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Seniors in Atlanta’s Matki Band performing at the Diamond Jubilee Opening Ceremonies on July 11, 2017.

Recreation plays a key role in the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone, young and old. For seniors especially, involvement in recreation has a number of benefits in enhancing cognitive and motor skills, and provides an opportunity for socializing and developing new talents. For a group of seniors in the USA, a passion for music has shown that age is no limit to composing and performing for themselves and others.

Fairouz Nishanova joined AKDN in 2000 and has served as Director of the Aga Khan Music Initiative since 2005. In this capacity, she has overseen the creation of the Aga Khan Music Awards’ structure and the organisation of its inaugural ceremony.

As part of a series of interviews, Fairouz Nishanova discusses the work of the Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI), and its positive impact in strengthening community, identity, and access to diverse forms of cultural expression. The.Ismaili is pleased to publish this interview ahead of the inaugural Aga Khan Music Awards to commence later today.

Members of the Canadian Jamat participate in a music video for the devotional song "Aaya Mawlana" written and composed by Zaheed Damani and Alya Bejaoui.

In 1978, the Canadian Jamat awaited Hazar Imam’s first visit to Canada with excitement. Shamshu Jamal, a talented Vancouver musician, expressed his joy on this blessed occasion by composing “Maara Mawla Canada Padhaarshe,” the devotional music piece that would go on to become an iconic musical tribute in the Canadian Ismaili community for generations.

Zia (left) is currently exploring western fusion. He has formed a band, along with four other musicians from Hunza.

In Pakistan, music is a form of cultural expression representing society’s values, traditions, and hopes for the future. From mountainous Gilgit-Baltistan in the North to Karachi on the Southern coast, people have a deep relationship with music and other forms of art. 

Rafiq at the National Sawdust Concert, Brooklyn, New York, April 2018.

What is your first memory of music? Can you remember a time when you were so engrossed in a musical compilation that you forgot where you were physically? Many members of the Jamat use music as a connection to their heritage, their upbringing, and their community. In this article we will explore some of their stories.

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