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All Levels | South Asian qawwalis are a form of ecstatic Sufi devotional music whose purpose is to evoke oneness with the divine. The beauty of qawwali is that it’s an incredibly syncretic form—many different languages, moods, and tones make their way in, leading to a form of ecstatic engagement. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Sabri Brothers, and others were acclaimed exponents. In this class, we’ll listen to qawwalis, tinker with what makes the form so powerful, and do our own writing alongside this incredibly powerful music and verse.
Shankar Narayan explores identity, power, mythology, and technology in a world where the body is flung across borders yet possesses unrivaled power to transcend them. Shankar is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Fellow at Kundiman and at Hugo House, and winner of prizes from Flyway and Paper Nautilus. Shankar draws strength from his global upbringing and from his work as a civil rights attorney for the ACLU. His work has appeared in Jaggery, Panoply, Crab Creek Review, Raven Chronicles, The Litfuse Anthology, WA 129 (a collection of Washington state poems curated by Poet Laureate Tod Marshall), and many other publications. Shankar is a recent 4Culture grant recipient for Claiming Space, a project to lift the voices of writers of color. In Seattle, he awakens to the wonders of Cascadia every day, but his heart yearns east to his other hometown, Delhi.