Fareed Ayaz: Flag-Bearer for the Qawwali Genre

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Ustad Fareed Ayaz (Farid Ayaz), born in India as Ghulam Fariduddin Ayaz Al-Hussaini, has been referred to as the flag-bearer for Qawwali music in Pakistan. Alongside his brother, Ustad Abu Muhammad Qawwal, Farid is the primary leader of the ensemble.

Fareed performs many different types of music, including Dadra and Tarana. But it was his exposure to his father Ustad Munshi Raziuddin Ahmed Khan and his love of poetry and lyrics that gave him the inspiration to make a name for himself in the field of Qawwali. Today no qawwali playlist is complete without one of his tracks.

Qawwal Farid Ayaz Abu Muhammad performing

Early Beginnings as a Singer

Fareed Ayza was born in 1952. His father, also a singer and a reputed artist, moved the family to Pakistan in 1956. After settling into their new home, Farid began his classical music training in the Qawwali tradition with his father. The entire family had musical roots. Fareed Ayaz grew up listening to his father sing with other notable singers, some of who were relatives. As the brothers got older the now-famous Fareed Ayaz Abu Muhammad Qawwal knew that their future would be in this space.

After being accepted to PECHS College, he was encouraged to participate in college-level music competitions. There he sang many well-known Qawwali songs. Beginning in 1975 and 1976, he began to earn awards for his powerful singing. It was his consistent award-winning performances that transformed him from an amateur college singer to a professional.

Farid in performance with Father Munshi Raziuddin

Developing His Style in the Qawwali Tradition

Even while Fareed Ayaz was in school, he was beginning to hone his musical skills and abilities. With his brother Abu Muhammad, the Qawwal Brothers became increasingly popular from their Sufi tracks. They began to perform their songs, jam-packed with Urdu couplets, across the world to welcoming audiences. He developed a narrative style that was educational. And, there is a wonderful bit of theatrics that keeps the audience on their feet.

Animated Performance of Farid Ayaz

To date, Fareed Ayaz, the Pakistan Qawwal has performed in the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, just to name a few. In his interviews, he’s shared his love for Qawwali, Urdu, and Punjabi poetry, and how his family influenced his life and musical career.

Pushing Qawwali Into the World After Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

After the passing of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the torch was passed to Nusret’s nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. But the genre lacked star power, and as a result, suffered. Artists like Fareed Ayaz who had been raised with the culture and traditions of Qawwali were natural recipients to take this music forward. It was through Pakistan television programs like the Coke Studio and the Kabir Project (India) that Fareed Ayaz began to present Qawwali and Sufi performances across the world in all of its splendor. The songs they sang made them unique storytellers of the culture.

While many famous Qawwali singers have appeared on the Coke Studio Pakistan, it was Fareed Ayaz that continues to push the envelope, introducing new viewers to the culture. Their songs Kangana and Mera Piya Ghar Aaya are trend-setting. Being able to share their music on the web has allowed their fans to listen to them wherever they were.

Interview of Fareed Qawwal

Pushing the genre also meant being open to collaborations within Pakistan and those arising in India. Fareed Ayaz Abu Muhammad are among those that collaborated for The Kabir Project, based out of Bengaluru (India).

The Kabir Project

Fareed Ayaaz talks to Kabir Project on the Saint's poetry

The Kabir Project is made up of films, friendships, and networks that unite different groups of individuals in a wider social arena. The Kabir Project is made up of several personal journeys of those who are on a quest to follow Kabir’sprolific poetry and learn from his philosophies.

Both Farid Ayaaz and Abu Muhammad Qawwal have proven themselves as singers and defining themselves across this project. Whether in concert or ghar ki choti mehfil, Fareed Ayaz Abu Muhammad Qawwal have shared the dohe of Kabir across the world.

The Future for Ayaz and His Music: Passing on the Traditions of Qawwal

Having earned the Pride of Performance by Pakistan, Fareed Ayaaz firmly cemented himself and his brother Abu Muhammad (who received the honor in 2020) in the hall of fame of Qawwali music and the traditions associated with it. He continues to perform and teach audiences about the music that is an integral part of his life. Many of his songs are a wonderful homage to his father’s lyrical and theatrical style.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.How Much Is Fareed Ayaz Net Worth?

Fareed Ayaz is worth approximately $1 to $5 million depending on who you ask. He earns approximately $1 million per year as a musician.

2. Who Is Fareed Ayaz Married to?

No resources give any information about Fareed Ayaz’s family life other than his brother, Abu Muhammad, and father, Munshi Raziudddin Ahmed.

3. Who Is Munshi Raziuddin Ahmed?

Munshi Raziuddin Ahmed is a well-known qawwali musician and also Fareed Ayaz’s father.

Riyaaz Qawwali