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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zain Bhikha

Birth name Zain Bhikha
Born August 9, 1974 (1974-08-09) (age 34)
Origin Pretoria, South Africa
Genre(s) Islamic Pop Nasheed
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, Musician
Instrument(s) Vocals
African Drums
Label(s) Jamal Records/Mountain of Light
Associated Yusuf Islam, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Rashid Bhikha

Zain Bhikha, born August 9, 1974, is a South African Muslim singer-songwriter, who has achieved fame as a performer of nasheed songs. Tied to other prominent Muslim entertainers, including Yusuf Islam and Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Bhikha has collaborated on albums with other artists, and has released several solo albums as well. He has written several religious albums concerning Islam.

Bhikha may best be known outside of the Muslim community by his performance with a drummer and several backup vocalists who are most famous for being the African singers in the famous Disney cartoon movie The Lion King.[1]

Bhikha's music almost exclusively follows Islamic themes, with only voice and drums being used, since the use of musical instruments other than the voice and the drum is an area of debate in Muslim jurisprudence, considered harām, or "unlawful" by a large portion of the Muslim community. His voice is unmistakable; it is high and sweet, with an overall feeling of gentleness. He has mastered the art of harmony, and is proficient as both a lead vocalist and as a singer of backing vocals. While not a falsetto, the timbre of his voice sounds higher than that of most performers. It has been compared to the singing voice of Western pop musician Michael Jackson.

Early life

Born to parents Rashid and Mariam Bhikha on August 9, 1974 in Pretoria, South Africa, Zain Bhikha is one of four children, with three sisters; Zubida, Aysha and Nasima. [2] He started singing from a young age, though entertaining his family and friends were enjoyable past-times, and he did not have any belief that his singing would take him further from that point. In 1994, Bhikha entered a singing competition sponsored by a local radio station. His song was recorded on a home karaoke system and won first place over others with far more experience. After this unexpected accomplishment, he was approached by a the Pretoria Muslim School, who asked him to write and record a new school anthem for them. Inspired by this, Bhikha did so, and afterward composed a complete album, entitled A Way of Life, an album named in a reference to the Deen of Islam. [3] This was a compilation of a cappella Islamic songs, mostly in English covering the various tenets of Muslim faith. The album took only two weeks to complete, and marked a significant turning point in Bhika's life and musical career.

As his visibility as an artist in South Africa grew, other artists seeking to reach Muslim youth with music came to be familiar with his work, including world-renowned musician and prominent convert to Islam, Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens).

Meeting Yusuf Islam

Yusuf Islam had begun to write and compile songs for educating Muslim children, featuring the title song of his upcoming album called A is for Allah. The album, named for the title song, "A is for Allah" was one Islam wrote when his first child was a baby, to teach her both the Arabic alphabet and the Deen of Islam, using each letter to note a word that was very significant in the life of a Muslim. In 1999, Bhikha was invited to fly to the United Kingdom to join Yusuf Islam's Mountain of Light Studios to begin recording, and added his vocals on seven of the eight songs on the album. With no formal musical training, Bhikha gained valuable experience from his connection to Yusuf Islam. During the production of the album Bhikha was signed as a new recording artist under Mountain of Light's record label, Jamal Records. His first introduction to the international stage was with Yusuf Islam on the album A is for Allah after which he has gone on to release 4 solo albums to date. He also, like his new colleague and friend, became involved in educational projects for Muslim youth, both internationally and in South Africa, to use music to educate others about Islam.

A Way of Life sparked the beginning of many more album releases; Praise to the Prophet (1996), Fortunate is He (1997), and The Journey (1998). Bhikha's songs enjoyed some popularity at a time when there were few songs that young children might understand. Bhikha was a pioneer in the nasheed genre. When Bhihka started singing, Islamic songs were not being sung in English. As one of the first Islamic singers to record songs in English, Bhikha opened the door for many other artists.

