Press, and what YOU are saying!
What they are saying - assorted press clippings
Coming into this show on the Lower East Side a song or two late, I felt a rush to finally be inside the dark interior of this theater, ready to hear sitar, sax, and drums played in a mystical way. It was a cool October evening, leaves outside in the wind somewhere, the stage where Dawoud the sitar mystic was playing designed for theatrical performances, with seats rising up, a dark, bare sliver of an amphitheater (hey, it is NYC after all). Once inside, the music of Dawoud on sitar, Ravish Momin on drums, and Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi on sax rose up and hit me as I made my way around and down to a seat in the front, confronting my ears with an East-meets-West improvisational mix.
I’d seen this lineup before at the University of the Streets months ago, but tonight the vibe (and when discussing mystical-sufi-sitar music there must be no qualms about discussing the ineffable intangibility of “the vibe”, I believe) was more touch-and-go.
Dawoud on a traditional cushioned dais of sorts, supporting his electrified sitar, made the picture of the mystic, with Ravish Momin to the right behind the set with some electronics nearby, and Saadat in between, hair pulled up into a signature grey top-knot, an Iranian “Green Movement” shirt on.
First off, all three of these musicians are operating on an enlightened level, playing with years of experience and their own take on their respective instruments: Saadat (of The Tehran-Dakar Brothers) from Iran balancing on the edges of the modern avant-jazz idiom with drops into skronk and arabic/sephardic tones, Momin (leader of Trio Tarana) from India able to reproduce the classic tabla rhythmic accompaniments that traditionally back sitar and able to experiment with electronics and sampling, and Dawoud from the midwest, USA, yet a Muslim-Sufi somehow steeped in the mysticism of the Far East, carrying the Ravi Shankar/George Harrison banner into the next generation.
All this adds up on-stage to incredible moments at times, especially on the more traditional numbers. I found myself transported in the way anyone familiar with classic sitar would know: layers of knowing expressed through music pulsing out, a building tension moving in non-Western scales, with improvisational segments in the right places, and the musicians with the skill to smoothly transition from part to part.
(from "Off into the Mystic: Sitar Sounds on the East Side" by Jim Hoey)
"What a wonderful show Dawoud so graciously performed last Saturday evening. He is an extremely talented and disciplined musician who stretches the ideas of what was once thought to be possible on the Sitar."
Salma Jane - Souldish.com
What I dig the most about this is the way Dawoud uses subtle layers of spacey, electronic samples that float around his central sitar playing, adding some mystery to what some might think they already anticipate will happen. Groovy mood music that is not too demanding but still is still enticing"
BLG. Dwontown Music Gallery
"Dawoud's sitar (sang) with rich rhythms."
Yusef Salaam. Amsterdam News, New York City.
"Dawoud and his sitar created a soothing atmosphere. The people meditated, absorbed in the creative mystic sounds. The audience enjoyed traveling musically with Dawoud & the New Culture in a pilgrimage state of spiritual inspiration"
Ali Rahman. New York Beacon.
"Dawoud's sitar was a revelation"
Benoir. World Beat Jazz Newsletter.
"A soulful ignition of jazz rhythms and blues infused with East Indian and African hypnotic sounds. A surefire hit for (those) who wish to gain a spiritual sense of inner calm. A must for eclectic music listeners"
Heather Covington. Disilgold Publications.
"Dawoud has a brand new album called "Renegade Sufi", a great atmospheric album that fuses mystic jazz influences to chill out atmospheres and oriental instruments, like his magical sitar. If Jimi Hendrix played sitar, he'd sound like Dawoud!"
Kristin Parascondolo. Deadly Kristin Magazine
"They intertiwne together and at the same time move seperatly. The music is so beautiful and makes the experience so relaxing and refreshing in the world on free improvised music"
"In a world where evil forces have effectively hijacked not only the public's peace of mind but the very thing we call "religion," it is truly heartening to find spirited artists like Dawoud who understand, experience, and live true religion through their art. The essence of all religion is spiritual connectivity with the Divine; who better than a contemporary Renegade Sufi to bring the classical mysticism of Islam to the modern world?"
