Dale Marcell’s Departure: A Great Loss to the Muslim Art Community

Taha Ghayyur (a MuslimFest Organizer & Sound Vision Director)
Dec. 12, 2008

I write this tribute with a heavy heart.

I can recall his sparkling smile and extraordinary energy in lifting people’s spirits.

He was a performing artist of remarkable calibre. He was the leader of the Fletcher Valve Drummers, who were first introduced to the Muslim community at MuslimFest 2004, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The meaning of his Muslim name, Jamaluddin (“Beauty of the Deen”), did not only reflect in the beauty of his personality, but also in the beautiful art he so passionately shared with the world.

Dale Marcell at MuslimFest 2007

Dale Marcell at MuslimFest 2007

Brother Dale (Jamaluddin) Marcell, who embraced Islam about 3 years ago, passed away at his home in Kitchener, ON, on December 11th, 2008. He was in his mid-50’s.  

Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon (To God we belong and to Him we return). May Allah erase his past mistakes and give him the glad tidings of Paradise, Ameen.

Many of us could recall his public declaration of Shahada (acceptance of Islam) at MuslimFest 2005 as he shared the stage with his drumming companions and Dawud Wharnsby: “I love Islam and I love Muslims!”.

Born and raised on a farm on the St. Lawrence in Iroquois, Ontario, Dale Marcell, who was of Aboriginal descent, always had a special interest in the use of drumming in Aboriginal cultures for emotional and spiritual healing.

The layers of rhythm and energetic percussions of the Fletcher Valve Drummers brought a new dimension to the live Nasheed / Musical stage in the Muslim community.

Dale and his group were the all-time favourites at MuslimFest in Canada and at several major events in the UK, as they shared the stage with renowned Muslim performers, including Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Native Deen, 786, and Ashiqe Rasul.

You may watch two of his live performaces at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3GKx-IDW6Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8KWexu1pKg 

Hundreds of attendees have been enchanted by and have learned from their drumming circles, drumming workshops, and live concert performances.

His first and only album after he embraced Islam, “A Different Drum”, was produced by Sound Vision. In this album, Dawud Wharnsby Ali joined forces with the Fletcher Valve Drummers for a unique and totally new style of Islamic songs.

Although Dale was at times disillusioned by the growing pains of the Muslim entertainment industry and was disappointed by the lack of appreciation of his art in the Muslim community, he always remained optimistic and focused on his service and talent.

The most inspiring aspect of his work was not known to many in the Muslim community. Dale had a ceaseless schedule of drumming circles and workshops in prisons, seniors homes, and shelters for battered women as well as programs for kids with physical and cognitive disabilities in public schools.

Dale Leading a Drumming Circle

Dale Leading a Drumming Circle

He loved raising the spirits of people who had lost hope. He had his ways of relating to the lonely and less fortunate with his positive spirit that often baffled qualified social workers in the GTA. He had a unique way of doing Dawa to such people.

I remember seeing him in tears once as he narrated his experience with a senior who had not smiled for ten years until he got him to beat the drums.

Several disabled persons began to regain their mobility as they joined these therapeutic drumming circles. Dale’s spirit of love breathed a new life and hope in so many.

He described his mission in a Maclean’s Magazine interview, “I think of myself as a drumming guide — helping people remember the beat they were born with.”

As Dale’s beloved wife Chris and his two dear children, Nate and Kattie, deal with this tragedy, let us make a sincere Dua (prayers) for him, his soul, and his family.

He was always happy about his family’s support for his practice of Islam. 

It’s obvious, despite all the raving fans who surrounded him at the Muslim events, Dale himself was a strong lonely Muslim. Perhaps the Muslim community could have done more to assist him in his difficult times.

May Allah bless Br. Jamaluddin with the highest rank in Jannah (Paradise), Ameen.

May Allah truly reward him for his social work and for lifting the spirits of people around him, Ameen.

May Allah give his family members fortitude to endure this loss, Ameen.

