1. Tahir Qawwal
CELEBRATING a great lineage of Muslim Sufi mystics, the poetry of Qawwali looks at the universal human longing for Divine union.
Sufi singer Tahir Qawwal represents the musical tradition of Qawwali with the blessings and guidance of his teachers in India and Pakistan.
Sufism, according to its adherents, is the inner mystical dimension of Islam. Sufi orders are largely Sunni and follow one of the four schools of Sunni Islam and maintain a Sunni Aqidah or creed.
Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God".
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in Pakistan, India and many parts of Bangladesh.
Delhi's Sufi saint Amir Khusro Dehlavi of the Chisti order of Sufis is credited with fusing the Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Indian musical traditions to create Qawwali in late 13th century India.
The songs which constitute the Qawwali repertoire are primarily in Urdu and Punjabi, but some from the Mughal era are also in Persian .
The poetry is implicitly understood to be spiritual in its meaning, even though the lyrics can sometimes sound wildly secular, or outright hedonistic.
The central themes of Qawwali are love, devotion and the longing of man for the Divine.
Special guest Sangeet Mishra will play a rare Indian string instrument: the sarangi.
- At Byron Theatre, 69 Jonson St, Byron Bay, tomorrow Friday . $30.
2. Vieux Farka
BOUREIMA 'Vieux' Farka Touré is a Malian singer and guitarist.
He is the son of Grammy-winning Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006.
Often referred to as The Hendrix of the Sahara, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981.
- At Mullumbimby Civic Memorial Hall, 55 Dalley St, Mullumbimby, today from 7.30pm.
3. Tijuana Cartel
PAUL George (pictured) and Carey O'Sullivan are Tijuana Cartel, and they're bringing their electronic music to Nimbin. They have spent the last decade mixing in influences that hadn't yet been fused before, with a penchant for Middle Eastern scales.
Also in the line up will be DJ Future Roots and DJ Care Bear.
- At the Nimbin Bush Theatre, 2 Blue Knob Rd, Nimbin, on Saturday, January 7, from 7pm. $30.
4. Austen Tayshus
THERE are few comics with the tenacity and killer instinct of Austen Tayshus.
The comedy star who first came into being in 1981 has the ability to take a room hostage just with his tongue.
Topical, dangerous and irreverent, he is the high priest of satire, unflappable and relentless.
- At the Byron Services Club, Byron Bay, on Monday, January 9, from 8pm. $25.
5. Women Likle Us
AFTER 31 shows around the country, Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs bring their smash hit comedy show, Women Like Us, to Ballina.
Briggs and Nolan talk about housework, chickens, love, big undies, disappointment, resentment, fit bits, yoga farts and being a menopausal woman dealing with teenage angst.
- At the Ballina RSL Club, 240 River St, Ballina, tomorrow at 8pm. $30. 18+