May 5, 2014 By Birjooo

Muslimgauze: Beyond the Hypnotic Sufi Gimmick


Why am I not blessed with the kinda music which Bryn Jones dished out under the banner Muslimgauze?  This is the question one can’t help asking in a climate of fear and victimhood. Next month 15 years will have been over since the passing away of Jones. We listen to politics trumpeted. But once in several months. Jazz and hip-hop need not necessarily be political. And corporate sponsors are up in arms to buy your dissent. They set you a stage, they are ready to televise, and a million is out there to share you in the YouTube. But what is lost in the process of letting yourselves be co-opted is your Voice. That is the difference Bryn Jones made. Pathetic; we are just deluded by Sufism well-orchestrated in studios set by the Coke. Yes, the offence is meant: I am not amused by your issue on Coke Studio.

In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon. That is when Bryn Jones came out with Muslimgauze, which clenched its musical fist against the violation. Listen how Jones explain the name: ‘Muslim is the name of a material object, gauze and it is someone’s belonging to a faith. Both these are merged in the name Muslimgauze. It is all about my interest in a particular part of world. The Arab world.’ A sympathizer of  Palestinian resistance against Israel, Bry Jones discography includes Jazirat-Ul-Arab (1987), The Rape of Palestine (1988), Iran (1988), United States of Islam (1991), Zulm (1992), Vote Hezbollah (1993), Hamas Arc (1993), Veiled Sisters (1993) are all provocatively original and have the effect of spitting at the imperial powers that be.
Bryn Jones may not be a Muslim as per your conventional definition of the word Muslim. He is not a mosque goer. But if to have a heart which bleeds, when it hears the cry of millions of children in war-ravaged terrains, is part of your faith, the Muslim in Muslimgauze means a lot to me. Bryn Jones was once asked why despite being a lover of the Middle East he had not gone to visit the land. He said: ‘I would never go to an occupied land, others shouldn’t. Zionists living off Arab land and water is not a tourist attraction. To have been in a place is not important. So you can’t be against apartheid unless you have been in South Africa? You cannot be against the Serbs killing Muslims in Bosnia unless you have been there? I think not.’
Of all the albums of Bryn Jones, you cannot overlook my favorite: Zul’m, which is dedicated to the unknown Palestinians buried in mass graves in Al-Riqqa cemetery, Kuwait city.

If you want to go beyond the soporific Sufi gimmicks of Coke, feel free to listen Muslimgauz

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