Who is this Dawoud the Renegade Sufi Guy?

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Dawoud is a Musician

Inspired by the vast musical traditions from around the world; east and west, acoustic and electronic, modern and ancient, Dawoud’s music is often cited as having a spiritual and other-worldly quality. Urban legends have surfaced that his music generates powerful psychic effects. Yet his music is resonates easily with contemporary musical tastes.

An accomplished guitarist, bassist, sitarist and dilruba player, his experiments with applying multi-genre technique and electronics seek to extend the boundaries of the music. He has performed in the US, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Denmark, appeared on many recordings (including 15 self-produced solo albums), has composed for film, theater, and dance performances, and has enjoyed radio airplay in the US, Europe, Russia, and Indonesia. Dawoud has performed, either as a band leader, solo artist, or with others at venues such as the Apollo Theater, Town Hall, the Blue Note, Birdland, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has produced several of his own concerts in New York City, Chicago, and Milwaukee. In addition to this, he is also accomplished with electronic music, and composing orchestral and chamber music in neo-classical styles (in 2021, he was accepted as a member of the New York Composers Circle).

Some of the people he has worked with include Lauryn Hill, Nona Hendryx, Marie Alphonso (Zap Mama), Mark Deutsch, DJ Celt Islam, SoSaLa, the Brooklyn Raga Massive Orchestra, Mansoor Scott (formerly with Leon Thomas), Jojo Kao (formerly with Fela Kuti), Akim Funk Buddha & Dha-Fusion, Daniel Carter, Sayyd Abdul Khabir (formerly with Duke Ellington, Count Basie), Idries Muhammad (formerly with George Benson, Etta James, Joe Lovano, Pharoah Saunders, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turentine, etc.), Melvin Sparks (formerly with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Leon Thomas, etc.), Junni Booth (formerly with Elvin Jones, Rahsaan Roland Kirk), Shelley Nichole’s Black Bushe, and many others.

After years of experimenting with modifications of the instruments he plays (including the sitar synthesizer), Dawoud is designing and building new instruments. As of this writing, he is at work on the Dautar, a hybrid instrument combining elements of the guitar, sitar, and cello. This is being built by the Limulus Musical Instrument Company.

Dawoud is a Writer

Dawoud is a natural storyteller.

For years Dawoud wrote for several magazines. His blogs gained him some notoriety. In 2013 his first novel, A Quantum Hijra: A Sufi Science Fiction Story was published by Leilah Publications. The book attempted to bridge the gap between religion and science. In 2015, Leilah released his second book, a collection of short stories titled A Mansion with Many Rooms. Relations with Leilah began to sour in 2016, and both books went out of print. 

In the interim, Dawoud began working on a new book titled “Bedtime Stories for Musicians,” which he plans to publish in 2023. He is also in the early stages of writing another Sufi science fiction novel and a book on the arcane spiritual aspects of music.

A great deal of his writing skills can be found on doobeedoobeedoo.info, the official publication of Musicians For Musicians and here on Substack.

Dawoud is an Artist

After decades of doing art as a hobby, Dawoud was convinced by a friend to submit his work for consideration in an art exhibit. In 2015, his work was featured in the exhibit “On the Inner and Outer Worlds”, curated by Openings Collective, and displayed at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. This would be the first time his work was displayed in public. His work has also been exhibited at other venues.

Dawoud’s work is multimedia, using whatever materials he feels will achieve the effect he seeks. All of the artwork on the God’s Unruly Friends and Dawoud solo CD releases is Dawoud’s work. The artwork melds stream of consciousness with beautiful hallucinatory dreamscapes. Many artists employ disturbing imagery to make a statement. While Dawoud respects this, his own work seeks to invoke beauty, peace, and depth of thought and contemplation. His work is described as having a dreamlike and hallucinatory effect. Established artists have expressed their admiration of his work as being very original. 

Inspired by this, Dawoud began working on video production. He produced and released several music videos from 2018 to the present day. His work uses multiple video techniques, including experiments in AI art. He has also produced music videos for other artists, including Celt Islam and others.

Dawoud hopes to produce and direct short films in the future.

Dawoud is also,,,

Beginning at the age of 19, Dawoud had worked as a live sound engineer. He later learned recording engineering, and worked as a radio engineer for Multicultural Radio Broadcasting, Inc.. He had two radio programs, both called The Overnight Shift, that ran on WNWK-FM (1998), and on WPAT-AM (2017-2020).

Dawoud is a Muslim, having accepted Islam in 1994. Between 1998 and 2020, he worked as a volunteer Islamic minister for the New York City Department of Corrections (retiring during the pandemic), and did occasional work as a substitute Imam and muezzin at Masjid al-Farah in New York City, as well as other charitable works. 

He is also involved in activism in the music community. He is a member of Musicians For Musicians (MFM), a musician’s rights activist foundation, for whom he also hosts and co-produces their official podcast, and writes for their official online magazine doobeedoobeedoo.info, and newsletter. 

He has also begun experimenting with stand up comedy.

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I'm a musician, composer, improviser, producer, writer, artist, and whatever else I can get away with.