Last week, on a dull, grey Wednesday evening, in an equally grey area of Glasgow, a new, young and vibrant US Nasheed (Islamic songs) group gave their UK debut performance. Five young men, from Detroit, with a love for music and God, came together to express their heartfelt emotions through devotional songs.
|`We are thrilled to have brought 786 to the UK and are sure they will make a positive cultural impact upon our British Muslim youth and encourage multi cultural and multi faith harmony and tolerance.' Tayyeb Shah
Zafar (25), Shahaab (26), Saad (26), Omar (22) and Saeed (20) make up this 5-man R&B style group who have mesmerised audiences in the US with their unique blend of Islamic music. True to their American roots, they connected with and encouraged full audience participation through a number of Nasheeds from their new album.
786s Nasheeds contained a rich spiritual message that was delivered in a contemporary idiom. `These are obviously guys who are comfortable with their Muslim and Western identities and utilise both cultural influences in their songs', commented Tayyeb Shah. Shah, the talented Managing Director of Meem Records was particularly struck by their ability to transcend cultural divides: `The contemporary sounds they generate are directly informed by a rich, spiritual Islamic heritage and influences from different parts of the world and different communities they have grown up with. The fusion makes for some distinctive Nasheeds, Rap, Gospel, R&B, Soul are all absorbed into their Nasheeds evoking positive messages.'
As 786's Shahaab says: "We are using 786 as a tool for propagating a positive Islamic message to our youth, particularly those who feel alienated and confused by world events and the way they are perceived by others in the community. Although we all love to sing, that is not the reason for the group. It is something we do well together and share a passion for, but more importantly, we share a passion for being Muslim. None of us claims to be perfect, or that we do everything correctly, or even try to preach to others. We just want to open people's eyes to what Islam truly is about and to tell the youth that we know what you are going through and simply
The 786 Tour visited schools, community and youth centres delivering a message about positive Islamic values: charity, teaching others and the need for positive role models. Most important of all, this tour helped to reach out to British Muslim youth through performances and interactive workshops, aiming in some small way to help them take pride in being both Muslims and Westerners.
786 have considerable potential and we look forward to welcoming them to Britain again in the near future. We thank Meem Music for organising the 786 Tour and wish all those involved in putting this show on the road every success for the future.