Later, in a 2005 talk before a congregation celebrating the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday, Islam spoke of the goal they had for young people, to interest them in the faith through music and the use of spoken word.
"There is a great deal of ignorance in the world about Islam today, and we hope to communicate with the help of something more refined than lectures and talks. Our recordings are particularly appealing to the young, having used songs as well as Holy Qu'ran verses with pleasing sound effects..." -Yusuf Islam 2005

With the help of Mountain of Light and the worldwide distribution power of Jamal Records, Bhikha has released his two compilation albums incorporating all material he had done thus far. These albums were entitled Children of Heaven and Towards the Light, featuring some remixed songs. Since then, he has released his first solo album under the label entitled Faith (2001). The songs in this album deal with a broad spectrum of emotions from hardships to happiness although Bhikha attempts to continuously remind the listener of the never ending companionship of Allah. The album also brought about collaborations between Bhikha and a well-known Nasheed artist, Dawud Wharnsby Ali.

Touring and gaining popularity, Bhikha released Our World in 2002. Bhikha hopes this album will be a more accurate portrayal of the unity which Islam is intended to bring to all cultures, languages and traditions through God's will (or, the Will of Allah). His eldest son, Rashid, made his singing debut on this album with a voice not unlike that of his father. The title track for his album is a prayer for a better world for all people, one free of prejudice and war.

Zain Bhikha Studios

In 2005, Bhikha established a South African company called Zain Bhikha Studios. This company serves to house all of Bhikha's present and future works in all fields: song albums, educational projects through schools or theatre productions. He began this with the intention of giving local and international artists the platform to gain exposure through his experience and resources in the industry. Although he established his own company, Bhikha has continued his long time relationship with Jamal Records. The two companies formed a partnership and Jamal Records remains the driving force behind Bhikha's international recognition and has exclusive international distribution of his work.

With the birth of his new company came the first album to be produced under the Zain Bhikha Studios label, Mountains of Makkah. This album was inspired by Bhikha's Hajj (or pilgrimage) to Makkah (Mecca) in 2004. One of the five pillars of Islam, the Hajj is a compulsory journey for all Muslims who can afford the trip. Both the content and composition of this album reveal both growth and maturity for the artist. The lyrics are a personal reflection of his thoughts and feelings while partaking in a profound spiritual journey.

Bhikha continues to work in South Africa producing both educational and inspirational works for one and all. His most recent album is called Allah Knows, which once again reunites him with friend and Canadian artist, Dawud Wharnsby Ali. This album is dedicated to the journey of all children and was written specifically for Zain's son Rashid Bhikha who guested on his famous father's album, and who now appears with his father at the annual World Islamic Conventions, singing rap music, with the words still incorporating the values of Islam.

Other interests

In addition to music, Bhikha also writes and directs plays written specifically for schools. One of his many successful school plays, An Orphans Tale, which he produced in conjunction with the Pretoria Muslim School, was a great success and brought a full house for all three nights that it ran in October 2003.

On an international level, Bhikha has performed with a long list of artists that include Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Ashiq al Rasul, Hasan Kalicitan, Khalid Belhrouzhi, Native Deen, Qatrunada, Imad Rami, Sami Yusuf, Jeewan Chanicka, Irfan Makki, Khaleel Mohammed and his mentor, Yusuf Islam. In his many local and regional performances for Islamic schools, lunches, fetes and dinners, Zain has performed with local artists like Faeeza Malinga, Ziyaad Patel, Imran Dhaya and his son, Rashid Bhikha.

Bhikha's songs are mainly self-written and are driven by emotion and the need to reassure people that there is always hope and turning to God is the answer to the core for our everyday questions and confusion. Many of his songs represent different times in his life when he was learning and remembering how necessary God's presence is. His albums have now been launched in many countries including the United Kingdom, North America, Malaysia, France, Turkey, The Middle East, and Australia. He has performed live in cities across most continents and has become somewhat of a household name when it comes to Islamic Music.

Current work

Bhikha is currently involved in educational projects in his native South Africa as well as international initiatives to educate through song.[3]

On April 24, 2008, Bhikha participated in a new, international, annual singing competition on the Prophet Muhammed's birthday, named the Al Mahabbah Awards Festival, in Abu Dhabi. Bhikha was particularly noted for his performance accompanied by the drummer and several singers who provided backing vocals that brought his sound to fame with their performances on Disney's The Lion King. One song they performed was "Peace Train", made popular by Yusuf Islam.[1]

p/s : artis pertama yang nureen minat...pendekatan yg digunakan amat senang utk didekati n difahami.lagu yg dismpaikan lbh santai dan mudh difahami.

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