Zain Bhikha, renowned Islamic nasheed songwriter and singer, has been bringing joy to Muslim households in South Africa for 25 years. To commemorate this, he has partnered with Islamic Relief to mark the organization’s 15 years of operation in South Africa. Nabila Mayet spoke to him about the Evening of Inspiration event that will be hosted in October this year and which features Omar Regan (USA) and Ali Offical 9UK).
Q: 25 years on the scene is quite a feat. Tell us how the Evening of Inspiration (EOI) commemorates this?
A: Firstly, we are very excited about the EOI coming up and this year we are absolutely thrilled to announce our theatrical production: Storytime with Zain Bhikha. What’s more, is the delightful and very funny Omar Regan will be performing in this show too!
My first cassette tape was launched 25 years ago when I was just 19 years old and now 25 years later I want to commemorate this occasion with a special edition product by taking the top 30 songs that are closest to my heart, and rerecording it.
I learnt a thing or two as the years went by and so I want to “master” every song. This took me back into the studio where I revisited every one of those 30 songs.
Six songs out of these 30 are being remixed and made “fresh”. Some of the songs on the album include:
Give thanks to Allah
Praise to the prophet
I remember your smile
Fortunate is he
A is for allah
Mountains of Makkah
My Mom is Amazing
Land of Revelation
Cotton Candy Sky
It will be launched as a double album. In addition to this, Zain Bhikha Studios has created a limited edition lyrics book with a difference. We ran a campaign where visual artists from around the world had to come up with a piece of art to match the song. 30 artists from around the world will be featured and this book will be launched at the show. We also have produced a limited edition USB with all 30 songs. It’s in the shape of a cassette which obviously is reminiscent of my very first cassette tape.
Q: Why do you think it important for our community to host events like the EOI?
A: Well, the main purpose of these events is to help those in need by raising funds. In addition to this, these events bring us together as a community. We get to showcase unique talents, educate the public and provide some inspiration.
Q: Please comment on Omar Regan, he has been featured in some of your videos?
A: Omar Regan needs no introduction. He is a close friend and has been featured in some of my latest videos as the funny and adventurous teacher. I think his talent is amazing and he is also a truly special human being.
Q: Tell us more about your involvement with EOI
A: The Evening of Inspiration is where I first became involved with Islamic Relief in the UK and it has become a very important event for me because it is in aid of orphans. I have always loved the 1-1 orphan program- you get to know who the orphan is. It is a very personal process which transcends giving money. We hope that through this event we can also raise awareness around Islamic Relief’s projects which are making a big difference in the areas they operate.
Q: Tell us more about Storytime with Zain Bhikha?
A: This year we wanted to tie in a story with a strong moral message by utilizing the most popular songs with children such as; Allah made Everything, Cotton Candy Sky and Pizza in my Pocket, showcasing it in a “musical” form. We are very fortunate that Omar will be in the play (He comes out of the machine and plays the character like in the videos: The adventurous and fun teacher).
The show is inspired by my niece, Safiya. She is eleven years old and like all children, she is lost in technology. The show will hopefully encourage children to step away from all the technology and engage in the real world.
With five shows in SA we also hope to take the whole theatre show to the UK and showcase it with children from there with one aim: telling stories and learning lessons
Q: You will have children in the play. What is your message to them?
A: I’d say that the most important thing is to have fun because we are doing something entirely different and audiences don’t know what to expect. If the kids are having fun on stage it will translate well to the audience. Have fun but know your responsibility and take the lessons from the play – technology is great but we must see what’s around us and appreciate it.
To purchase tickets to the Evening of Inspiration, click here