Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Dang-Thao Nguyen, Kadri and I

Dang-Thao Nguyen, Kadri and I

Dang-Thao Nguyen or 'Thao' and I have known each other for over 20 years and sometimes you strike a chord with a fellow musician where they are like brothers in arms.

Thao came to Australia as a refugee from Vietnam after the war. He was in the Air Force there and a famous musician. 

He was one of the most popular folk and pop musicians of his time there. He studied music in Vietnam and later at Adelaide university completed a Phd in musicolgy.

We formed a band in the 1990s called Bamboo Ochre which I have referred to in this blog before. We were quite successful and toured interstate and did local folk music ethnic music concerts.  It was in an era when world music was coming into vogue.

Thao is an extraordinary guy with a huge capacity for empathy and communicating with his music the feelings of freedom, love, joy.  

Kadri came to Australia from the Soviet Republics after the breakdown of the Union.  

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Jack Norton Gerard Menzel (oud & Tabla)

Jack Norton  (oud) Gerard Menzel (tabla)
 6.10.18 Oud and Tabla Welsley Hill, Hall
 Chewton Victoria Australai

A Bee Pollen Production 

Thanks to 
Wesley Hill Market 

Contact Mob 61 407734479 Gerard Menzel

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Ottoman music; Oud and dharrabacca

Performance. 1200 -13.00
October 13/20/27 Wesley Hill Market
Entry Donation

Jack Norton, a fellow musician from Castlemaine area plays the oud, bouzouki and guitar very well and they naturally go well with the dharrabacca.

I got my dharrabacca drum many years ago from a maker in the Blue Mountains of NSW.

The Indian and Persian tradiditions share many similarities because the North indian music system was heavily influenced by the Muslim invasions from the west Beginning with Babur in the 13th century. Many of the great musicians in India were Muslim because they were supported by the ruling Emperors and Rajas in their court music.

Here you can see basic 7. 9 and 10 beat cycles

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Ma The Mother; Anandamayama

Ma - Mother

Anand - Bliss
Maya - illusion 
Ma - Mother 

Listen to her voice recite prayer.

The Mothers heart


Further study

Anandamaya Ma Devotees web
Here you can find audio , videos and prayers

Background to her life

Thursday, 13 September 2018



Here are the teachings of Baba Virsah Singh who housed sheltered and loved me thru and thru from 1991 til his mahasamadhi / final passing in 2007.

If you wish to meditate read and follow his teachings. They were always clear, simple yet erudite and full of wisdom.

Source ; Loving God
The Practical Teachings of Baba Virsah Singh

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Qawal Sufi devotion ; Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

The Lion of Qawal

 Go here for recordings and information  The Musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

‘Shahen-shah-e-qawwali’, the brightest-shining star of qawwali 1.

 In around 1994 I was playing in the Indian Music circle in Adelaide called Rasik Ranjani and at this time there was WOMAD happening.

During the first WOMAD in Adelaide I was playing with Dya Singh, Cris Finnen, Keith Preston, Dang Tao Nguen, in Daya's band and we were invited to the first WOMAD on the Friday night.
Unfortunately there was a mix up in the stage settings and they cancelled our act.

Often the Indian community had concerts in wealthy peoples homes and I was asked to play tabla with the singers like Mike Panelli a classical singer from Maharastra state, a Parsi and old devotee of Muktananda, and Aktar a Bengali singer and Nasneen from Bengal also.

When Nusrat was in town I got a call from a friend in the music circle Mr Faruque a grand elder of the Pakistan community and a regular of Rasic Ranjani. One half of the program was devoted to poetry of Love called Gazal Poetry. This was somewhat similar to if not the same as Sufi poetry but modernized of late. At least it was in the same tradition of love poetry from the Persian, Turkish Arabic region.He said come down to Clarence Park late and Nusrat and band will be playing for the community.

Wow, was that a concert.!!!!!!!
It started about 10.00 and went ot about 1.00 am
It was a small hall, very non descript and there was about 200 people there sitting on the floor. I was the only white local except for maybe one more person. So obviously it was a invitation only show. Entry was free. This was a big community event for the Pakistanis.The atmosphere was electric and local people poured hundreds of dollars onto the head of the players or literally showered them with money, which is the tradition in Sufism to thank the singers.

I went away that night on my BMW motorbike in the warm summer with the sounds of Zikr in my mind and it went for days, "Allah Hu, Allah Hu, Allah Hu"

 Qawal; Main Diwani Gunj Shakar Di

This is a qawal devoted to the Sufi Baba Farid Shakar Gunj

My teacher Baba Virsah Singh often referred to Sufi saints like Farid as he instructed about love. Near one of his farms on the Ganges Shiv Sadan a worshiping place was devoted to a local Sufi 'Pir Sahib" and in Ujjian Baba Malang invited Baba to the Sufi celebrations of Hazrat Kallundar  Anar Rahimattula Ali in 1996. there he said...
" A dervish saint has no sectarian religion What is his religion? As revealed in the Quran. "God is pure and unequalled; have no doubt" ...Islam is not theoretical it is practical. There have been so many Muslim Dervishes. One Sarmad, whose tomb is in Delhi, was beheaded but even without his head he kept dancing for God. The Nur 5. of God falls upon anyone who reads Gods words with love. He is blessed and his kismet becomes very elevated.4.


This is written for our Sufi-Saint, Baba Farid Shakar Gunj.

Here everything is written in admiration for him. Deep feelings are expressed about him: ‘Gunj-E-Shakar is mine, there is no other saint as generous as him. His name and his love are in every single part of my soul. He is my everything. Whenever I have a problem I call to him and it is solved. Why should I look to other saints when here is the place my problems are resolved? Other saints bow down to him- this is a special reward to him from God. Whoever comes to his tomb to pay homage will be blessed and their wishes will come true. No one will come away empty-handed’.3



Zikr, according to the book Fiqh-Us-Sunnah by Sheik Sayyed As Sabeeq, mentions that, "All words of praise and glory to Allah, extolling His Perfect Attributes of Power and Majesty, Beauty and Sublimeness, whether one utters them by tongue or says them silently in one's heart, are known as Zikr or remembrance of Allah." 1.

Qawal is Zikr in its most sublime and often musically sensual way. The Beloved is described and praised in song, sound and the movement of the instruments and voice.

For more on this see The mysticism of music, sound and word by Hazrat Inayat Khan (vol.2 of the Sufi message) Motilal banarsidas Pub Delhi )

Peter Gabriel recorded Passion with Nusrat and here is a discussion on the recording.

Devotion and love
Sufi poetry or Gazzal poetry is about the love we as humans experience and the words may be about a woman or man but also could be referring to the Beloved or the divine.  Here the blurring begins between contempory and spiritual.

If we look at the words of Rumi the focus is more on the divine.

Here are the words of a devotional Qawal to Mohamid the Prophet which Nusrat sings.

Words and meaning Shamas Ud Doha

Read online full text By Hazrat Inayat Khan

  Footnotes Bibliography
1. https://realworldrecords.com/releases/the-last-prophet/
2. https://www.soundvision.com/article/meaning-of-zikr-and-the-role-it-plays-in-my-life
3. https://realworldrecords.com/releases/the-last-prophet/
4. News from Gobind Sadan newsletter feb 1996

5. Nur- the decent of light
(for more see http://www.almirajsuficentre.org.au/descent_of_light.php)
6. Kismet fate, lot, destiny