Songwall recently had the honour to meet the spiritual Sufi music mystic known as Sain Zahoor. Some of you may well ask the question, “What is Sufi music?” Sufi music is no stranger to Songwall, but I only became aware of Sain Zahoor less than a few months ago via Coke Studio prior to his performance at the renowned Birmingham Symphony Hall where I had the chance to meet and ask him a few questions pre his soundcheck.

Birmingham Symphony Hall Sain Zahoor Songwall

What does one ask someone who is known as a music mystic legend?

Firstly, let’s take a step back, empty the cup and our whole perception of music as we may or may not know it….

In a recent interview with Asian Culture Vulture, Sain says “The essential message of Sufism is love. Love and tolerance. I do not want to convert anyone. I only want people to learn from the verses and chants that I sing, to eschew greed, violence, hate and materialism and to promote love, tolerance and kindness. That is what the great Sufis always preached and what they wrote about…….. All I can do is pray for people who hurt and hate others. That is all I want to sing.”

When you meet Sain you feel an immediate intensity and when he speaks that intensity almost tenfolds.

At the same time, the more I sat with him, the more I felt at peace in his presence as I listened to his passionate Punjabi tones which were translated through his interpretor.

Rather than go through the story of Sain Zahoor you can read it thoroughly here which includes how his journey started when he left home at the age if 13 to find a shrine he had seen in a recurring dream…..

On the day of his performance I had spent some time with music students at Access to Music and we had chatted about their perception of music and the industry. The general consensus is that it’s hard work and very demotivating. Since that day I’ve spoken with more music students and there is a feeling of fear of failure for up and coming musicians that they have to fit into a certain music industry mould.

So from this I asked Sain some questions around this theme:

SW: I spent the afternoon with music students today talking about their perception of music today. A lot of musicians in the West struggle to make a living, it’s all about a different thing, not about spirituality. It’s almost about fitting in to a certain mould. How have you experienced the interaction with the Western world with the Sufi music in this recent tour?

SZ: “What ever this message is, where ever I’m playing or wherever I’m singing; whether this side or that side, whatever language they speak or religion they belong to….there is a universal spiritual message, a connection from God which is present and it has the same meaning for everybody”

SZ: “That is what I am trying to spread, And I wish that it spreads because this mystic music and its teachings can help you learn good things, and help stop you from doing wrong to anybody. You spread love, it’s very peaceful.

SW: What advice would you give to young songwriters / artists

SZ: I’m always happy to try and advise young people, whether they are studying music, poetry or writing. Whatever they are doing, it’s very important to teach them, to encourage them to study and to help them learn. The thirst for spirituality is like a newborn baby’s thirst for milk, or a child’s hunger for food. Music and the message of the saints is one of the ways to quench that thirst in young people, without that young people can become disturbed.

SW: I asked him whether young people are important to him, to get his message out as they are the future of the planet. Should they be interested in Sufi music ?

SZ: There are different kinds of music. One kind is like hot tea, which warms you up when you drink it, it heats you up and inflames your soul. Sufi music is like cool water. It quenches your thirst and calms your soul.

SW: You’ve spent most of your life singing devotional songs to God in Sufi shrines. How do you feel about singing in a more commercial setting, in a performance like this?

SZ: I’m very happy that the words of the Sufi saint and poet, Bulleh Shah, have spread all over the world through me appearing on Coke Studio. The message is the same wherever you sing it, and I am nothing, I am just a means of communicating that message.

So, Sain Zahoor is a leading Sufi musician from Pakistan. He doesn’t speak any English, can’t read or write and as a street performer has been on his musical journey since the age of 13 when he left home. That journey has led him to Birmingham and further afield spreading the universal message of music. Music is the higher language, the connector and when done and performed purely can rise above any preconceptions or language.

The performance was moving, backed by a group of traditional Sufi musicians who sat cross-legged on a platform behind him playing flute, tabla and harmonium. You can see Sain perform in the following video links.

