Minneapolis/Rhymesayers MC Brother Ali comes to the Domino Room Sunday as part of the “How The Grouch Stole Christmas Tour.” I caught up with Ali earlier this week and we talked a lot about his recent pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city, Mecca, and the effect that journey has had on his life:
So in early November, as Ali — a practicing Muslim for 17 years — boarded a plane to make his first pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city of Islam, he wondered if he was in the right state of mind for such a powerful experience.
“I was a little disheartened or concerned because I had such a crazy year. I’ve had a few times in my life that have just been nonstop changes that made me question the foundation of who I am and what I’m doing, and this has been one of those years,” he said in his measured, raspy tone. “I kind of was wondering, ‘Am I ready for this? Am I in the right place spiritually, emotionally, mentally, even physically?’ I was just really beat up.”
Still, Ali boarded that plane, unwilling to miss out on something he has dreamed about since he was 15. And it paid off.
“I realized that it was the exact time that I needed it to happen,” he said. “This crazy, transformative year, the exclamation point was this life-changing event of the pilgrimage. It was actually perfect.”
I hope you’ll click here to read the whole thing, including why Ali’s pilgrimage came at the perfect time.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: King of the Surf Guitar Dick Dale comes back to town, The Northstar Session plays McMenamins, Boneyard Beer throws a Cross Kultural Carnival featuring all kinds of cool performers, Misty River returns from hiatus for two local shows, Two or More plays a free holiday show in Redmond, and Blackstrap, Blackflowers Blacksun and Brent Alan each have big weekends planned.
Plus, now’s the time to remind you that tonight is local folk-pop singer-songwriter Chris Beland‘s CD-release show at The Kilns Bookstore in Bend. Beland has had a pretty amazing couple of months, discovering his biological father, who happens to be veteran musician John Beland. I wrote a long article about Beland’s story that ran in the paper last Saturday, and you can read that by clicking here. While you’re reading, click right here to stream a few songs from Beland’s new album “The Weather Man.”