Rahim Quazi Wants To See You Smile

kessler1by Sally-Page Stuck

In a sold out performance at the Kessler Theatre on July 17, singer-songwriter Rahim Quazi debuted his newest album, Ghost Hunting.

Quazi handpicked the opening musical acts. It was a seemingly disjointed mix, but worked together in what became one of the most memorable concerts this writer has experienced.

The crowd was equally mixed: a tattooed man in a torn sleeveless Harley Davidson shirt, a mother and son giggling while taking selfies, pretty girls in perilous heels, international musicians. 

Mark Landson and Katelyn Harris opened the show with Bach and tap dancing. Landson is the director of Open Classical, the group that brings classical music to new venues. I told you about them first, here in CraveDFW.

Landson was then joined by his string quartet Neo Camerata. They played original works by Landson himself. Folks, I tried to do justice to Landson’s compositions, but words failed this wordsmith. Some music transcends words and becomes its’ own language. Each piece expressed different emotions. All you could do was feel.

Next, came Wesley Geiger and The Texas Gentlemen. They play a genre-defying set. Basically, they play what they like. The result was a mix of Southern rock, western twang, Leon Russell, Bob Dylan and blues. At their core, they superb musicians and songwriters.

kessler2

Then, the stage grew dark, lit only by a picture of a haunted house in Jefferson, Texas. A recording of a conversation between Rahim Quazi and his daughter played. Suddenly, you heard screams — the screams of a ghost. That scream can be heard on the album’s title track.

Ghost Hunting is deeply personal journey for Quazi. According to Quazi’s website, Ghost Hunting is “about the ghosts of our pasts and the ghosts we live with. I still find hope though in these relationships always knowing that there is a way to reach each other and ourselves.” His songs were inspired by the loss of a marriage, a stepmother, a friend and finally finding new relationships in music, friends and family.

His daughter, Jessica joined him for the song, “Tiny Flowers,” a song expressing Quazi’s love for his children. Someone from the audience yelled “Happy Father’s Day!” Both Quazi and his daughter were visibly shaken with happy tears, then sang the lyrics, “Oh tiny flower, grow tiny flower…. take this love.”

Quazi admits unabashedly to being influenced by John Lennon. In fact, he named his son after the former Beatle. The ghost of John Lennon can be heard in Quazi’s music. Neo Camerata joined Quazi’s band, reminiscent of The Beatles incorporation of classical elements. Ghost Hunting sounds like what Lennon would have recorded had he not met with an untimely death.
Quazi invited the audience to sing along on the song, “I Want To See You Smile”. After traveling through the themes of death, loss and rebirth, this song became the take-away message:

“Oh some say, some day…
Love will find you.
Won’t you come around?
I wanna see you smile.”

Ghost Hunting is available at Good Records. Go buy it. It will make you smile.

B&W photo courtesy of Gary Ardirsch    color photo courtesy of Serkan Zanagar

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