Pakistan’s Ustad Saami is the last living khayál master, a precursor of the ancient, Islamic devotional music of qawwali. Even under threat of Islamic fundamentalists, the 75-year old master has spent his life as a dedicated practitioner of a vanishing art--one that has been passed on from generation to generation since the 13th century. Saami will give a very rare live performance at Le Guess Who? 2019.
Leading up to his performance at the festival, The Quietus publishes a profile about the khayál master, and talk to his producer Ian Brennan. The article was previously published in Dutch in Front magazine (written by Dirk Baart) and translated for tQ, with their permission, by Jasper Willems. Read the full feature here.
Ustad Saami performs at Le Guess Who? 2019 on Saturday, 9 November as part of the project 'Hidden Musics'. Also performing at the festival are a.o. Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band, Lakha Khan, Asha Puthli, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley & His Sekondi Band, Aldous Harding, Fatoumata Diawara, La Bruja de Texcoco, and many more.
Photography: Marilena Delli