About Mohammed Nazam

A professional musician and composer for twenty years, Mohammed Nazam is also a respected music educator. In February of 2005 Mo was invited to participate in two events for HRH The Prince Of Wales. One was a project that saw the Prince attending a recording session led by renowned music producer Trevor Horn (who has produced worldwide hit records for Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Seal, Yes and Buggles). In March 2005 Mo was invited to a special Celebration of British Music at Buckingham Palace, hosted by HRH The Queen and Prince Phillip, which was attended by over 500 guests, including some of the most influential and popular musicians, composers, artists and producers from the British Music Industry. Born in Pakistan, Mo grew up in the UK where he was exposed to music and art from all over the world, ranging from the Indian film scores of his childhood to the rock, soul and jazz that are the foundations of the contemporary music styles found in one of the worlds most vibrant cities. Mo took up the guitar at age 15 and started playing in local bands right away. Since then he has gone on to play with some of the most prestigious musicians and bands in the UK. In early 1997 Mo was commissioned by the Soho Jazz Festival to write a new composition to be debuted at the ’97 Festival, held in late September. Established for 12 years the Soho Jazz Festival is an internationally renowned event and this was the first time that a new piece of music has been especially written for the festival. The piece highlights the variety of cultural and musical styles that Mo has been involved with as a musician, composer and avid fan. In 1999 Mo, together with computer wizard Phil Thompson, was commissioned by Serious Productions (one of Europe’s leading music promoters) for a one off project. The X Foundation, featuring random musical ideas generated by computer fractals combined with a live band, was a psychedelic sci-fi extravaganza that (in true Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit) split immediately after it’s first performance, due to musical differences. But of course, that’s not all. Since 2001 Mo has worked with The Prince’s Trust on their residential SoundLive courses teaching socially disadvantaged young people (homeless, substance mis-users, ex-offenders) to play instruments and perform live. The week-long course features a strong focus on personal development, team working, communication and motivational skills. Each day the students learn music from around the world and work in bands, culminating in a grand gala concert at the end of the week. He also teaches guitar and leads Jazz workshops at Richmond Upon Thames College in Twickenham. For much of the 90’s Mo wrote articles and reviews for numerous music magazines including Melody maker, The Guitar Magazine and Making Music. For the Guitar Magazine he interviewed such legendary artists as John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Steve Lukather, Al DiMeola and Robben Ford. Recently he started writing for the Guitarist, one of Europe’s leading music magazines, and has so far written pieces on George Benson, Pat Metheny, Todd Rundgren and a cover story on John 5. Currently he’s trying to get some sleep.

A Message from Mo, June 2014

This months newsletter comes at a time when much in the world is changing – when is it NOT changing, you may ask? – but the challenges in working together towards a better world for all of us seem to get bigger every day. Although it would be easier to fold and buckle in the face of those challenges what they actually do it spur us on. This is the essential lesson in the face of ANY challenge – keep going, do your bit and slowly but surely every bit that everyone does adds to the whole and creates something far far bigger than the sum of it’s parts. Good luck to all of you, and all your er….bits. Mo Nazam

The Light in the Tunnel

THE FOLLOWING PIECE WAS WRITTEN FOR MY FACEBOOK WALL JUST AFTER THE END OF OPERATION CAST LEAD, THE IDF INCURSION INTO THE GAZA STRIP THAT WAS INTENDED TO STOP THE DAILY FIRING OF MISSILES INTO SOUTHERN ISRAEL.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_War     Hi,   I hope the first few days of 2009 find you all well.I’m sure we are all concerned about recent events. The cycle of revenge, retribution and brutality goes on. Fueled by anger, loss, oppression and the dark machinations of global political agendas, the conflict appears to have no end. It’s no wonder that people feel helpless and fearful for the future.That’s why I want to share this story with you.   On Christmas Eve last year, I was invited to an event at the house of a rabbi who leads a large North London synagogue. It was essentially a hannukah celebration, but what made it unique was the presence of a group from Israel and Palestine. They were members of The Parents Circle-Families Forum,a support group for people who’ve lost loved ones as a result of the on going conflict. Mother, father, brother, sisters,cousins…from both sides of the divide who have decided that the vicious circle of... Continue reading →

I am not a number – I am a free man! Now what?

