For some people, the image of a Canadian folk singer can be a specific one. Typically speaking, one might picture a person with a sort of hipster or alternative look. Perhaps they are wearing a very artsy oversized hat or maybe even sporting some tattoos.
In the case of Audrey Saparno, she is a musician who defies stereotypes across the board. A Canadian woman of Indonesian decent, she does not wear quirky hats, fancy boots or any tattoos. She sports a hijab, an acoustic guitar slung over her shoulder, and a bright smile for all to see.
Nader Khan is a Indian Canadian singer/songwriter, arts educator and social activist. Over the last 20 years, he has toured and performed across Canada, USA, South Africa, UK, the West Indies, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore in solo performances, and on tours with other internationally renowned artists and scholars. Nader has spearheaded various social justice initiatives that promote local and international relief efforts through Islamic devotional music, arts, youth engagement, and inspiration. In 2013, Nader established #ShareTheProphet, bringing together service and devotion by channeling 100% of sales revenue from future albums into humanitarian causes. His second album, Water was released in May 2015 to widespread critical acclaim. 100% of the album sales of Water will be going to WaterAid Canada. Nader is an Ontario Arts Council Arts Educator, delivering workshops on drumming, Islam and music as well as social justice in schools throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Egyptian singer Hamza Namira, who is considered to be the unofficial Artist of the Egyptian Revolution during which he was a fixture in Tahrir Square, performed in Ottawa on Sunday, October 27th to a packed audience. Namira was in Ottawa as part of his first-ever Canadian tour, which is a fundraiser for Islamic Relief Canada's projects in Egypt. PeaceMidan, a non-profit organization which aims to build on the momentum of the Arab Spring in order to foster civic engagement and social entrepreneurship in Arab countries, organized Namira's visit. “Hamza Namira is the voice of hope, not only in Egypt but in the Middle East region,” explained Mohamed Abouelsaoud, co-founder and vice-president of PeaceMidan.
Friday, Feb. 24, and Ottawa receives one the heaviest snowfalls of the year. But that doesn't deter Maher Zain fans who throng Tudor Hall this evening, prepared with flags, lyrics in mind and warmed up voices. Multi-platinum singer, songwriter and performer Maher Zain has come from afar, and the Ottawa audience has been waiting for him for a long, long time.
"Is he going to sing Insha'Allah (Maher's hit song from his debut album)?” the crowd keeps asking the organizers.