We’re working on finding the perfect subject for a show about music. Ideas as diverse as Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, Sacred Harp singing, and the Sufi devotional music qawwali have been recently floating around the office.

Myself? I am always moved by string quartets. The video above is the fourth movement of the Cezch composer Dvorak’s String Quartet n. 12, commonly called American, inspired by a summer he spent in Spillville, Iowa. He said he never would have written this piece the way he did if he hadn’t seen America: its birds, trains, and long tradition of African-American spirituals.

Please let us know if you have thoughts about our music show. Which musician would you like to hear discuss the power song has to move our hearts?

Share Your Reflection



I would actually love to hear a show about qawwali. The first time I heard the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was, as an aesthetic experience, almost like this rapturous event, reminiscent of how I felt after first listening to John Coltrane. Plus, I gotta represent the old country :)

I don't know if people recall the music in the Ed Husain show, but I had put in this short vocal piece by Pearl Jam called "Arc" which was very reminiscent to me of the vocal "warm-ups" in the opening of some qawwali songs. Lead singer Eddie Vedder worked with Nusrat before he (Nusrat) passed away in the 1990s. I wanted to get that East-West cross-pollination in that show about identity. ("Arc" was a tribute to some PJ fans who died at a concert.)

I would like to see a program about Yo-yo Ma talking about his experiences playing classical music and also re-creating the music of his ancestors in his project titled Silk Road....(something, the name escapes my mind right now).

I never heard of qawwali until Abbas Raza posted a string of videos at 3 Quarks Daily. Clearly a rich and important musical genre is well-loved by South Asian fans and needs to be better understood and appreciated outside that group.


My first career ambition was to be a high school band director and to that end I studied music education for two years. It turns out that have been the most expensive of music appreciation courses, leaving me with the sure knowledge that in order to be successful as a musician one should be either rich or gifted....preferably both. After five or ten years had passed I recovered from being a musical snob and have come to appreciate good music in all its forms.

Seems to me qawwali deserves a place in any program you put together.

Love the Dvorak! I personally would love to hear the composer Michael Nyman speak - www.michaelnyman.com - or Sharon Farber. She is an Israeli composer who wrote a piece called "Ashkina", which was performed by the great Arabic multi-instrumentalist Omar Farouk Tekbilek - oud, ney flute, and dumbeck. She is truly building bridges through music. All of her work is so emotionally powerful and resonant...www.sharonfarber.com

Woody Guthrie Hannukah songs!