JJ: Dawud will be here this week for a concert. You need to take the kids.
JJ: Dawud Warnesby. His PR person was just in here and said there will be a concert on Saturday. He has a book for kids he’s promoting.
Me: I’ve never even heard of this guy. Lemme google him.
JJ: LOL. He’s good. The girls will love it. It will be a lot of fun.
Me: The website says next week, not this week.
JJ: Unless the PR guy is on crack, it’s this week.
Me: I don’t know. I’m not really a folk singer kinda fan. The only ‘religious’ singer the kids like is Maher Zain.
JJ: Sigh. Trust Me and go.
Me: Will you come with us? 🙂
So I send a few messages to Khaled asking if he would like to go, and I don’t really know any more information about it, but that JJ said the kids would like it. He was game.
The next day we get the mass marketing blast through the email with links to tickets, time, place and a video sample.
(If the video isn’t there, I’m sorry. I keep trying to embed the video here and it isn’t staying for some reason. Click on the link if you are curious.)
This was the first song I heard by Dawud. It was moving, and his voice is beautiful, and I thought okay, it might be good. We tentatively decided to go.
Then, on Friday, I get another text.
JJ: Dawud is here. He’s giving the students a mini-concert. Kate cannot stop smiling!!!
Me: That seals the deal. We are going.
JJ: I can’t see Pea.
Me: It’s okay. If Kate loves it, it will be worth going. I’m sure Pea is having a great time. Thanks for telling me!
I’m not a big fan of religious music. Growing up, we didn’t listen to devotional music, we listened to top 40 on the radio, the stuff my parents liked and the music my uncle played for us while he was babysitting. The only music group that I listened to on a semi regular basis that had a religious message was Creed. I only listened to them because I heard them on the radio. I like their guitar – rock, heavy sound. The message was a bonus. So, because this is where I am coming from, I was very doubtful. Plus, it was folk music.
Kate brought home the book and CD.
We listened to the CD in the car all Friday night. Kate and Pea loudly sang along. 😀
I was pretty apprehensive. I didn’t think that Mr. Fox would like the concert. He made fun of the songs on the CD. Khaled and I were of the mind that if Kate and Pea were having fun, it would be well worth it. I told Mr. Fox that we sat through Elmo Live! for him, willingly. He will sit and pretend to enjoy the concert for his sisters and not rain on their joy.
When we entered the concert area (the auditorium of the school) Dawud was there. I didn’t recognize him from the website. He looked like almost every other Muslim guy at the Masjid. Dressed in shades of brown, short hair, well-groomed beard. Khaled asked me if that was him, I didn’t know.
Once everyone was seated, the MC gave a wonderful introduction, and Dawud began to talk. He reminded me of a youth group leader. Y’no, the kind of person you would hang out with at church who plays music and leads songs and you end up being able to talk to about all the different stuff you worry about when you are a tween/teen (that pertains to your relationship with God, that is.)
Dawud told us a little about his life, and then he introduced his book of poems and how he ended up getting it published. He said the songs on the CD were recorded on his computer back in Pakistan, with a little help from his children, and his friend who lives in England hand painted the artwork for the book. Then somehow it got published, and now it is the first book of its kind to be available for purchase at ANY bookstore.
He introduced each song by telling us the story behind each song. The first part of the concert was geared towards the children. They joined him on stage with instruments, they sang along – knowing the words to the songs he sang on Friday and from the CD. They clapped and laughed and interacted. They were unafraid. They praised God and The Prophet without a hint of apprehension.
After the short intermission, there were a few songs aimed at the older members of the audience. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember those songs. The girls were tired by then, and were laying on our laps. Mr. Fox wasn’t interested any longer, because without the fun interaction, what is left is the folk music and the message. I was hoping Dawud would play ‘Don’t Talk to me About Mohammed’ because I really enjoyed that song, but he didn’t.
One of my favorite songs of the night was ‘Rose.’ Dawud told us about how a rose in the rain remained closed, tight and wrapped around itself for protection with its thorns showing. The rain being a metaphor for the words, images and voices that attack Muslims, and the closed rose being a little ugly, with its thorns showing a little harsh. In the song, Dawud sings about how beautiful it would be if we could all be like an open rose blossom with the bright, full petals showing unafraid.
Unafraid and unashamed to be what God intended.