How Raihan conquered the world  
Any recent history of Malaysian music simply has to include a large section devoted to Raihan, the Nasheed group that took the country by storm in the mid-90s. Their debut album, entitled Puji-Puijan, hit the charts in late 1996, selling over 750,000 units in Malaysia and many more worldwide. As of this date, it has sold a grand total of 3.5 million copies across the globe, making it the most successful Malaysian album of all time.
So what is it that made Raihan so successful?
A Nasheed band made up of five members, Raihan have a reputation for creating deep, soulful vocal music that instantly resonates with the listener's sense of spirituality and emotion. The singing from core members Nazrey Johani, Che Amran Idris, Abu Bakar Md Yatim, Amran Ibrahim and Azhari Ahmad was backed up by driving insistent percussion and their adoption of instrumentation differentiated them from the Nasheed music of the past. Theirs was a truly new take on an old formula, and it instantly clicked with a world music audience.
The year after Puji-Puijan, Raihan sang in front of Queen Elizabeth 2nd at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Edinburgh. Soon after, they received an honorary letter from Prince Charles for their performance at Commonwealth in Concert and then performed at the Commonwealth Games 1998 in Kuala Lumpur.
Tragedy struck on 29 August 2001 when Azhari Ahmad suffered a fatal heart attack at the Era music Awards in Pahang. The other four members decided to keep working in his wake, releasing 10 more albums since Ahmad's passing, all of them massively successful and critically acclaimed.
Raihan has been showered with awards over the years. They have won numerous AIM awards in various categories, including best album, best group, best nasyid album and best nasyid song.
Raihan's success has taken them across the world, playing to packed crowds in famous venues. As well as being only the third Malaysian artist to perform at London's renowned Royal Albert Hall, they also became the first to perform their for a second time in 2008. They have also toured extensively across France, the UK, Austria, Canada and the United States.
Perhaps Raihan's success is best summed up by their motto: Pray Hard, Work Smart.
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