Saints & Singers in Ruhrtriennale

An honour for Pakistan, its centuries long Sufi traditions and Sufi music. On Friday 27th of August in Bochum, Pakistani artists Sain Zahoor, Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali-Group, Pappu Sain have opened the concert series “Century of Song” at Ruhrtriennale, the biggest cultural festival of Europe, with a 3 hour concert. Pak-German Council for Culture and Democracy is proud to be cooperation partner of Ruhrtriennale for this unique and highly spiritual opening concert.

Complete audio coverage of the concert is provided by WDR3, to listen and download the concert please click here >>>


With Sain ZahoorRizwan-Muazzam Qawwali-GroupPappu Sain: A “Century of Song” concert

Pakistan is often portrayed in today’s media as “the most dangerous country in the world”. Yet this state, which unwillingly became a plaything of the great powers in the war against terror, has another face which is less well-known in the West: there is nowhere else in the Islamic world where peaceful, tolerant and joyful Sufism is so strongly the popular religion. The Sufi saints who emigrated to the land on the Indus from the 11th century onwards preached a message which was markedly different from the version of Islam spread by fire and the sword. To this day Pakistan is dotted with sacred shrines to which the population make pilgrimages seeking blessings and solutions to their everyday problems.

With his ecstatic voice, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was the first musician to make Qawwali songs known to an international audience. After his death his nephews Rizwan and Muazzam Ali Khan rose to prominence and were enthusiastically received at all the great world music festivals. They hit the stage for the first time in Germany at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum. Their appearance revived the enthusiasm which characterized Nusrat Fateh Ali’s concerts.

The two other artists which performed on the same evening are also exceptional talents: Sain Zahoor, a wandering bard from Baluchistan, is a contemporary embodiment of the medieval troubadours. He has an incomparable mastery of the art of keeping the listener’s rapt attention with just his voice and his ektara – a single-stringed instrument made from a hollowed-out pumpkin covered with goatskin.


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