Ancient traditions: Fanna-Fi-Allah brings Qawwali music to The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley |

Ancient traditions: Fanna-Fi-Allah brings Qawwali music to The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley

Fanna-Fi-Allah is a cultural phenomena, traveling peacefully around the world to promote a message of cultural understanding, divine connection, and unity through this traditional music.
Submitted photo to Prospector


WHO: The Center for the Arts presents

WHAT: Fanna-Fi-Allah Sufi Qawwali Party

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: $27 members, $30 general public. Tickets at: The Center for the Arts Box Office or by calling 530-274-8384 ext 14, BriarPatch Food Coop - 530-272-5333, or online at


With powerful devotion, ecstatic rhythms of tabla and group clapping, Qawwali is a one thousand year old tradition from the mystic Islamic cultures of South Asia, that ceremonially unites people of diverse backgrounds through devotional music. Qawwali music expresses what we feel, what we cannot put into words.

Fanna-Fi-Allah began their journey into Qawwali music in Ajmer, India in 2000. Over the last 15 years members of the group have immersed themselves in the teachings of Qawwali greats and Sufi masters in Pakistan, learning firsthand about its traditions and practices.

They have become cultural ambassadors in the West, sharing their love of Qawwali and helping people to understand Islam and Sufism. In 2013 and 2014 the group was funded by the U.S. Consulate of Islamabad to offer “Peace Tours” throughout Pakistan.

The group’s leaders, Tahir Faridi Qawwal and Aminah Chishti, have been travelling to India and Pakistan since they were teenagers. Qawwal first arrived in Pakistan 15 years ago, one of the first Westerners to venture into the heart of Pakistan to explore the culture of Qawwali.

“Fresh from winter tours in Asia, we’re really excited for our 2018 US Visit,” Qawwal, the lead singer, said. “We will be in all parts of the country. I am looking forward to engaging with our fans and friends.”

Chishti, the group’s female tabla player, has pushed the boundaries for women in Pakistan by performing at the shrines of Pakistan and for India’s greatest Sufi saints, where women haven’t traditionally been allowed to play. She was taught and is mentored by Ustad Dildar Hussain, the tabla player for Qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

“I have never met a human so dedicated and so passionate to learn the tabla and Qawwali; Aminah has been an inspiration to us all,” said Hussain. “We do not see Aminah as woman or man, we see her as a Qawwal, musician, and devotee.”

Through the direct guidance of their masters, the group has performed more than 1,500 concerts around the world, enthralling audiences with their inspiring musical precision and dynamic, passionate style.

Fanna-Fi-Allah is a cultural phenomena, traveling peacefully around the globe to promote a message of divine connection, cultural understanding and unity through this traditional music.

Fanna-Fi-Allah is one of the most popular traditional Qawwali ensembles of the present era. They have published ten albums to date, and have a feature documentary film called “Music of the Mystics.”

The tradition is the essence of what Sufi poet Rumi writes about, translated through music. As Rumi writes, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”

Source: The Center for The Arts

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