I came across something a little different. I wasn’t sure what to expect of something calling itself British Muslim Song. I’m always a little cautious around English nasheed offerings because so many well-meaning creations are just bad translations with cringe-worthy lyrics. I’m sorry Sami Yusuf, you have a lovely voice and I’m sure you’re a jolly-nice-fellow but some of your rhymes are verging on the criminal.
And then there’s that British Muslim choir, Harmonia Alcorani, at the opposite spectrum. They have some decent lyrics for sure, but I can’t stand that choir-boy warbling. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not being prejudicialistic. I was once an unlikely member of the school choir myself I’ll have you know, and have squawked my way through many a ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘When a Knight Won His Spurs’ (‘though you’ll be relieved to hear I won’t be auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent, like a hijabi Susan Boyle ::shudder::). But all that high-pitched soprano warbling leaves me cold. Deep bass Gregorian chanting is a little more palatable, but only in small doses.
Anyhow, when I came across a free download of ‘He who Seeks (Nihavend No.34)’, sung by that very-nice-chap Dawud Wharnsby, I was a wee bit wary. At first hearing I mulled over its unfamiliar style and decided that it was different, but I wasn’t sure if I actually liked it. To give it a fair go I replayed it a couple of times…until I finally forgave it its novelty and found myself truly moved. It hints a little at folk music rather than straight-up choir, which probably helps. So despite my initial misgivings I have to say it’s really grown on me and I hope there’ll be more to come. Just keep the pitch low and manly, and leave out the nightingales and roasted larks.