May Allah inspire a new generation of talented Muslim artists and percussionists like Dale to beautify our gatherings and touch the lives of people, Ameen.

9 Comments

Filed under Canadian Muslims

9 responses to “Dale Marcell’s Departure: A Great Loss to the Muslim Art Community

  1. shuaib Khan

    Br. Jamaludin
    May Allah enter in Jannah & peacs to the sole & rest of the family.
    “Every sole has to test of death”

  2. Waseem

    Brother Dale Jamaludin,

    I had the privledge of meeting Dale in 2006 when I was working on Muslimfest, I found him to be such a sincere, warm, caring and extremely talented individual. During soundcheck I had brought my 6month old son, Adam and while we were micing and soundchecking the band, Brother Dale had Adam sitting on a drum stool banging away on his jembe drum. It was an absolute beautiful site, I bought his record with the Fletcher Valve drummers, and Adam to this day still loves listening to the opening instrumental track. May Allah grant you into Jannah and give peace to your soul and grant peace to your entire family. May you be forgiven for any sins you may committed and may you be blessed for all the good you have done in your life, you and your family are in our duas. Ameen.

  3. Saima Alvi

    any death is always a shock to me, even when expected in old because you never know the time at which they are going to leave this world. Only Allah knows.

    I am sincerely sad about the loss of Br. Dale Marcell. He really brought happiness to the faces of anyone who hear him play the drums and jus from getting to know him. His personality was cheery and he was always smiling. Alhumdulillah that’s how i’ll remember him. May Allah give Junnah so that he can continue to be content and smiling, inshaAllah. May Allah protect him on the Day of Judgement and from the tortures of the grave. Ameen.

  4. SS

    I was touched by his story…even though I did not get the privilege to know him, I truly wish I did…and to hear his unique drumming.

    May Allah SWT grant him peace in junnah (heaven) and provide for his family. ameen

  5. Abdullah Beri

    I am sincerely touched by the Story and departure of Br. Dale Marcell.Everyone that comes to this world is a gift to humanity. Br. Dale marcell seemed a special gift from Allah to so many people.The Question I have is what is the muslim community in Ontario and Toronto going to do to ease the consequence of of his departure on his immidate family i.e. his wife and and his children. Is there any fundraising being arranged through a Bank? We should all do our part to help..,

  6. Sarah Shaikh

    I am glad to say that I had the privilege of meeting and knowing Brother Dale. I work in a long-term care facility and the first time Dale came into our ‘home’ as an entertainer and a spiritual uplifter; I recognized his drumming style from the Dawud Wharsby CD. I had no idea that he was the actual drummer for Brother Dawud, but I approached him asking him about his music. I later found that Dale was the majic drummer behind the beautiful lyrics! ..

    over the course of many months he continued to come to our facility and enlighten the faces of many lost souls through is interacting music known as “drumming therapy”. i got to know him as an individual alhumdolillah. He was very enthusiastic, cheerful, hard working and extremely loving and kind-hearted.

    I switched jobs about a year ago, still working in long-term care. I just recently decided to look up Dale’s number to invite him to spread the smiles here at my new job. As I searched the web .. I found that he is no longer with us. This braught a great weight to my heart and tears to my eyes. Dale will be greatly missed and remember by many Muslim for his positive contributuion not only to the Muslim world, but to the other communities as well.

    May Allah SWT accept his good deeds.
    May Dale’s deeds flourish and continue to touch the lives of many as he receives Sadka Jaryia from what he has left behind.
    May Allah SWT garnt him Jannat-ul-Fardoose as he was a great asset to us and will be remembered in a very positive way through his work and efforts to helps others.
    We love you Dale and May you be safe and Happy InshAllah as you have returned to your Creator and belong to only Him eternally….. Ameen

  7. Довольно интересно конечно. Я немогу подписаться под каждым вашим словом, но в общем соглашусь.

  8. larry

    Hi. Appreciate for looking at my blog. I am currently using learn drumming online kind of design.

  9. Interesting story! Thanks!

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