The sound of Sufi

mystic sounds

The much-awaited ‘Ruhaniyat : All India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival’ was held at the Jayamahal Palace Hotel recently.

Although the festival, organised by Banyan Tree, is in its 13th year, this was its eighth edition in Bangalore. The festival had the who’s who of the City attending it and all the music lovers were eager to listen to the melodious tunes. The highlight of this year’s edition was the Indo-Turkish production titled ‘Rumi-Emre meet Khusrau-Kabir’.

Explaining the concept of the production, Mahesh Babu, the director of the festival, said, “Teen years are associated with change, transformation and evolution. Two learned scholars-cum-composers­ — Madangopal Singh from India and Latif Bolat from Turkey — are coming together for the first time to present this enchanting production which will take the audience on a musical journey crisscrossing history and
geography.”

Other line-ups for the evening included Sufi Kalam and ‘Mystic Songs’ by Kachra Khan and group from Rajasthan; Theyyam by Ajeesh V and group from Kerala and Sufi Qawwali by Chand Nizami and group to name a few. But how popular are qawwalis among youngsters?

   According to Mahesh Babu, “Ruhaniyat is concluded with a qawwali no matter which city it’s held in. This has also given a new lease of life to this genre. Plus the audience has a huge number of youngsters and they enjoy our qawwalies so much and are expressive of their appreciation.” He added, “They clap along and often, start dancing in absolute joy. I think the lyrics, the unique rhythmic groove and the whole vibrancy of a qawwali are the things that are attracting these bright youngsters to it.”

Another highlight of this year’s festival is that it’s being organised in Bhubaneswar thereby making it a ten city festival. In April 2014, the festival will go to Istanbul, Turkey. The performers enthralled the audience, which sat in rapt attention. “My love for this kind of music has been reinforced by the performance today.

I really wish we had this more often. The artistes are so talented and the renditions were simply excellent,” said Sudha Nagaraj, a member of the audience who had come along with her family. Aakash Rai, who had taken the day off to attend the concert, said, “I have been attending this programme for the last few years.

Since my office and house are far away, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it if I went to work. Anyway, I had year-end vacations and there’s no better way to make use of them than attending cultural programmes. It’s been an enriching evening.”

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