By Rabindra Rooplall
With his carefully-styled hair, designer stubble, and sharply-cut designer suit, Sami Yusuf delivered as promised at the Inspire Inc.’s “Peace, Love and Unity” concert at the National Stadium on Saturday night.
Dubbed the ‘King of Islamic Pop,’ Yusuf serenaded patrons in his soulful voice, played the piano and Tabla while other members played the flute, guitar and other percussion instruments, giving a rich blend of music.
Some of the selections performed by Sami include ‘Muhammad’; ‘Allahu’; ‘Who is the loved one?’; Hasbi Rabbi’ and ‘Supplication’ amongst others.
Although the show did not get the expected turn out, those who turned up were treated to an evening of top class entertainment by a top class international performer.
Young, British and Muslim, Yusuf is fast becoming the closest thing the Islamic world has to a bona fide pop star. His songs about the Prophet Muhammad regularly top the charts in Turkey, the rest of the Arab world and beyond.
Sami learned to play several musical instruments including the piano, violin, tar, tombak, santour, daf, tabla and oud, to name a few, at a very young age.
He bore the passion to etch a mark in the field of music, which he so indelibly did with the release of his ground breaking debut album, Al-Muallim – an album composed, produced and sung by him.
Yusuf, during Saturday night’s show, emphasized the message of oneness and brotherhood. At the end of the concert he thanked patrons for attending and made note of the fact that the event was not an Islamic event, but one to celebrate truth and spirituality among all races and religions.
One of the primary ways in which Sami Yusuf appeals to patrons is by emphasizing spirituality, a characteristic that, along with religious authenticity, accompanies the individualization of religion.
Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Inc. Yog Mahadeo said although there was not any real support from the corporate community because of their stance on supporting religious events, he commended Southland International Inc for their support since without such the show might not have occurred.
“We needed a beverage and none of the beverage companies would come on board, we needed a non-alcoholic beverage and we reached out to Southland International Inc…Also with government support much more can be done,” he emphasized.
In attendance were members of the business community, religious leaders, politicians and fans of the artiste.
The event also featured welcoming remarks by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony.
There was also an awards ceremony to recognize the top three performers in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) exams, as well as performances by local Qaseeda stars.
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