There are many ways to tell a story and many stories to tell. One of the most powerful forms of sharing our thoughts, feelings, memories, culture and endless lineage of wisdom is through poetry, for the incredible art of storytelling lays within the heart of the storyteller.
Alia Gabres is a Melbourne based Poet and Storyteller. She is also a Creative Producer in Arts Programming at the Footscray Arts Centre currently. Her main interest is in using arts practice as a site for knowledge generation and cultural transmission. Alia has been part of the Global Poetics National Tour, curated the Spoken Word explorations series ‘Tell it like it is,’ been invited as Teaching Artist in Residence with Minor Disturbance Youth Slam team in Denver Colorado, produced an intergenerational narrative development project in California entitled “Our Parents were Children Once” with acclaimed poet and academic Mark Gonzales, had her video ‘Cotton Summer Dresses’ selected as a finalist as part of the National Blake Prize, has been featured as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival and has been selected as the artist in residence at the Kunci Cultural Institute in Indonesia.
See Alia’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Born and bred in the Bay Area is the creative, Tyson Amir. He is a rapper with poignant cadence, enlightening lyrics, and music with enough heart and soul to cross over generations. He is also a poet, song writer, label owner, designer, educator, and lover of humanity. Each one of these layers are intricately involved in this man’s drive for purpose.
His recent album, aptly named Purpose, is a ‘coming to’ from a long musical journey. A hip hop gospel that embodies the realization of what he has known from an early age; music is his purpose. As a kid, he and his friends held up “will rap for food” signs. One would rap, the other would make a beat, and they’d all reap the reward. Since adolescence, he has been delivering stark truths over tight beats.
See Tyson’s full Creative Ummah here.
Baraka Blue is an emcee and spoken word artist residing in Oakland Ca. Part of Muslim musicians collective Remarkable Current, Baraka Blue has performed all over the US as well as the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. His first album, “Sound Heart” was released in 2010. He is acclaimed for his original synthesis of spoken word poetry with the tradition of Sufi poets such as Rumi and Hafiz. His book of poetry, entitled “Disembodied Kneelings,” was recently published by Remarkable Current Collective Editions. In addition to his performances he has taught classes and led creative writing workshops internationally. Baraka Blue is currently pursuing his Masters Degree with a focus on Sufism and Psychology. His sophmore album “Majunun’s Lost Memoirs” will be released soon.
See Baraka’s full Creative Ummah Profile here
Amir Sulaiman is a poet, recording artist, activist and newly appointed Harvard Fellow, born in Rochester, New York. His poems cross subjects of love, tragedy as well as what it means to reconcile humanity with the unprecedented trials of modernity. He has performed his works across the US as well as many other countries including England, Belgium, Senegal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Iran and the Netherlands, and continues to tour world-wide. His recently published book of poetry, “Love, Gnosis & Other Suicide Attempts” met with critical acclaim, in addition to his latest album “The Opening,” the third in a unique trilogy project, following “The Meccan Openings” (2011) and “The Medinan Openings” (2012). Amir was first introduced to a National audience in 2005 when he was featured for two seasons on Russell Simmons’ groundbreaking series Def Poetry Jam on HBO.
See Amir’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Mark has been described as ‘Khalil Gibran meets Pablo Neruda.’ With over 15 years of experience in global research aggregating emotional intelligence, sacred education, design thinking & human development, Mark Gonzales is reshaping genetic memory.
As Chief Storyteller for WageBeauty, he brings his trademark synthesis of poetry and the psychology of every day people to an analog world and digital sphere. Mark has been an HBO Def Jam poet who has shared his writing and experiences on stage around the world. He was featured at the first TEDxRamallah talks held in Palestine. As a community builder he was an invited speaker at the United Nations tribunal on Social Exclusion. Mark’s work breaks borders to wage beauty across continents of language and culture, which has earned him respect for his creative approaches to suicide prevention, human rights and human development.
See Mark’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Yassin “The Narcicyst” Alsalman is a leading Arab musician, actor and multimedia artist who has shared his work in forums like TedEx, the Dubai International Film Festival, the Melbourne Festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Currently a solo artist, Yassin has performed across North-America, Europe and the Middle East, sharing the stage with influential Hip Hop acts like Kanye West, Wu-tang Clan, IAM, Public Enemy and Mos Def to name a few. His acting career includes roles in cinema and television, including a nominated role in Dubai-based feature film CITY OF LIFE. Yassin is the author of a book entitled “The Diatribes”, about the beginnings of the Arab Hip-Hop movement in America, and has penned a series of OP-Editorials for CNN and the Huffington Post.
