'Sufism taught me to learn from all truths'

SOULFUL VOICE

Singer Sonam Kalra whose music amalgamates teachings of different faiths, says Sufism has taught her to accept all truths and believe that all truths have their own substance.

“I came to accept that each of us has our own truths and feel an overwhelming love for God that I take from Sufism” Kalra told PTI. She was here to perform at a fundraising event for the Gunjan Foundation, that works for the cause of education of underprivileged children.

Kalra’s band, ‘The Sufi Gospel Project’ features her as lead singer. Ahsaan Ali Khan plays the sarangi, Aman Ali Khan on the tabla, flautist Rajesh Prasanna, Fakhroddin Ghaffari playing the Daf, drummer Tarit Pal and Anil Chawla on the keyboard.

The group performed an eclectic mix of songs, that blends traditional Indian instruments and sounds with age-old Gospel hymns and Indian text and prayers.

In a typical performance of the Sufi Gospel project, poetry of Khusrau blends with Amazing Grace, Kabir shares the stage with Abide with Me and Bulleh Shah's voice is heard amidst English and Gaelic texts.

Opening with John Newton’s Amazing Grace last evening’s performance ended with a soulful rendition of Baba Buley Shah’s Dama Dam Mast Kalander.

Songs by Leonard Cohen, Ray Charles, Kabir were also featured.

“I don't plan my mix it just comes to me the process is very intuitive,” says the singer, who recently returned from a ‘fantastic six-country tour’ where they sang in Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Kalra who trained in Indian classical music under Shubha Mudgal and Pandit Sarithi Chatterje took to gospel singing while on a holiday in Singapore, where she trained in the genre, under Ashley Clement.

However, it was only when she was invited to perform at the Hazrat Inayat Khan concert at the Nizammuddin Dargah, that she decided that she felt that she should do something with Sufism. Since then says the singer there has been no looking back for her.

The Delhi-based singer believes that, Indian classical music gives one a great grounding, given the fact that one learns by ear, as it is an oral tradition.

Meanwhile Gunjan Foundation’s founder, Sushma Singhvi, says, “The reason why I chose a Sufi music concert for raising funds for the organisation was because it touches one’s heart, mind and soul.”

The foundation’s vice-president, Preeti Mehta says, “Society is right know strife with religious tension. This kind of an event gives people a chance to connect with God.”
The event was attended by former Chief Justice of India, Rajendra Mal Lodha, noted-journalist Nalini Singh, politician Jaya Jaitley, former Justice G S Singhvi and secretary to the Vice-President, Swashpan Singh, among others.

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