The Islamic Garden
Abdullah Rolle - Nasheed
Singer with Rhyme and Reason
Musician Since Childhood
Abdullah Rolle was born in
to Islam, Rolle worked in the music industry for about twenty years. He
with one of his sisters playing guitar and classical piano, and he
when he was young. He studied music in
remembers, “Friends took me to a music workshop and I saw a well-known
recording and I was amazed. The whole thing – the recording in the
the buttons to push and the bright lights fascinated me.” During his musical career
he was playing
piano, but he never really got into singing. He studied piano and the
music, like scales and he worked long hours at this. He was soon to
was a talented singer. “One day at a workshop I got a microphone and
sing. Lots of people were listening and liked my sound. That was when I
to develop my singing ability,” says Rolle. With natural talent, Rolle
three years studying music and vocal arrangement and enjoyed being with
He used to go to studios and shows and saw how the whole business runs.
days, he produced albums for Sinead O Connor in
observes that there are not many positive messages in music today. He
listening to mainstream music a year after becoming a Muslim. At first
tried to introduce him to Islam but he was not ready to listen. He had
taught about Jesus, not Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). At
time he was continually around musicians and had adopted their
the same time, he was interested in learning about current affairs and
amazed at how the media so readily attacked Islam and Muslims.
the invasion of
Before accepting Islam, Rolle was teaching music to children in city learning centers. He focused on the needs of troubled youth who were having problems at home and had become lost in society. After becoming Muslim he drifted away from this, fearing that music is not permissible but having his own studio he was to find himself still drawn toward composing and singing.
Nasheed Artist Emerges
He was using his studio to prepare CDs of scholars’ lectures. He had not intended to get involved in music again but then one day he was watching Islam Channel and saw nasheed artists. Even though the songs were excellent, he was not satisfied with their performance. He found that Zain Bhikha was the best. However, until then he was still not thinking about singing himself. Then one day he went to his studio, and felt inspired to write a song and he started to sing. He wrote the chorus in one day and composed at the same time. He put the beat for the timing and put the chords to keep in tune. Then he pulled the beat and the music out and did the backing vocals and put some layers. That was about one year and a half ago.
He did not have the intention to do anything more with nasheeds after that. He just wanted to finish the song and it took a while to do that. What made him move on to the second song was a brother who had asked him to convert his tapes to CDs and Rolle played the song to him. The man loved it and encouraged Rolle to make some more songs. He was busy at that time, but he persevered and after three months the brother helped him get some sponsors. Rolle writes most of the lyrics himself and also does the composing.
While recording his current CD he was going through a very difficult time. “By the grace of Allah I was able to finish the album. I’m just hoping that Allah accepts it,” says Rolle. He has received very positive feedback about this CD from young and old; everyone seems to love it. Their comments make him want to keep going. “The great response has encouraged me to do it for the sake of Allah,’ observes Rolle. He has received comments like: ‘The Ummah needs more people like you’; ‘This song opened my eyes’; ‘I’ll never listen to music again after listening to this’ and ‘This makes me want to do more’.
comments, “I have a gift and I’ll try to use it as much as I can to
to Allah. This is part of my little contribution to Islam.” Rolle wants
to the prisons and perform some nasheeds and spend some time mentoring
youth. He concludes, “I’m not into the hype because people can get
away. I have to be truthful and real.” Rolle will launch his CD Peace in
(This article was first published on www.islamonline.net)Muslims making