Rocqawali News

"Sufi Spirit" release!Rocqawali News

Posted by tin Wed, May 17, 2017 16:29:39

Seamlessly blending the peaceful Sufi tradition of qawali with the guttural, impassioned guitar cries of rock and roll, Rocqawali’s second album demonstrates how the two musical styles share a deep honesty that marries sublime.

At first glance, Pakistani devotional music (qawali) and rock and roll couldn’t seem stranger bedfellows. Yet as Sufi Spirit elects, the two traditions share a deep honesty that marries sublime. The band’s drummer Stephan Grabowski attributes this to the ‘raw guts’ at the heart of both music’s. Citing early Johnny Cash’s gruesome laments and darkened ballads, Grabowski draws parallel with qawali music’s blazingly honest love songs to the divine. There is too a transcendental urge shared in both; line up thrashing rock and roll guitar and heavy drums with qawali’s impassioned vocal improvisation, driving percussion and rising handclaps and you find two genres’ indubitably united in search of ecstasy.

This album is beautifully produced by the legendary skills of Mark Howard, a previous collaborator with a roll call of rock gods (Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, the list continues…). Rocqawali’s vocalist Ejaz Sher Ali hails from truly legendary stock, son of Ustad Sher Ali – one of the biggest household names in Pakistani qawali since Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Alongside Ejaz, Danish-Iranian Tin Soheili and Danish-Pakistani Jonas Stampe lay a solid guitar foundation, teasing and disrupting it with anarchic spirit as they go. Stephan Grabowski brings his knowledge of Western, Indian and Ethiopian grooves to the rhythm section, whilst renowned bassist Thomas Risell plugs the lower-end thick and heavy.

This idea of eliciting a transcendent state through music seams right through the marrow of Rocqawali’s musical bones. Sufi Spirit was recorded over seven days in a Danish studio. The sessions were recorded live and centred on long, meditative jams from which the arrangements presented on this album were organically born.

Stephan explains the band’s honoring of improvisational approach in relation to qawali practice. In the Islamic Sufi tradition music is seen as a gateway to the divine, a tool by which to enter a spiritual plane closer to God. As such strict arrangements or locked melodic patterns are not performed, rather exploratory astral journeys are accessed via instinctive improvisation and skilled manipulation of form and feel. Head-banging groove ‘Alaap’ illustrates the point well, a down and dirty rendering of pure improvisation. Insistent off-beat drums and distorted prog-guitars accompany Ejaz’s sensational, undeniably ecstatic, vocal performance. Improvisation is also a tool by which to escape the self, submerged headfirst in a deep groove your thoughts become quiet and centered. Opening track 'Ill Allah' is based on a poem by Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the spiritual father of Pakistan. The song bestows a blessing on its listeners and imparts that ‘the secret of the self is hidden’.

The endless pleasure in this album lies in letting your mind elliptically springboard between the evocative tones of Islam's peaceful Sufi tradition and the guttural, impassioned guitar cries of rock and rolls finest heritage.

The album will be released through Riverboat Records on June 30th, 2017

New album: “Sufi Spirit”Rocqawali News

Posted by tin Wed, October 28, 2015 01:11:11

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New upcoming album produced by Mark Howard:

Legendary producer, Mark Howard ; (Bob Dylan, U2, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Neill Young etc.etc.), has produced the new album, “Sufi Spirit”, for Rocqawali.

In his own words; “Rocqawali has kind of invented a whole new genre”, which is one of the reasons why the master chose to work with the band.

Live, the band has toured very successful in Pakistan in Oct. 2014. Performing at Universities, high end clubs, and at the 3 biggest TV shows, playing live and being interviewed and broadcasted to 50 million people in 85 countries. In 2015 they have toured Russia, just as successful, there among playing Usadba Festival, the biggest outdoor festival of Russia. They also played the prestigeful international “Copenhagen Jazz Festival” in july 2015. The band has furthermore been nominated for a DMA, (Danish Music Award), both in 2013 and 2015.


Posted by tin Wed, November 19, 2014 14:58:48

Album release December the 1st 2014:

ROCQAWALI is a new Danish/Pakistani Sufi Rock band that mixes the thousand year old Traditional Pakistani/Indian Sufi music of Qawali with a Western 70’es style Rock ‘n’ Roll. The band play its own unique and very personal version of a ”21’st century qawali”, that ecchoes both Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan, as well as a kind of Pakistani sounding
Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead, in a sheer malstroem of soul and power.

The band has just finished a very successful tour to Pakistan in Oct. 2014. Performing at the 3 biggest TV shows, playing live and being interviewed and broadcasted to 50 million people in 85 countries. All the big medias of Pakistan has written about them and New York Times - wrote:” Rocqawali played ‘Pawen tu jaan’, to a head-banging, whistling and dancing audience. They reached a crescendo with the pulsating ‘Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’, displaying coordination and command over their craft”.

The Pakistani Sufi singer of the band, Ejaz Sher Ali, is the son of one of Pakistan’s most legendary music families: the Qawals Meher Ali & Sher Ali.
The four Danish band members are former long term members of some of the premier indie acts in Denmark and have since then produced international theatre shows, film music etc.

ROCQAWALI was nominated for a DMA prize (Danish Music Award) in 2013 for their track ”Ali Maula” and they recieved 5 stars in the largest danish music magazine Gaffa for their live performance at the Spot Festival in the spring of 2014. The debut album "The Sufi Rock ‘n’ Roll" is now finally ready for release
on December the 1st. at Great Music. All the lyrics are sung in Urdu and Punjabi, but as a Western listener, you can easily feel the love and passion through the powerful voice and the band.

The Album will be available on all platforms such as: itunes, Amazon. Spotify etc. The cover is designed by the outstanding graphic designer James Marsh, who designed all of the, now classic, Talk Talk covers.