• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Reviews

Qawwali group tackles a great range of genres

QAWWALI MEHFIL

By: Asjad Nazir

WHETHER it has been performing for the first minister of Scotland, in Trafalgar Square or at various concerts around the UK, the Chahat. 

Mahmood Ali Qawwali Group have been a revelation, ever since they made a stunning debut for the Newham mayor’s South Asian Heritage month event last summer.  

The Pakistani group added to their impressive list of performances with a unique concert in central London recently. 

 Led by 21-year-old singing sensation Chahat Ali, they delighted an enthralled audience with a concert of contrasting halves. The show opened with much-loved qawwalis like Allah Hoo, Tajdar-eHaram, Tumhe Dillagi, Mere Rashke Qamar, Mast Nazron Se Allah Bachaye and Kali Kali Zulfon Ke. 

 Things took an unexpected turn after the interval when the talented act performed a wide range of songs from other genres, including Bollywood, Punjabi, pop and folk hits. Highlights from that stunning second half included unique renditions of much-loved classics like Chalte Chalte, Mera Dil Yeh Pukare Aaja, Laung Laachi, Kamli Yaar Di Kamli, Rahe Rahe Jaan Waliye and Bol Kaffara. It wasn’t long before the audience in attendance, of all ages was dancing along. They ended the stunning show by going full circle, with a rousing finale of Sufi classic Mast Qalander. 

 What made both halves brilliant is that the clearly talented group put their own spin on each song, including adding new beats. All the musicians, including a phenomenal percussionist, added extra power to the heavyweight lead vocalist. There has rarely been a performance from a qawwali act that has had such a wide array of genres. 

 It was another triumph for UK based promoter Abid Iqbal from Say Arts, who has been bringing international artists in the Sufi, qawwali genre to the UK for over 20 years. He has helped turn them into one of the most exciting new qawwali acts on the live scene. 

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