See Narcy’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Poetic Pilgrimage is a female Hip Hop and Spoken Word duo who express the world as they see it through the art of rhyme. They are a rare act, being one of the few Muslim female outfits around and they bring a refreshing perspective to issues of identity, global politics and women’s issues inspired by their faith and legacy of their ancestors.
See Poetic Pilgrimage’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Brother Ali is an American hip hop artist, community activist and member of the Rhymesayers Entertainment hip hop collective.
Ali converted to Islam at age 15, during this time he was selected to join a group of students on a Malaysian study tour, in which they explored the way that a more liberal Islamic society could peacefully coexist with different religions.
Brother Ali has appeared on The Late Late Show where he and performed his hit single “Uncle Sam Goddamn” from The Undisputed Truth. He also appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and performed “Take Me Home” and then appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and was featured with late night band The Roots.
See Ali’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has released three hip hop albums, two poetry books (including “Parang”), appeared on ABC’s Q&A and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House.
See Omar’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Matuse is a solo artist who is super talented in all things film and music. He conveys the struggle of the people and their stories through Hip-Hop — heavy with meaningful lyrics and raw emotion.
Early in Matuse’s career, his music and acting talent was featured in the TV film, “Jammin in the Middle E,” on SBS. This led him to feature in the short film, “Between the Flags,” where he was awarded with the Best Male Actor award at the 2007 Tropfest Short Film Festival.
See Matuse’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Alia Sharrief’s music has been featured in several articles and news blogs since the release of her debut album, “Mental Cycles and Mood Swings” in 2012. Since then she has performed all over California and even as far as Sri Lanka and New York City for the 40th Anniversary of the Universal Zulu Nation. Now she is working on her new album, “Back On My Deen” that takes the listener’s understanding of Hiphop and Islam to another level. “Back On My Deen” also addresses current dilemmas in Black America and her brand of “female Hiphop.” Stay tuned as Alia Sharrief makes moves to change the face of music and media towards a more positive and creative direction.
See Alia’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
The Brothahood use hip-hop as a tool to break down stereotypes and misconceptions. They’ve created a whole new theme to the Australian hip hop scene whilst maintaining hip hop’s core essence: taught and intelligent rhymes and production skills that are sharp and always on point.
Disillusioned with modern hip-hop’s celebration of gun play and misogyny, the Brothahood tracks are reflections on real life and on the struggles of real people who are deemed ‘outsiders’ by their society.
See The Brotherhood’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Ahmad Al Rady is a spoken word artist, university student, young community leader, social activist, and change maker. He is the co-founder of the Bankstown Poetry Slam in NSW, a monthly poetry reading attracting an audience of over 300 people a month (officially making it Australia’s largest regular slam).
He has performed at the “Speaking of Home” UAE tour, the “Write on the World” Australian interstate spoken word tour and the 2014 Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Check out Ahmad’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
Zohab Zee Khan
Zohab Khan is the current Australia Poetry Slam Champion, didgeridoo player, harmonica beat-boxer and hip-hop artist. Zohab has toured Asia, the Middle East and Europe to sell-out crowds. In 2014, Zohab was a finalist in the International Poetry Slam in Madrid and was chosen to participate in an artistic residency in Dubai.
Zohab offers a unique program combining spoken-word poetry and self-development. With the incorporation of self-development techniques, spoken-word poetry becomes not just a platform for self-expression but also one to inspire change and increase productivity. Zohab has conducted his workshops throughout businesses and schools around the world.
Check out Zohab’s full Creative Ummah Profile here
A Sydney based artist with an Iraqi background. Eiman migrated to Australia at the age of 2 years. She will be graduating with a Bachelor of Creative Arts Majoring in Visual Arts, from the University of Wollongong. She has fallen immensely in love with art and poetry, in which she has utilised the both to express her opinion. She does this by sharing her valuable experiences in politics, religion, identity and the migration of her family. Eiman is highly passionate and devoted to art and poetry.
Following her artistic dream has not always been easy however, it is one that she strives to excel in due to the extensive passion and determination she acquires. Such optimism has helped her grow more towards pursuing her dreams as a creative artist and poet. She has displayed her creative work at the annual art exhibition at Club Marconi, The Bryan Brown Theatre, M2 Gallery, The Bankstown Arts Centre and The Art Gallery of The University of Wollongong.
Check out Eiman’s full Creative Ummah Profile here.
About the Author:
Just some dude who likes to pretend he is a writer… He draws the odd cartoon sometimes as well… Oh, he also likes to believe that he is somehow a coffee aficionado and is an occasional #TotesOrganic ironic hipster. Check out his full profile here.