Several artists from the Dubai-based ‘Let the Change Be’ Muslim Music and arts organisation have embarked on a series of workshops across the Mother City, focusing on documentary filmmaking, photography and song writing. The workshops will be conducted between the 26-31 May at several institutions on the Cape Flats, including the Manenberg Leadership College and the Ottery Youth Care Centre.
Let the Change Be is an organisation originally founded by folk-music legend and Islamic revert Yusuf Islam, previously Cat Stevens, although it is now run by daughter Hasana and her husband Majid Hussain. The company seeks to promote creative expression amongst aspiring Muslim artists, as well as a sense of harmony with the global interfaith community.
Amongst the label’s budding young stars is US-born singer-songwriter, Alman Nusrat who was eager to highlight the link between spiritualism and music. He noted that rhythm could be found in almost anything, even within Islam.
“In Islam we say La illaha illa Allah’, and there is rhythm in that. That’s musical right there. Having your heart longing for rhythm is sign that there is something cosmic about music, deeper than what was perceive,” he explained.
Nusrat said the organisations philosophy; focused on the concept that in order to change the world an individual need first change within themselves, was one that resonated strongly with him, and which he was keen to shine through in his music.
Fellow songwriter and Islamic revert, Idris Phillips, was very much in agreement with the sentiment of music being used as a vehicle of spirituality. According to him, this effect became evident every time he performed in front of others, with music always bringing about a sense of positivity regardless of whether it was amongst an Islamic or more secular scene.
“It is becoming a little more accepted now and I’m very happy about that. The work of Yusuf Islam has also helped us (in this regard),” he said.
Mustafa Davis, a cinematographer, filmmaker and photographer who has been with Let the Change Be since 2002, said much of his interest in the arts was stoke by Islam himself, he directed him towards film school during the early years of the organisation. Having started out as a photographer seeking to ‘give voice to the voiceless’, he had since gone on the shoot several documentaries. Being of African-American descent, much of his interest centred on issues pertaining to Africa.
“That’s why I travel the world, to look for stories that might be mundane or not have caught the popular media attention, and try and give it light,” he explained.
“I think there are stories wherever you go, and it’s just a matter of perspective.”
Following their tour the trio will be conducting a show at the Baxter Theatre on the 31st May. The event is designed to cater to roughly 300 orphans, youth at risk and young refugees.
For more information visit Visit http://letthechangebe.ae/. You can also visit Alman Nusrat’s Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTSh85ZWwQtWXrOj2TcHpJA. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)