Lu Fuki and Tazeen Ayub: United Through Spirituality and Sound

by | Aug 14, 2018 | Musicians

Lu Fuki and wife Tazeen Ayub are not looking to build fortune or fame with their music. As the couple continues to break ground in Detroit’s music scene their mission has been made clear; to use music as a medium to connect with their listeners and uplift them to a higher level of self-awareness. Performing together with Fuki’s band, Divine Providence, the couple aims to take their audience on an emotional journey through a unique combination of reflective and energetic melodies.

Early Beginnings

Hoping to expand his music career and seek out opportunities to play, Fuki moved from California to Detroit in 2002. A self taught guitarist, he began holding jam sessions with friends and experimenting with musical arrangements. “I got into music because it was a form of therapy,” said Fuki. “It gave me something to concentrate on outside of my problems at the time. Since I was already jamming with friends and felt that I had a lot to say, I decided to take things to the next level and formed a band.”

(Photo: Lu Fuki)

Ayub agreed that she too used music to help her cope and heal from a difficult time in life. A native of Detroit and also self-taught in guitar, she would write and perform her own music at open mic events around the city. Her first encounter with Fuki came while visiting a friend on Wayne State’s campus. “I was sitting in the grass playing my guitar and Lu was walking by. He stopped and told me that my guitar was out of tune and offered to fix it for me,” she laughed. “Over time, we developed a connection and wrote a few songs that we decided to perform together. For a while Lu played gigs with his friends and I separately, but once we all came together it was like natural magic.” she said.

Spirituality and Sound

By mixing sounds from Indian, Arabic and African elements, the group aims to connect with  listeners on a deeper level and make them feel as strongly as they can. “Everyone hears the same note but it affects everyone differently,” said Fuki. “We don’t want our music to be obvious, so we create curiosity by using a mix of instruments that aren’t typically used together in a live band performance. This includes items like congas and violins.”

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Fuki explained that he named the band Divine Providence because everything happened according to a certain will. “We all share the attitude that music is a spiritual act that can connect you to something greater than yourself,” he said. “Typically when bands form everyone’s egos and intentions are different. For something to happen this easy had to have been planned.”

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Both Fuki and Ayub want for people to feel happy, reflective, and hopeful after listening their songs. “Our music is very emotional and has always been influenced by spirituality,” says Ayub. “We take what we feel within and relay it through chord progressions and sound. From there, the audience can interpret it as they will.  It’s not just music for entertainment, it’s music for the soul.”

Favorite musicians

When asked to name their favorite musicians, Fuki stated that his top picks include Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, and Carlos Santana. “They are the ones that I pull from and model my technique after,” he explained. “Coltrane had a huge influence on me because he tried to reach beyond the bounds and unite people. Ultimately, they were all great teachers to learn from when I first picked up a guitar.”

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Among Ayub’s favorites are Lauryn Hill and the late Nina Simone. “I love both of these artists because they are very honest and genuine in their lyrics,” said Ayub. “Their music is transparent enough to where anyone who is listening can understand what they’re saying. That’s something we seek to do within our music as well.”

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Advice for artists

More often than not, fear and doubt are the main culprits keeping artists from advancing in their craft. For those currently battling these issues, Fuki and Ayub offered a few powerful words of wisdom.

“One thing I’ve learned is to not let fear hold you back,” said Ayub. “If you are creating something or working on a project, don’t be afraid of what is going to happen and doubt it. If you believe in it and are passionate about it, then share it. Someone out there is going to appreciate it. Passion is what calls people to art; if you see the creator is passionate, you will be drawn to the work,” she said.

Fuki adds that working together with like minded peers can also be helpful. “A common problem with artists is that they don’t spend enough time collaborating and bouncing ideas off of each other. Doing this will definitely encourage and motivate you. It is also helpful to get out to events in support of other artists. Within that space you will most likely find the opportunity to have a conversation about your own work.”

future plans

Currently Ayub hosts Digging Deeper, a weekly podcast that airs live every Tuesday on Instagram at 7:00pm. The goal of the podcast is to bring artists together and speak about issues surrounding art, activism, and spirituality. “We just wrapped up our latest season in May, but each week I get to sit down with a Detroit artist and speak to them about something they are passionate about,” said Ayub. “We get to have deeper connection with their art form.”

In the coming weeks the couple plans to release their live performance duet album titled “Love and Light”. They hope that one day their craft will be a means to travel the world and meet different cultures. “Our end goal is not to be famous and have hundreds of thousands of followers,” said Ayub. “Instead, it has more to do with the love we have for our craft and how we can use it for positive purposes.”

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Part of the bands purpose is also to ensure that they stay true to their roots as individuals. Ayub noted that one of the bands upcoming projects will aim to use elements of her Southeast Asian heritage in order to bring a unique flair to jazz. “I think that it’s important for artists to stay true to themselves,” said Ayub. “Every time I perform I dress in a salwar-kameez, which is a traditional outfit that represents my culture. I like to mix different parts of my identity into my style because they are a part of who I am. I’m happy that we as a band are not willing to switch up who we are or what we stand for.”

In Conclusion:

To hear more music by Lu Fuki and Divine Providence, check out their latest album ‘Inner Horizons’ over on Spotify.

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Fuki explained everything recorded and named on the album is related to sunsets. “We did this because they represent the beginning and end of something, and the cycles of life. Even our wedding rings have sunsets on them,” he smiled. “There is no limit to the amount of sunsets you can see and where you see them. And that’s how I feel about our music.”

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Our favorite track by Lu Fuki and Divine Providence is ‘Luster’. Share your favorite track in the comments!