Desert Rose

A tale of love and courage.

The sun went supernova when the vastly different worlds of Yusuf and Lynne collided. The flourish of creativity and crosspollination of musical backgrounds started a musical revolution in Cape Town, ending in a banning or fatwa from the Muslim judicial council. Yusuf and Lynne dared to do what had never been done –to cross the religious, cultural divide amongst sectors of society who had lived together for hundreds of years, yet had absolutely no knowledge of one another. For the first time the sounds of Africa, Europe and Malaysia were united into one voice, one music, and the result was explosively magical and tragic at the same time.

Lynne, born at the tip of Africa in a little fishing village close to Cape Point was brought up in a strict tradition of classical musical training. She studied performing in classical piano at UCT under the American Professor, Lamar Crowson. Whilst receiving standing ovations as a concert pianist and numerous awards growing up, she was plagued by an abusive family environment with an alcoholic father. The difficulty of her circumstances ultimately led her on an inward path away from the stage to become a composer where she wrote sacred music for her own solace and healing. Her compositions and productions were heard by Les McCutcheon, manager of Shakatak and owner of the record label Passion Music in London. He was blown away by her music and gave her a record deal financing her debut album” Sands of Time” launching her career back into the limelight and world stage, except this time it was the world of recording, producing and composing.

Yusuf came from a strict Muslim/Sufi background, growing up in the heart of South Africa’s apartheid years, being forcibly removed from his family home as a child and living in a poverty stricken community, denied proper education and opportunity due to his ethnicity. His Sufi culture from Malaysia was brought to the shores of Cape Town four hundred years before with political prisoners exiled as slaves. With a history of oppression and suffering Yusuf found his healing through the expression of his voice. His Sufi teacher recognised his ability at the age of 10, singing in the Malaysian/ Arabic style of singing his voice evolved through Saturday night Thikrs or praise singing. As a self taught businessman, after Apartheid, his career rose to its zenith during his years as CEO for the Cape Town Festival aka One City Many Cultures, where as an arts activist he launched hundreds of previously disadvantaged artists’ careers, including Freshly Ground, Emo Adams, Ronald Harrison , the famous apartheid painter of the “ Black Christ” whose work had been gathering cobwebs in the basement of the National Gallery. It was on this platform that Yusuf and Lynne met, both recognising how their combined skills could make a difference. They went on to develop artists from the townships and even recorded one of South Africa’s most treasured talents and Sopranos, Pretty Yende. Spirit of Africa is an expression of Africa’s well known and unknown talent, including street art, Apartheid art works and some of South Africa’s top African artists all merged into Lynne’s compositions. But something greater was yet to be born, it was the hidden talent of Yusuf’s own voice, his own potential as an artist in his own right. In 2007 Lynne recorded Yusuf in a professional studio on the cd “The Prayer”. This fresh sound skyrocketed and became the CD of the year amongst Muslims in SA reaching worldwide distribution in Turkey. The unique crossover of world classical compositions with the exotic sounds of Arabic took the market by storm. After their popularity led to a banning by fundamentalist Muslims, they chartered new ground and embraced the world in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-religious medium of sacred world music. They have subsequently toured 16 countries since 2012, including their recent tour of the US where they collaborated with Alice Walker and Zainab Salbi, providing healing sounds for the community of Oakland with organisations like #Black Lives Matter and #onelifeinstitute. To date, their body of work includes 18 albums.

Lynne and Yusuf have shared an extraordinary journey of trials and tribulations. Their trials and tribulations have been tragic with enormous personal cost but have laid the foundation for their spiritual growth and universal approach to spiritual growth and practices. Their music is an expression of both, infused with a love of God sung in all the sacred and ancient languages of the world.

 

 

 

Lynne Holmes - Lynne Holmes - Music Composer/Producer/Director, Piano, Keyboard, Harp

Yusuf Ganief - Yusuf Ganief - lead multilingual Vocalist, Poet, Arts Activist, Group Manager

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