Week 12: Literature and Arts as Critique and Resistance; Sufi Rock

For this week of class, I decided to compose a second musical piece to reflect the Sufi rock we had listened to in the class. In his piece on Sufi rock, Professor Asani notes that Sufi rock challenges the political and religious authority’s hegemony against the West (Asani 10). However, he adds that the Sufi rock often includes elements of western music, in addition to Muslim and local heritage, and Sufi imagery and poetry (Asani 3, 10). In class, we particularly discussed how John Lennon, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Bulleh Shah, who, respectively, foster notions of peace, spirituality, and looking beyond the narrow interpretations of Islam in their artistic mediums, inspired Salman Ahmad, one of the key founders of Sufi rock (Lecture 4.21.16). Thus, Sufi rock combines all of these different traditions together to show that the divine loves various traditions, and diversity more generally (Lecture 4.21.16).

Consequently, in my music piece, I decided to create the instrumental music to a Sufi rock song. I included a variety of instruments, both Western and from other traditions, including two pianos, one bass, and different kinds of drums to reflect on the varieties of influences that Sufi rock may have – I specifically tried to use the same drums I had heard in Salman Ahmad’s pieces during class (Lecture 4.21.16). As Asani notes in his piece on Sufi rock, musicians often use Sufi rock a way to have peace in society (Asani 3). Subsequently, my hope is that my piece helps Westerners and Muslims understand the similarities in their music and use music as a way to have peace within the diversity in society.

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