This concert was the first of many partnerships RSSA has in engaging both the local community and more importantly: the youth. Co-sponsored by the Pakistani Students’ Association at the George Washington University, RSSA was able to bridge the gap between generations through this mystical form of music. This group is unique in that it is comprised mostly of non-native Urdu speakers, Caucasian Americans and Canadians who learned this tradition art from esteemed teachers in Pakistan, and were able to uphold the divine tradition of the music and act as a bridge between different cultures. The concert was in memoriam of the late Amjad Sabri, a famous qawwal ruthlessly murdered by the Taliban. This concert sold out a week before the event.
RSSA tries to revive the divinity in traditionally sacred art forms. At this concert, the introductory talk by a Sufi master from a family of Sufi teachers lent a vital piece in most qawwali concerts in America--context. In his talk, he not only compared the human body to various instruments ( the harmonium to our lungs and diaphragm, the tabla to the beating of our hearts and each singer singing the song of life that we all sing everyday), his presence framed the qawwali in the way it has been been originally presented: a means for transformation, even for a moment. As RSSA’s first event, it was considered a success: a sold out, youth-led, concert of mystical Sufi music where the 700 year old tradition was at the center in the center of the nation’s capital.