Sunshine, Dust and the Messenger (CD) by Dawud Wharnsby Ali
Lyrical references to elements of nature and sound effect montages merge with Wharnsby-Ali's typical style of playful rhyme and meter. Past recordings (such as "Whisper Of Peace"- 1996), are alluded to through the use of occasionally reprised lyrics and voices, including the captivating Quranic recitation of Egyptian born qari, Gasser Auda. Yet, with all of its subtle familiarity, the overall sound of "Sunshine, Dust and The Messenger" is quite a change from what most listeners have been accustomed to hearing from the young writer.
The theme of 'rhythm' is assessed from diverse angles. City sounds and song topics such as: death, piety, aging, religious struggle and the treatment of children, embellish a series of brief narratives taken from The Holy Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Musically, "Sunshine, Dust And The Messenger" relies heavily on its upbeat pulse of percussion, at times combining tribal earthy tones with stark military rhythms. Four-part harmony arrangements and syncopated percussion tracks, performed by Canadian musician/producer Trevor Yuile, bring a unique sound to Wharnsby-Ali's sincere and fresh lyrics. Conceptually, the theme of rhythm is defined utilizing examples from nature (seasons, alternation of night day, heartbeats, waves) and examples from the human experience (birth, death, passage of time). Rhythm also becomes the symbol of order as Wharnsby-Ali explores the hope for mankind to bring simplicity, rhythm and harmony back to their lives through their innate and organic desire to connect with The Creator.
Tracks like "Rhythm Of Surrender" and "Why Are The Drums So Silent?" take an almost satirical look at the adult world, where lack of wisdom and proper prioritization often cause the plans of even the most educated people to fall apart.
Among other songs on the recording, "Give A Little", from the Sound Vision.Com video "Adam's World 11: Zakat Helps Everyone", is a simple yet motivational refrain revolving around various aspects of charity.
"The Blue Sky Is Blue (Like Blue Bubble Gum)", its lyrics written by a four-year-old boy and arranged by Wharnsby-Ali, takes a look at life, adulthood and the Messenger of Allah from a child's point of view. "Wisdom And Tea" presents an emotional reflection on death, and the fact that only Allah knows the true piety in a person's heart. The dream-like title track takes the listener on a journey into the past, through the rhythms of nature, to the time of Muhammad (peace be upon him). If one thing is to be learned from this new recording, it is that for all the change we go through in the rhythm of life, walking in a rhythm of surrender to Allah is where we all belong.