Azhar Usman; Stand up comedian
"Dawoud has succeeded in bringing a group together with a rather improvisational rhythmical fundament (bass, some programmed rhythms or percussion) with a very individual sound. The style is partly with an often rather loose chill-out groove, a partly jazzy improvisation. There are improvisations with sitar and flute combined, or sometimes sitar and acoustic guitar on one track. There are talks with a spiritual or philosophical fusion spoken word element, (on Freedom it is as a more frustrated expression –here like a kind of dub hiphop fusion). The electronic sequenced grooves are also very attractive in a different, also groovy way.
Gerald Van Waes. Psychevanhetfolk
What YOU are saying!
(An assortment of comments by listeners like you)
"I think he got me high! Best musical experience ever! Great artist!"
"I listened to your music ten years ago when I was still a teenager, It had an influence on my creative development."
"I truly love your music! Mystic Jazz is quite exactly what it is, and I greatly enjoy it!"
"Your music.. is a fly on the wall..in the bedroom of chi, like a moist tongue welcomes the nectar. Inspires nectar flow... In divine service..a missing puzzle piece filled. Music healing to the wounded butterfly."
"You are a new experimental instrumentalist in the musical universe, an original musician... the new American Mozart"
"Absolutely Beautiful!!!! Your music gave me chills! Awesome. You are an inspiration to say the least. Today is a wonderful day for me because I have found an artist that has brought music to a new level for me. Thank you sharing your beautiful music. This is what I call creation at it's best. Thank you for venturing out into the unknown to bring forth originality to us all."
"I very much enjoy your music and only hope you will continue to create Spiritual sounds! Best wishes from Paris."
"j'adore your ecclectic style in music - Very soothing!! Its great to see some originality."
"YOU ARE AMAZZZZING!!!! I am so enthralled by your sound. The sitar is so awesome and you really do it justice babe! Keep doing your thing and know that I will stay tuned and you have a fan in NC!"
"I like your music. What a great musical environment for the sitar. Amazing."
"Nice sounds! Cool to find something different, creative and spiritual."
"Really feelin the music. Some cool out, take a cruise in the upper atmosphere and just watch the planet!!"
"I'm enjoying your versatile sounds. What an elegant way to utilize the sitar in the 21century with your blends of genre."
"Your stuff is wonderful. I love how you've mixed Jazz and electronica. What a fantastic modern take on this most ethereal of ancient instruments."
"Dawoud, I can't remember since I heard an artist play the sitar as beautifully, moving as you do."
"You are a terrific artist with some excellent tracks… May the CREATIVITY that you have shown here continue lavishly!"
"YOUR MUSIC IS BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING."
"Hooked on Women Dawoud ~ love the harmonies & there's so much here without becoming cluttered! Much respect."
"It is just great to hear other Muslims making music. I thank you for your music! It is very inspiring, crossing boundaries. I especially love the song Mathematics of Love".
"I love your music man, it has a deep Sufi feel!"
"I love the idea of a Renegade Sufi, that's the only appealing religious notion I've heard in a while. Fantastic music, thanks!"
"Your music is very atmospheric and peaceful yet it has involved layers that are engaging...the sitar is really cool!"
"Bonjour et bonnes ambiances sur cette page. Bravo je reviendrai !"
"I greet your soul!!!! Thank you for your spiritual sounds & music...they reflect your different experiences & influences through life...is clear that you are not alone that you are connect to a greater universal energy of which you are a integral part....Thank you very much for sharing with me your great talents...please keep making people happy & promoting tolerance in this world....I am sending you all the positive energy from INDIA"
"Your music is loveliness and harmony. May Allah bless you."
"I love coming by here to absorb your lustrous and enigmatic music. I need to get hold of the CD actually as everyone should."
"Thank you for the pleasure of listening to your music, Dawoud. You have also been in the company of awesome teachers."
I LOVE IT! It's perfect for tai chi and yoga!!!"
"I really like the idea of a Renegade Sufi Alchemist, and you are a brilliant kawwal as well! I dig the exotic audible waves you transmit."
"Beautiful music! We love your tunes, soothing and seductive"
"Hey, this is making me float away somewhere special, Dawoud! I love it!"
"You are doing something really unique."
"I love your music and your interpretation of the sitar. Beautiful music."
"I just wanted to say that you are honestly the most talented musician I have seen."
"Your music is a mystical journey..very spacey atmosphere..I love it!"