 2015, he branched out and formed his own group with his sons supporting him. His performance style is steeped in Amir Khusro's Kalaam (verses) and is a based on Indian classical music. Niazi performs various genres of qawwali music such as Thumri, Khayal, Tarana, Sufism, and Classical and has performed all over the world, including South Africa, the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.

This performance features:


- Abdullah Muhammad Manzoor Niazi (Song & Harmonium)
- Waqas Ahmed
- Fahad Ahmed
- Saad Ahmed
- Burhan Ahmed
- Irshad Muhammad
- Muhammad Hammad
- Waqar




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