First things first – I’m ashamed. Truly. It’s been nearly a year since my last blog post and my good friend Will Donbavand has convinced me to write less but more often. So heads up people – like it or not you’ll be hearing from me more often as of now! But first, here’s what I’ve been thinking about today.   Years ago, when I was about 12 years old, I somehow came into possession of a book published by what we all think of as ‘The Hare Krishnas”. They’re often seen singing and dancing along Oxford St, In London’s Glittering West End, and their HQ is just off Soho Square. led by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami they give out books, corner people for a chat and in the USA they gained a reputation for hanging out in the airports and trying to convince people that figuring out what their woes might actually mean in the larger context or their lives might be a better long term idea than attempting to run away from them for two weeks of the year. Which, of course doesn’t work anyhoo.   Any road up, the point is – I got this book. By... Continue reading →

Soul Food

SOUL FOOD I can’t recall a longer winter than the one we’ve just had (for post apocalypse readers in the future I’m referring to the winter of 2012-13). It was bitter and lasted longer than it strictly needed to. I think we can all agree on that. Another thing that is as dependable as the damp British weather is the tendency, for those who are that way inclined, to bemoan the state of humanity/the nation/young people/modern music/just about anything. Constantly. It’s one thing griping about stuff every now and then but some people must be very shocked when they learn that they wont get paid for the time they spend pointing out  all that’s bad in the world due to the fact that  continually banging on about the awful state of the world and everything in it is not, in itself, a profession. ​ Now, don’t get me wrong – I find a good rant as funny as the next guy. And that’s fine, If it’s meant to be funny. Funny is good. Satire is good. Pointing out the absurdities and ironies of life is cathartic. There’s also a lot to be said about pointing out inequalities,unfairness and the galvanising... Continue reading →

Study: Music and Culture in the Community

In 2007 we were asked to take part in a public consultation carried out by the Dept. Of Communities and Living (as it was then known – not sure what it’s called now, maybe The Ministry Of Oh Shut Up and Quit Whining About the Superb Job The Government Is Doing, Considering That No One Actually Voted Them In?) about the importance of the arts in helping diverse communities to come together. I wrote this (rather long,admittedly) report to show how the arts, and music in particular, is a vital component in the life of a nation and as a reflection of its culture it is vital that we continue to support the arts. ​ ​ ​ MUSIC AND CULTURE IN THE COMMUNITY ​ In this document we outline the reasons why the arts (and in our case specifically, music) are an important facilitator of what the consultation document calls “bridging”, “bonding” and “linking”, and how music can be used to further understanding, and ultimately co-operation, by people of different cultural and faith communities. Fundamentally, it is our experience that the arts can facilitate this understanding in ways that an academic, scholarly or theologically based approaches cannot. The arts and music... Continue reading →

In the beginning

Hello and welcome to our blog. We’ve been meaning to do something like this for quite a while now as we often get asked what we’re up to, why we do what we do and, in fact, the journey that we’ve all taken with Berakah over the last few years has been so rich and full of incredible experiences that cause a lot of pause for thought, that I thought it would be a shame not to share them with you. On this site we (or more specifically I – Mohammed Nazam,guitarist with Berakah – although I’m really hoping it wont be just me blathering on and the other band members will eventually contribute some stuff too) will be sharing thoughts with you on a whole range of subjects related to the work that Berakah does, and the principles behind that work. It’ll all become clear as we go along! ​ First off, and for those who may not know what The Berakah Project is all about, here’s a piece that I wrote for an ethical investment company based in Salisbury, England. They deal in ethical investments and they approached me late last year and asked me to write about... Continue reading →