Aok Alif, Noori & Sain Zahoor

Toumba – Sain Zahoor

As described by FolkPunjab “Sain Zahoor or Saeen Zahur Ahmad (b. around 1945) is a leading Sufi musician from Pakistan. He spent his life singing in the Sufi shrines, and had not cut a record until 2006, when he was nominated for the BBC World Music awards based on word of mouth. He emerged as the “best BBC voice of the year 2006”, an award that had earlier recognized other prominent Sufi singers such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Abida Parveen.”



Songwall Limited is a registered company in the United Kingdom. Company number (08493836).

Website Terms and Conditions

By accessing and or using you hereby agree to our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions may be modified from time to time and will become effective on going live via It is your responsibility to check for updates and we recommend you do so on a regular basis. These terms are legally binding and using the website you agree to be bound to this agreement whether You ‘the visitor’ or ‘browser’ without limitation through any device or otherwise are registered as user or not. (Songwall) or has the right to discontinue it’s service, competition section or any activity with or without notice and may prevent your use of the Songwall service without any prior notice to you. Songwall will hold no liability if the Songwall services are discontinued at any point. Our goal is to provide a sound service. However, If you do not agree to be bound by this agreement you should not use (We hope you join us on the trip)

Access to information

The Data Protection Act 1998 (the “Act”) gives you the right to access information held about you and for you to request that changes be made to this information if it is inaccurate or not up-to-date. Your right of access can be exercised in accordance with the Act. Any access request may be subject to a fee (as amended from time to time) to meet our costs in providing you with details of the information we hold about you.

We will take responsible steps to ensure your information is secure and will only hold your information on our systems for as long as is reasonably necessary.

We will use the information you send us to:


Collection of data

We may collect and process personal information from you and any devices you may use when:


Other information could include:

Geo location, IoT technologies and connection information including the usual statistics such as page views, song listens, ad data and referral URL.

Uploading Songs

By uploading a song to, you the ‘artist’ / ‘user’ hereby agree that you are the sole or joint copyright right holder of the piece of music or song, including music and lyrics and consent to the song being accessible to the world and universe via this website and associated Songwall social media . If you are a joint copyright holder of a song that you upload to; you as the ‘user’ / ‘artist’ uploading the song are declaring that you have the consent of all other copyright / IP holders of the song that you are uploading to the songwall website.

License: Artists retain all IP rights by uploading songs and/or images onto the Songwall website

If you do not agree with the Songwall T&C’s you can unsubscribe from the email we sent or email

If would like us to delete your profile or if you would like access to the data we hold you can email:

What is Songwall
We exist to put value back into original music by redefining the relationship between musicians and fans
Who can join Songwall?
Artists, musicians and music fans can join Songwall. In this early Beta phase only artists can create a full Songwall profile. Fans can Create a log-in by supporting artists and purchasing new music. Join the Songwall newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming Songwall features and all our latest news on the hottest new songs.
How can I edit my profile
At the moment you can edit your profile by emailing us hello (at) songwall dot com. Artists can log-in to their artist profile to upload more songs.
What support do you offer for independent artists/bands?
We offer instant payment and strive to provide better rates with cool opportunities such as paid support slots. As a start up we are taking one step at time. We hope you join us :-)
I’m a music fan, why should I support Songwall?
Because you love discovering great new music by grass roots artists with character songs. On Songwall you can be ahead of the game by finding out what's hot in new music.
I’m under 18, can I still get paid for my music?
At the moment you can only get paid via a Paypal account. We are working on other options.
I have a suggestion for Songwall - where can I submit it?
You can go to our feedback form
I want to work for Songwall- where can I apply?
Got to our Feedback form
Can I upload a cover or remix?
No, we are purely about original music, supporting artists and the art of songwriting. There are other sites that cater for cover versions.
Can I upload songs which feature swearing?
Anything defamatory will be taken down from Songwall.
Why can’t I download or stream my favourite songs by major artists?
Although we would love Prince to be on our website, we are a site for new and independent artists.
I can’t find an answer to my question- where else can I try?
If you can't find an answer here please drop us a line via the feedback form