Riyaaz Qawwali is under the leadership of Sonny K. Mehta, a student of classical music. Riyaaz, which means "to practice" in Urdu, is a Qawwali party based in Austin, Texas.
Riyaaz Qawwali formed in the winter of 2006 under the leadership of Sonny Mehta. Soon after, the group decided to venture out from their usual repertoire of more classical compositions to attempt performing qawwali.
Qawwali is an amazing genre of music, with lively rhythmic cycles, gripping melodies and a unique approach to adding improvisational poetry. Hence, it is no wonder that since that winter, this genre has gripped the attention of each musician that has joined the group. It is the party’s goal to re-familiarize audiences in the United States with this unique musical style.
Sonny is the lead vocalist, composer and arranger for the party, with training in classical music (Hindustani Shastriya Sangeet) under Pt. Suman Ghosh, Pt. Ravi Kant, Mrs. Anita Slawek, Mr. Dilawar Singh and Sri Chandrakantha Courtney. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Jagjit Singh and his grandfather have been Sonny’s greatest musical influences. Currently, Sonny is a Principal Marketing Consultant & Trainer at Social Media Consultancy. Besides Qawwali, Sonny enjoys dabbling in photography and poetry.