Hussnain Hanif and Jules Evans met during Suzanne Lacy’s residency with In-Situ in Brierfield in 2015 where they collaborated with Suzanne to create a performance that fused their respective vocal traditions. Their performance was one of the highlights of the finale of the project, Shapes of Water, Sounds of Hope, at a banquet for 600 Pendle residents at Brierfield Mill in 2017, then under development.
Both Pendle residents themselves, Hussnain is a much respected Nasheed exponent who takes his practice all over the world. Nasheed is a westernised form of mid’ha (praise) that originates from the 1,400 year old Sufi tradition of individual devotion and cultural expression, comprising poetic songs of love, harmony and peace. Jules is an experienced composer and choral director in the western tradition and he was excited by the harmonic possibilities of Nasheed and how they may interweave in and inspire his own practice. Together they worked up an idea of combining their two creative disciplines with a group of young people to present Nasheed as a choir.
The group came together at the end of July to learn vocal technique and choral singing for the first time, working over the summer on a weekly basis and culminating in a performance of the world’s first Nasheed choir at Burnley Mechanics on Sunday 22nd September at 7pm.
The Nasheed choir group will start rehearsing again in early 2020 with ambitious plans to expand the group and extend their reach and scope over the course of the year.