Our office might be closed for summer vacation, but the TED Fellows are hard at work at the very first TED Fellows Retreat, happening now in Whistler, British Columbia. Because the Fellows have proliferated since the program officially launched in 2009, many of these extraordinary thinkers have never had a chance to meet and conspire. And thus, the TED […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
TEDGlobal Fellow Usman Riaz is a young Pakistani musician making a worldwide mark with his astonishing and fun-to-listen-to technique. Influenced by percussive guitarists--who move beyond strumming to striking, treating their fretboard like the soundboard of a piano--Riaz makes a sound that feels larger than the instrument itself, with a compelling pattern of repetition and variation that harkens to mystical music traditions.
In 2011, a viral video for his song "Fire Fly" helped bring his sound from the small-but-thriving Pakistani music community to a global audience. He's now collaborating with other musicians in Pakistan and working on a new album of original music.
"What others say"
Usman Riaz’s TED talks
Usman Riaz on the TED Blog
As a young musician in Pakistan, TED Fellow Usman Riaz learned to play in the percussive guitar style by watching YouTube videos of Kaki King and her influences, including the founder of the technique, Preston Reed. Now, Riaz is among the artists and musicians calling for Pakistan to lift its seven-month-old ban on YouTube. Talking […]Continue reading
When 21-year-old guitar whiz Usman Riaz was growing up in Pakistan, he often found himself entranced by videos of Preston Reed, one of the pioneers of fingerstyle guitar. As a longtime admirer of Reed’s unique rhythms and plucky sounds, Riaz calls the experience of actually sharing a stage with him at TEDGlobal 2012 “very surreal.” […]Continue reading