Sahelis, meet Cyrus “Raskol Khan” McGoldrick, a man who is making waves in the local New York City music scene, bringing his faith to the forefront of his craft. We recently sat with Cyrus and chatted about his music, his beliefs, and much, much, more.
Known onstage as “Raskol Khan,” Cyrus McGoldrick is not your average 22-year-old. A couple of months ago, when the nation was trapped in a hostile argument over the mosque at Ground Zero, CNN called him a “Muslim who raps for peace.” In an era where young Muslims find themselves defending their faith as often as worshipping, McGoldrick has emerged as a powerful voice in the chorus. He plays the saxophone and writes his own lyrics, using his music to present a deeply personal reflection of himself. For McGoldrick, the personal is inextricably linked to the public, as his ideals and beliefs consistently drive his creativity.
A recent convert to Islam, McGoldrick’s faith takes center stage in his music—the intersection of hip-hop and Islam is a natural one to him. His search for identity as a young Muslim is one that he believes resonates strongly in hip-hop, he explains, “At the end of the day, we’re all dealing with issues of identity, trying to figure out who we are. This is my way of doing just that.” With his faith driving his creativity, McGoldrick has quickly garnered a following that appreciates his music as much as they respect his courage of conviction.
Having read both the Bhagavad Gita and Sufi poetry before eventually converting to Islam, McGoldrick’s spiritual influences are as diverse as the music he plays. (He’s even a Bollywood fan!) He performs often with the Freddy Fuego band, a NYC-based group that combines jazz, hip-hop and a number of other musical styles to create a fusion that is simultaneously innovative and timeless.
Over the next two months, McGoldrick is devoting a number of performances to charity gigs where proceeds will benefit victims of the recent flood in Pakistan. With a firm belief in the power of community activism, he is hoping these concerts can be just the beginning of an organized and resonating response from the community. “There has been a lot of care and positive energy among New Yorkers,” he explains, “but we need more.”
One of the bigger fundraisers he’ll be a part of takes place this Saturday at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center. Performing with renowned spoken word artist Amir Sulaiman, DJ Raichous, Alex Schein, Hasan Salaam, and many more, “Sounds of Solidarity” promises to be both inspiring and entertaining.
Click here for more info about Cyrus, including tour dates and music clips!
For more info about this Saturday’s “Sounds of Solidarity” concert, and to purchase advance tickets, visit http://soundsofsolidarity.eventbrite.com
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