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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Yusuf Mahmoud
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Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!


Musician: Yusuf Mahmoud

Location: Southall, West London

Instruments: voice, tabla, harmonium

Music: Afghan/ Sufi

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story


Listen  Listen (8'20) to an audio feature recorded at Yusuf Mahmoud's house in Southall. Presented by Reem Kelani. (Broadcast on Radio 3: 29/1/02)

Listen  Listen to Tchun Djaney Kharabat played by Yusuf Mahmoud (voice, harmonium) with his father Ustad Asif Mahmoud (tabla).


'They believe, in Sufiism, that we are a drip of water which has been separated from the sea...'

How I came to this music:

I started to sing at the age of 10- my father and my uncle used to teach me. When I was 12, I sang in a very respected Sufi ceremony every Thursday in Kabul. That ceremony used to start at 9 pm and go on until 4 am. I used to stay awake specially just to sing, waiting all week for that night. My time for singing was short - one or two songs. But I loved the atmosphere and the people and the place.

The Civil War got worse in Afghanistan -- they were after musicians and music. They were preparing to kill some musicians and my father was scared, so he left. We came to India in '88. I sang in India for a year - then I met a very old man who was playing tabla and teaching. He encouraged me to come back to the tabla, to the family tradition. Because we've had this tabla in our family for 200 years. I was 14 or 15 when I started tabla, but it was in my blood.

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