A beautiful rendition of Nashid al Imamah by Afraaz Mulji at Aga Khan Museum

By MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher-Editor Simergphotos,  Simerg, and Barakah

Afraaz Mulji portrait. Photo: © Muslim Harji, Montreal.

Performances on Sunday, July 12, 2020: Noon, 1 and 3 PM
Location: Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto
Entrance: Free (or Pay as you wish)
Tickets: Click HERE

Afraaz Mulji was nearing the end of his piano rendition of Nashid al Imamah in a little corner on the main level of the Aga Khan Museum. He was wearing a leather outfit. It was hot. I was focused on taking the video as best as I could on my IPad. The Nashid could be heard all around the main museum floor, and a few occasional cheers went up during the performance. A visitor to the museum, Karima (she asked me not to use her full name) heard the rendition, and quickly hurried to where Afraaz was playing the piano. Afraaz finished about 10 seconds after she arrived at the site. The music had given her goosebumps, as she exclaimed “look, you can see, I have goose bumps. See for yourselves!” Yes, Afraaz’s rendition had touched everyone’s hearts. He played it once more at Karima’s request, and we stood there listening in awe. He took his break and was back again for another majestic performance of other compositions. It was a joyous day for Ismailis all around the world. My family is not with me, and visiting the Aga Khan Museum and walking through the Aga Khan Park has brought me a great deal of happiness in these uncertain times.

Afraaz Mulji performs the Nashid Al Imamah at Aga Khan Museum on July 11, 2020, 63rd Imamat Day of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Video: Malik Merchant / Simerg.

Afraaz was brought to my attention several months ago by Simerg’s regular photo contributor, Montreal’s Muslim Harji. But it was not until last Wednesday, July 8, that I first met him at his first solo performance at the Museum. Artists such as Afraaz are incredibly multi-talented. They play musical instruments, they are into poetry writing and they have so many interests in life that they energize your spirit. I took some photos and he suggested we go to the beautiful Bellerive Room containing a small collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan’s Islamic art. “I know where I want you to take my photo,” Afraaz tells me. He showed me the spot, beside the Simorg vase. “This is my favourite piece in this room.” Click. He would be an excellent guide, also. Actually, just as I departed the museum two of his friends came along to see the museum, and Afraaz was to be their guide. He knew the story about the Simorg and Attar’s Conference of the Birds. I reminded him that my blog name Simerg was contrived from simorg (also simorgh, simurg, simoorg, simorq, simurg, simoorg, simorq).

Afraaz Mulji Ismaili artists and musician Nishad al Imamah Aga Khan Museum
Leather clad Afraaz Mulji sits next to his favourite piece, the Simorg ceramic vase, in the Bellerive Room of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simergphotos.

Afraaz’s performances at the Museum have been phenomenal. Crowds however are still in low numbers because of Covid-19. Yesterday, it rained intermittently. We had barely finished our light snack at the courtyard when clouds covered the sky and the winds were rattling the canopy poles. We had to leave. But I hope to be back again at the Aga Khan Museum today Sunday July 12, to see Afraaz perform at noon, 1 PM and 3 PM. Come and listen to this incredibly talented Ismaili musician. I hope to write more about him in the near future.

Date posted: July 12, 2020.

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Click HERE for a Youtube video of Afraaz

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