The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) hits the right note once again, as it brings the world premiere of a spectacular musical collaboration between Susheela Ramana and Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali - Queen Between on Thursday October 19, commissioned by The Arts Center.
Queen Between is a spellbinding cross-cultural mix of rock, Tamil folk, Sufi qawwali, and a Western classical string quartet. Singer Susheela Raman and producer/guitarist Sam Mills expand their current collaboration with Rizwan and Muazzam Mujahid Ali Khan (leaders of Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali) along with the Phaedra Ensemble string quartet and a western rhythm section.
Concert goers will experience a host of songs that explore imagination, all expressed through poetry, music and language. And as with all of The Arts Center’s shows this season, a host of themes are explored; the cross-cultural, cross-genre musical exchange reflects themes of cultural exchange, migration, and transformation.
Taking place on The East Plaza – an open-air space which welcomes 1000 guests – Queen Between is happening due to the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom led by the British Council. A Brit herself, Susheela was born to Tamil parents and her work has always been known for connecting different cultures and their traditions. While Pakistani brothers Rizwan and Muazzam Mujahid Ali Khan, are two of the most prominent Sufi-style singers, known as qawwali. The performers are not only pupils of, but nephews of the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: one of the most iconic signers of the 20th Century. Sam Mills has an elective experience of performing and producing in diverse musical genres, including post-punk, South Asian and West African music. The Phaedra Ensemble will help fuse the evening’s music together, as the ensemble has a strong intuition for genre-crossing and interdisciplinary work, often collaborating with artists from other disciplines.
Bill Bragin, executive artistic director at The Arts Center at NYUAD, is delighted about the performance about to hit The East Plaza: “Susheela Raman and Sam Mills have a long history of exploring ecstatic cultural traditions across cultures, and we're thrilled to commission this expansion of their collaboration with Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali. Among the greatest living disciples of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, their last performance in Abu Dhabi at WOMAD continues to be referred to as one of the capital's finest musical performances. This performance will galvanize the UAE's Tamil and Pakistani communities and delight world music lovers of all backgrounds.”
World Premiere - Commissioned by The Arts Center Part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration led by the British Council