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“With monsoon came flashing clouds, Once again to rain all over, Lightening flashed on Constantinople, and went towards west, It glittered over China, and took care of Samarkand, Then crossing Delhi and Deccan, it thundered in Girnar, Rambling to Rome, Kabul and Kandahar, It crossed Delhi, Decan and Girnar, Rushing to Jaisalmer and then to Bikanere and Baker, It drenched Bhuj and then Drut and came to Umerkot and then in Walhar. O my lord, bestow prosperity on Sindh forever, O my sweet friend, shower blessings on all the world ” ” - Sufi Mystic, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai — Sur Sarang

— Shah jo Risalo

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Primordial Covenant Premiered at Arts Commons 

As part of TD Incubator at Arts Commons, Calgary I was very honored to premiere a new composition: Primordial Covenant with James Watson on violin.  The track was featured on CKUA radio with an interview, and later went on to be published in the Record World International, Canadian Beats, Global News, and many distinct music blogs. It was very humbling…

Distinguished Founding Member, Global Compassion Coalition  

In the Fall 2023, Dr. Rick Hanson interviewed me for Positive Neuroplasticity Teacher certification.  Not only am I an authorized practitioner to teach Dr. Hanson's designed courses on neuroplasticity, but he also invited me to be the Distinguished Founding Support Member of the Global Compassion Coalition which has many prestigious names, including advocates of nuclear disarmament who are Nobel Prize Laureates. I'm extremely honored and humbled!

Deeply Listening to Energy Unaffordability in Alberta (and Canada) 

Since Fall 2022, I have partnered with Alberta Ecotrust as part of my artist residency at the Trico Changemakers Studio, Mount Royal University and the International Center of Arts for Social Change (ICASC) to support their work on energy affordability with Kambo Foundation. I bring in arts-based dialogues through deep listening practices. 

In the summer of 2023, we conducted our first successful series of workshops. Helen Corbett from All One Sky wrote to Alberta Ecotrust remarking:

"I was amazed by the series of workshops with Shumaila Hemani. In my 22 years working in the climate field, I have never had the opportunity to combine my background in film/photography/art with climate change. This work Shumaila is doing is incredibly innovative and I think it touched a deep yearning among the participants (three of us!) to seek equity and justice in this world in which we are immersed. This work has so much potential (imagining a sound lab at the Banff Centre) by welcoming the voices and sounds from people marginalized by energy poverty."

The workshops were documented for the Canadian New Music Network's PCM Hub and are available here:

In the Fall of 2023, the Arts for Social Change HUB supported by Calgary Arts Development (CADA) hosted its Annual Congress on Arts for Social Change. Many past artists from the Trico Changemakers Residency presented their work. Amongst them, the work of Skye Louis to create deck cards on Arts for Social Change was highlighted. These deck cards also feature the project on energy affordability and my innovative use of deep listening to bring about a systemic change. 

Listening to a World in Crisis: Composing for Social Change (A Presentation for the Canadian Association of Sound Ecology) 

The world we live in poses multiple crises of displacement due to climate change, the pandemic, war, repressive political regimes, and unemployment. The question that artists, researchers, and all kinds of thinkers need to ask is how our academic disciplines of training responding to this growing crisis of homelessness and other forms of displacement around us; how is our work shedding visibility on the displaced and invoking a policy-level response from the government to mitigate this crisis and inspire a compassionate response from the society?
        In October 2022, the CASE Vice Chair Carol Ann Weaver initiated an essential thread in WFAE listserv about the critique of government policy for using unpleasant sounds to drive away homeless from the middle-class and elite spaces in town and the need for a compassionate response from the government to address their displacement.  In response to this thread, I brought forward an experience of sharing an incident in the Deep Listening retreat regarding the need to deeply listen to homelessness around us to become more compassionate city dwellers. This point was cast aside and the discussion was redirected. Why? Why does talking about homelessness around us uncomfortable for intellectuals?
        In this open talk and discussion, I would bring forward my experience of displacement since the pandemic began in 2020 and the levels at which engagement with field recording and deep listening practices initiated by the World Soundscape Project in the 1970s inspired a space that allowed me to go beyond ethnomusicological endeavours in expressing issues of displacement with acousmatic compositions and blogs. Through showing the trajectory of my recent acousmatic pieces and writings, I will propose an open discussion about a need for a dialogue between Ethnomusicologists, practitioners of the Arts for Social Change (ASC), and Sound Ecologists to press the Canadian government and the world’s governments for a more compassionate response towards the displaced.

As a Sufi singer, I believe the sounds of world religions can cultivate compassion during COVID-1 

The global COVID-19 pandemic has taken us into an era of social distancing. By relying on online digital media, we may be isolating ourselves from more local and diverse communities. 

As an ethnomusicologist at the University of Alberta, my research and musical practices lead me to reflect on how what I think of as a “socially isolated ear” is more prone to resist and be intimidated by cultural and religious diversity. As a Sufi vocalist, through my music, I share the message of love and interfaith harmony taught by Sufi mystics — and I explore the crevices of Muslim belief and expression from a feminist standpoint. 

Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam that is based on introspection and spiritual practices for cleansing the heart to receive closeness with Allah. Sufis have used the power of art, music, poetry, and dance to show the human soul’s relationship with the Divine.

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