Photos by Kenneth Muhammad
The evening was an international, cultural explosion and every seat in the house appeared to be taken. Several thousand members of the Nation of Islam, their families and friends gathered in the Rosemont Center’s Plenary Ballroom on February 27 to experience “Ta Ha: The Final Call Symphonic Suite,” a special composition by Mother Tynnetta Muhammad.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan presented Mother Tynnetta’s work of art to the Nation of Islam as a Saviours’ Day gift.
“Tonight is a very special night. For Mother Tynnetta Muhammad and for me and for her family and for all of us,” said Min. Farrakhan, who first met her on February 28, 1958 in Detroit, when she became a follower of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. She used to use playing the bongos and other musical instruments as a means of being able to hear his teachings, but little did he know that one day she would become his wife and one of his great, great students, Min. Farrakhan said.
“To all of the musicians that are here, what we do not sometimes understand is how divine revelation introduces sometimes new forms of art, culture, and music … On this stage you have those playing some Chinese instruments and other instruments of the world because all of the journey was to unite human beings regardless of race or color or ethnicity through culture, through art,” Min. Farrakhan said.
“Genius finds its way to us in many forms. Music is a form that has allowed God to visit with the human family through what He gifted human beings with in music. There is no way that you could listen to the music of Mozart, music of Bach and Beethoven, Handel, Brahms. There’s no way that you could listen to Stevie Wonder and the great artists that have made life worth living for us except that you know how God visits humanity through the gifted ones that He places among us to ease the burden of life’s journey,” Min. Farrakhan added during his introduction of Mother Tynnetta.
Although the N.O.I.’s convention was in Chicago, on that evening, Gladys Muhammad of Los Angeles, California emceed this event that allowed its participants to travel the world through Mother Tynnetta’s visual presentation and music discovered on her life’s travels to places like Mongolia, China, Turkey, Mexico, Cairo and Egypt.
“I’m overwhelmed and I really don’t have words to express what I feel because he (Min. Farrakhan) said it. My son said it. I have been going through years and years of struggle trying to bring these sounds together and trying to find an arranger to take what I’m saying and put it in an orchestral suite that way so it was a great honor,” Mother Tynnetta said.
Mother Tynnetta said that Ta Ha originated in 1967; however, it began developing musically in 1981. She has tried to find a representative of particular sounds that she heard, including the Hip Hop sound, which is how Bro. Kenny blended into the symphony.
“I’m thinking Hip Hop and I’m thinking Bro. Kenneth, as you could hear there were various genres in the music itself and then to combine these instruments from Asia along with the symphony has always been my desire. When I play the piano, that’s what I hear, all these instruments coming together with the western symphony so I saw the fulfillment of that tonight,” Mother Tynnetta said.
Min. Farrakhan underscored the evening of elegance with his introduction of Mother Tynnetta, who has not trained professionally for any instrument. She began the concert with a slide presentation, which showed various family photos, indigenous artwork, and different activities throughout the world, including a rehearsal for a performance of Ta Ha in Mexico City.
Donning her signature, white, decorated Number 19 garment and fez, Mother Tynnetta then graced the piano and gifted the filled-to-capacity ballroom with the science of her musical compositional works. Indigo Bleu (17-year-old harpist), Delgerbat Uvsh (young Mongolian native who played the Morin Huur, Horse-head Fiddle), Kamil Tekelioglu (who performed “The Mystical Dance of the Dervish”), and The Divine Hands (choreographed and interpretive ballet) all accompanied Mother Tynnetta.
The final indulgence was the orchestrated score of “Ta Ha: The Final Call Symphonic Suite,” conducted, arranged and orchestrated by Professor Phillip Xiang Fie Lin.
Kenny Muhammad, professional vocal percussionist, better known as “The Human Beat Box,” complimented the orchestra with his unique sound of beats. And other featured artists were Hong Lin (Musical Director), Sylvia de la Cerna (Musical Coordinator), Lily Yuan (Bamboo Chinese Dulcimer), Betty Xiang (Erhu), Sheik Ahmed Tajani (Chorus), and Concerto Artiste Chorus & Symphony (Symphony and Chorus).
“For my mother and all of my family, this is the best gift that he could give to my mother personally because this full symphonic orchestra is something that my mother has wanted all her life,” Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, one of Mother Tynnetta’s four children, shared.