Riyaaz Qawwali is a SouthAsian-American musical ensemble that specializes in Qawwali, a genre of music from Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. Their performances showcase South Asia’s rich poetic and musical heritage to new audiences. While paying homage to 700-year-old cultural and lyrical tradition, the musicians tailor their performances to their audiences based on the audience’s exposure to this genre. They have been covered by NPR, Huffington Post, Miami Herald, NY Times, and other major publications. Riyaaz actively engages the audience in the performance, whether they be in a large performing arts center or a small classroom. The ensemble includes 5 vocalists, 2 percussionists, and 1 harmonium (accordion) player. They are the only US ensemble representing this genre and have played for schools, universities, museums, festivals, and state events. In addition to concerts, Riyaaz’s programming options include community engagements, festival appearances, and/or educational sessions (lecture-demonstrations). The educational sessions could be: (1) a deep dive into this Islamic music, (2) understanding the 700-year old poetry, (3) understanding the historical impact of this genre, or (4) understanding South Asia through the arts. Riyaaz’s artistic director has authored a book on Qawwali and Sufi music. This can act as an optional reading for the sessions. Photo by Riyaaz Qawwali.

Additional information



Contact name

Sonny Mehta

Contact address

3505 Queensburg Lane Friendswood TX 77546

Phone 1


Phone 2

Public performance

$4000 – $8000

School performance

$2500 – $3950

Workshop fees

$750 – $2000

Travel per diem lodging

$350 – $1000




Special audiences

Festivals, Hands-on activities, Libraries, People with disabilities, Schools, Seniors

School audiences

Elementary, High, Middle

Venue size

Larger, Medium, Smaller, Unplugged, Very Large

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