Muslim Voices in America: The Making of a Modern Music Scene

By Hussein Rashid, Hofstra University

The international flow of music has also introduced Muslim musics to the American soundscape. Qawwali artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan worked on the soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ, and performed with Eddie Veder of Pearl Jam on Dead Man Walking. Bruce Springsteen, on the track “Worlds Apart,” from The Rising, includes qawwali music as a way to consciously counter misperceptions of Muslims. British band Queen, although having no Muslim members, introduced the phrase bismillah, “In the name of God,” into American rock consciousness on their track Bohemian Rhapsody. Of course, one of the emerging areas of relationship between America, Muslims, and music are the transnational flows of music. For example, the lead singer of Pakistani rock band Junoon, Salman Ahmad, credits his time in New York and exposure to various musics as a catalyst for forming the band.

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Author: ismailimail

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