Former Music Faculty, Semester at Sea, Spring 2020 Voyage
Shumaila Hemani is an Ethnomusicologist with expertise in sounds of religion. Her research and performance practice in singing Shah Latif's sung poetry, Shah jo Raag has received many honors and awards: the First Prize at the Society for Ethnomusicology Conference (2017), State of Kuwait Award in Islamic Studies, Frank Henderson Prize in the study of Women and Religion, and Cultural Diversity Award, Edmonton Arts Council (2015) to name a few. Studying with two master musicians in Pakistan, Ustad Hameed Ali Khan Sahib from the Gwalior Gharana in Sindh, and Faqir Jumman Shah from the shrine of the Sufi mystic: Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Hemani has presented Sufi poetry internationally. Her two compositions: Sarang: Perils of Heavy Rainfall and Supplication, were premiered at the SEM, 2020. Her songs Living with Purpose and Anticipating have been in the Top 10 within Ethnocloud's World Music Charts. She has performed at the World Odyssey (2020), Canada's Music Incubator (2019), Femme Wave Festival (2019), the University of Alberta (2016), and the Banff Arts Centre (2015), Pakistan American Cultural Centre, to name a few.
Canadian State policy towards Campus-Community Engagement.
COMMUNITY-SERVICE LEARNING (CSL), University of Alberta
2018. “Embedding an Ethnic of Community Engagement in Post-Secondary Institutions.” (with Dr. David Peacock; Dr. Patricia Ballamingie, Dr. Maeve Lydon, and Dr. Katalin Eve Koller. In Community First: The Impact of Community Engagement.
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.
As a teenager, music was a very close and trustworthy friend during the very difficult moments when society and family pressure challenged my independence of thought and what I should pursue as a career. When choosing an area of study, the limited options that were available included Management, Accountancy, Computer Science, or Engineering — options that could provide high-salary jobs in a technologically advanced world, but did not stimulate or cultivate my imagination
Welcome to Listening In on Pandemic Life, a new ten-part bi-weekly blog series curated by CASE. In this fourth entry to the series, singer/composer/ethnomusicologist Shumaila Hemani takes us on a journey at sea from Canada to Karachi, navigating the detours of the Covid-19 pandemic with her ears as she deals with transitions between ocean life and returns to land. – Editors Milena Droumeva and Randolph Jordan