"Karim's passionate and melodies Sufi compositions and soulful vocals transcend geographical and cultural boundaries" - City TV
Dr. Karim Gillani received his PhD in Music and Religious Studies from the University of Alberta (Canada), in 2012. His research examines the role and power of musical sound and recitation within the socio-cultural and religious contexts of Muslims of South Asia and North America. His PhD dissertation, entitled "Sound and Recitation of Khoja Ismaili Ginans: Tradition and Transformation", is a pioneering work of ethnomusicological research that situates ginans hymns within the wider context of Muslim piety in general and South Asian poetic and musical contexts in particular.
Dr. Gillani is an accomplished vocalist, composer and songwriter. He has received training in Hindustani classical and Sufi music from renowned musicians of India and Pakistan. He released his first original album "Jhoom Jhoom: Celebration of A Lifetime!" in Canada in 2008, followed by a critically acclaimed world music album, "Raah-e-Ishq: The Path of Love in 2014, "Ruh ki Awaaz: Sound from the Soul" in 2017 and "Masti-e-Tariqat: The Path of Ecstasy in 2018 worldwide. Dr. Gillani regularly performs in North America and his greatest honour was to perform in front of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and His Highness the Aga Khan at the opening ceremony of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, 2008, and the foundation ceremony of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, 2010. He has done extensive field research in devotional and contemporary popular music both in Indian subcontinent as well as in western Diaspora.
Dr. Gillani has taught various ethnomusicology courses at the University of Alberta from 2010-2016. Some of his courses include, Introduction to World Music, Introduction to Ethnomusicology: Popular music of Bollywood (Hindi Cinema), and Indian Music Ensemble. He regularly presents papers at national and international conferences. He has been involved in organizing various international conferences and performances at the University of Alberta, including "I Am a Bird from Heaven's Garden: Music, Sound and Architecture in the Muslim World" in 2013 and "Sound and Spaces of Muslim Piety: Tradition and Transformation" in 2011.
Dr. Gillani has been invited to share his both academic and musical contributions in various national and international forums including BBC world, CBC Canada, and TEDx to name a few. To promote cultural and religious harmony through the art and music, Dr. Gillani has organized various music camps entitled "Music and Arts in the Muslim World" for young children ages 9-16 at University of Alberta and Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
He received an MA in Music and Religious Studies at the University of Alberta in 2005 and he is also a graduate of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, UK, where he was awarded a degree in Islamic Studies and Humanities. Dr. Gillani has received various awards, grants and scholarships for his academic research and musical contributions. He has also completed an MBA from Hamdard University in Pakistan, and worked with the largest media company, Jang Group of Newspapers.