I've been maintaining this blog (for better or for worse) over the last eight years. Over these years, its natural evolution has led it into becoming something of a niche place for discussion of music in general and Qawwali in particular. Rather than trying to return my existing blog to its pre-Qawwali eclectic roots, I decided I’d start anew on Tumblr. So if you’re interested in music, Qawwali and subcontinental culture, keep reading/listening/watching/commenting here. For all of the above and everything else under the sun, head on over to my Tumblr page .

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Preamble Of Sorts

Motivation - I daren't say inspiration - is often found in strange and unexpected places. It was after sitting in a hardback wooden chair doing absolutely, utterly nothing for 16 hours at a stretch everyday for three consecutive days that I finally decided that I needed to write something. Every three months or so, one of the house officers at my hospital is ordered to devote a weekend to a rather peculiar duty which , in essence , involves sitting in a 8x8 foot air-conditioned room in a chair for around 14-16 hours each day.

Boredom and backaches make for a rather morose weekend and it's up to the captive doctor to find means of distracting himself. My first day on duty was spent in the company of a pair of policemen who took my dazed and bored expression as an invitation to start recounting with obvious relish stories of the various murders they had investigated, taking special care to flesh out the rather graphic descriptions of the various crime scenes. Needless to say, I wasn't bored.

On the second day I'd gotten wise to the fact that I'd have to stop relying on long-winded coppers to keep me entertained. I had my iPod with me and spent 10 straight hours listening to the late Rasheed Ahmed Fareedi Qawwal (more on him later) while reading David Mitchell's astoundingly brilliant new novel. It was during this reading-listening marathon that I suddenly felt the urge to write. My urge hit a snag at the outset due to the fact that I didn't have anything to write on, namely no paper. This gave me ample time to think over what I needed to write and thus I'm at a peculiar position of having a series of four or five posts pretty near mapped out in my mind.

So it is that on this, the third and sadly, penultimate day of my semi-incarceration that I've brought with me ample supplies of paper so I can finally transmit the thought-up posts to the written page. And what I've decided to write about - maybe devote this whole month to - is something that has rather rapidly gained huge importance in my life, namely Qawwali.

I think it would be safe to say that Qawwali now ranks with Dylan and Wodehouse as an all-consuming obsession of mine. Listening to, gathering and sharing Qawwali recordings has become an important part of my routine and has led to friendships and acquaintance with a number of wonderful and well nigh extraordinary people over the last year and a half. It has also opened doors of a huge treasure trove of poetic, musical and mystical knowledge and appreciation. Over the course of the next few posts, I'll write about the various artists and performances that have left me spellbound and that have made Qawwali such an important piece of my life.

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