The Fanna-Fi-Allah tour of the UK and Europe took place in Oct-November 2018, with performances at prestigious venues including the Union Chapel in London and the Theatre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, plus shows in Brussels, Copenhagen, Prague, Berlin, Barcelona & Heyres. It finished up with epic reviews all around!
Tahir Qawwal reflects on the tour:
”Playing in London & Paris were certainly highlights for us. It was very special to see these incredible old venues lit up by the music of qawwali, with amazing acoustics, people dancing & money being thrown….. it was a beautiful scene!”.
Tahir shares - “ There is this whole other dimension of appreciation for arts and culture throughout Europe that is not present in other western countries. So we felt this sincere interest in audiences in Europe to learn about this music tradition that has a long, even ancient, history of artistic development. People are genuinely interested in experiencing a unique cultural perspective, not just going to a concert for the ‘entertainment’.”
“I thought it was cool that in the European shows there was half/half Desis to Europeans in the audience, which we see at some of our shows in America, but this was quite consistent at every show in Europe. So it was inspiring for the Desis (Pakistani & Indians living abroad) to see Europeans being so moved by the music of their culture, and it was special for the Europeans to see the Desis expressing a lot of emotion & sentiment to the qawwali music & poetry, something they’ve grown up with and feel deeply connected to. While there is a lot of world music that is quite ‘lively’, there is sometimes the idea that music from the subcontinent of India/Pakistan is more meditative, that you have to sit quietly ……. so its different for people to experience the full aliveness of qawwali where people are dancing, crying, and really letting go.”
Tahir Qawwal describes his experience of stepping into the offices of Buda Musique in Paris, the company who published Fanna-Fi-Allah’s newest album called Muraqaba.
”As I stepped out of the elevators onto the 3rd floor department of this large world company, I was greeted by the staff - publishers, producers, graphic artists - standing and clapping in congratulations this revival of bringing qawwali music back to Paris after a long time. It was such a special feeling to have the music appreciated like this. During the time of Nusrat, world music was at its high time in Europe. But with travel having become more difficult for musicians from Pakistan & India, recordings and performances of qawwali music has been more sparse. Qawwali music is also almost exclusively presented within Pakistani communities and not often to wider audiences in more famous venues. So what a blessing it has been for Fanna-Fi-Allah to be part of this rejuvenation of qawwali music throughout the world!”