A magical Sufi night

Spiritual treat

A magical Sufi night

Delhiites were treated to a deeply spiritual and musical evening recently. Renowned singer and Begum Akhtar medallist Suman Devgan performed some of the most beautiful ghazals and Sufiyana kalam. Her knowledge and skilfulness at combining various raags to expressing the emotions of Urdu poets of yore pleasantly surprised all at Azad Bhavan, IP Estate.

A veteran of Hindustani classical music and honoured by many institutions like the Muhammad Ali Jauhar Academy, Suman has been performing across the world for years now. This time, she was invited here in Delhi by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Suman was brought up in Rampur, UP where Urdu was the first language and ghazals synonymous with popular culture and entertainment. She informs Metrolife, “I am fortunate to have come across this genre of music. As a child, I was schooled in all kinds of music – classical, dadra, thumri etc. but it was ghazals and sufiyana which won my heart.”

She received the tutelage under stalwarts like Sajjad Hussain, Ustad Ghulam Hussain Khan, Ustad Hafeez Ahmed Khan, Ustad Iqbal Ahmed and Naina Devi, and today composes her own music as well gives music to verses of various celebrated Urdu poets.
At Azad Bhavan, she opened the event with Wali Asi’s poetry, Yadein tumhari apni ghazal chhod jayenge, hum dono ek Taj Mahal chhod jayenge followed by Manzilon se begana aaj bhi safar mera, Dr Bashir Badra’s Maan mausam ka kaha chhayi ghata and Shehr-e-zindagi tanha ghar ke bamudar tanha. She beautifully crafted raag Bahar and Rageshri, and Bageshri in the last two.

Then came a string of Sufiyana kalam songs. The audience thoroughly enjoyed Ibn-e-insha’s Kal chaudhvi ki raat thi, shab bhar raha charcha tera; Amir Khusro’s Aaj rang hain maula and Qatil Shifayi’s Jab bhi ata hai mera naam tere naam ke sath, jane kyun log mere naam se jal jate hain. She also presented some songs composed by musicians Mahendra Sarin and Pandit Jwala Prasad.

Suman explained, “These days, there is a lot of talk around Sufi music but in reality, there is nothing called Sufi music. It is the way you sing a spiritual song, completely absorbed in its flavour and feelings, when you are connected to the almighty for whom the song is rendered, that you sing Sufi music. The magic lays less not in the singer’s voice but her mind.”  

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