South Asian Music

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Each faith uses music in a beautiful way. South Asia is no exception. Sikhs use shabad – kirtan as a primary mode of hearing their religious text. Hindus have a one path dedicated to such singing and devotion. Muslims, and sufis especially, use dikr and qawwali as a way to connect with God. The South Asian Music will brings you an amalgamation of traditional devotional songs for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and more communities with vast of of entertainment. Let’s explore the South Asian music and songs performed by Riyaaz Qawwali group.


Hindus sing bhajans as part of a religious ceremony. The lyrics are in many Indian languages. While there are no musical prescriptions for bhajans, usually a harmonium and tabla are used as the instruments to support the main singer. Riyaaz Qawwali has performed several bhajans. These include Raghupati raghav raja ram Pati te pavan sita ram, Man lagyo yaar mero yaar fakeeri mein, Gaiye ganpati jagvandan Shankar suvan bhavani nandan, Hare rama hare krishna, Payo ji maine raam ratan dhan payo, etc.



The ghazal genre is a musical form of Urdu poetry. It has been enriched by the likes of Begum Akhtar, Farida Khanum, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh and Harihraran. Because of singers like Singh and Hassan, as well as the Lata Mangeshkar and Ashe Bhosle, Bollywood music was graced with soulful ghazal compositions.



In Sikhism, singing and reciting shbads from Shri Guru Granth Sahib is of utmost importance. The lyrics, or shabads are in Punjabi. There are strict prescriptions to ragas for each shabad kirtan in the Guru Granth Sahib. Riyaaz Qawwali has performed several shabads. These include Koi bole ram ram koi khudai, Awwal allah noor upaya, Tohi mohi mohi tohi antar kaisa, Mittar piyare nu, Vin pucheya hi lai jaaye, etc.


Small ensemble Riyaaz Qawwali of Texas, USA


Sufis join in religious gatherings for the sole purpose of listening to qawwali. These sittings are called mehfil-e-samaa. The lyrics are in Persian, Urdu or Punjabi. Riyaaz Qawwali has performed several traditional qawwalis. These include Man kunto maula, Aaj rung hai, Tere ishq nachaya, Taajdare haram, Bhar do jholi meri Muhammad, Allah hoo, etc. To learn more about qawwali, click here.





Indian Instruments

  • Melody
    • Tanpura, or tambura instruments (indian drone instrument)
    • Harmonium
    • Ektara
    • Sarangi
    • Shankh
    • Esraj
    • Dilruba
    • Sarod
    • Santoor
    • Bansuri
    • Shehnai
    • Sitar, Sitar parts (Sitar text), Restring sitar (Sitar text)
  • Rhythm
    • Tabla, peshkar tabla bol (tabla text)
    • Dholak
    • Dhol
    • Manjira or majira
    • Chimpta
    • Pakhawaj
    • Dhad or Dhadh
    • Damaru
Riyaaz Qawwali