I have had the opportunity to listen to music during visits to both Pakistan and India, both popular music in the clubs, and the formal and traditional music heard in villages and state events. It was a fascinating experience for a Westerner raised on 4/4 time and rock and roll as Asian music, for the most part, is not 4/4 or even beat-centric, and much of it is atonal. From the 21-string Koto of Japan, to the gongs and flutes of the gamelan of Indonesia, to the sitar and sarod of India, the sounds of Asia are very different.
Sufi music is a special class of Asian music, found in a variety of countries but most common in Pakistan and India. Known as qawwali , it is the devotional and dancing (swirling) music that uses - among other things - tabla, dholak and clapping to set poetry to music and, as it builds, to induce a trance dance state. Westerners who enjoy world music are likely familiar with the Sufi music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Hasan has taken that devotional music and added the western elements of jazz and rock and western instruments like the electric guitar. The result is fascinating and slips right into the western ear.
Hasan has gathered together a first rate set of musicians, including master flute player Mohammad Ahsan Pau, Hindustani classical singer Sharmistha Chatterjee, often heard in Bollywood films, and jazz fusion drummer Gino Banks, son of India's legedardy jazz pianist and composer, Louiz Banks.
The Mikaal Hasan Band is enormously popular in Pakistan and India (which has a much larger audience base than North America) and thousands of fans in the US and Canada in local South Asian communities. Hasan and the band are kicking off a North American tour to introduce their Sufi fusion jazz rock to westerners and we are proud to have them on Music FridayLive!