Saturday, December 23, 2006

Enthralling performances of mystic musicians

By Arunima Chakraborty - The Financial Express - Bombay,India
Sunday, December 17, 2006

At half past nine that Sunday evening when the show ended, there would have been many who wished the show would go on. During the evening, the melomaniacs of Delhi withstood the December chill and an unexpected drizzle at the amphitheatre to enjoy the powerful, enthralling performances of mystic musicians.

The occasion was Ruhaniyat, a Sufi and mystic music festival, claimed to be the “biggest” in the country; and the artistes were all talented musicians who, in different languages and through diverse forms of music, enabled the audience to feel that ineffable sense of bliss which Sufi music always invokes.

Ruhaniyat, as Kailash Mehra Sandhu -an artiste at the festival- explained, means: “that which satiates the ruh or the soul.”

It was held for the first time in Mumbai in 2001 and this year, another five cities- Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, witnessed the festival.

Mahesh Babu, director of Banyan Tree Events, the cultural organisation which has conceivd and produced Ruhaniyat said: “I feel it is a necessity today to showcase the works of Sufis and mystics because they know how to rise above the mundane, materialistic problems of life. Their music is always unique.”

Why does Ruhaniyat often feature relatively unknown artistes? According to Babu, “This year, the festival in Mumbai featured artistes from Tibet and Iran. And in Delhi, we invited musicians from even Bengal and Assam. They are not stars but artistes who wholeheartedly endeavour to keep alive the traditions of mystic music.”

In fact, the artistes were remarkably honest and unassuming in their attitude; they all chose to speak about their love for Sufi music and its rich heritage rather than about their own achievements.
Hafiza Begum Chaudhury, who sang a couple of mellifluous Jikir Jari compositions of Azan Peer, a 16th century Sufi saint of Assam explained how Sufi music in the state was greatly influenced by Vaishnavism.

A modern-music artist witb Doordarshan, Guwahati, Hafiza Begum said, “I loved Jikir Jari ever since my childhood. However, the sad reality is that even in its birth place—Assam, this genre of mystic music is not very popular. So, I am pleased that Banyan Tree is making such sincere efforts to popularise lesser-known forms of music.”

Another artiste who performed at the festival was Kailash Mehra Sandhu. He sang Kashmiri Sufi kalams and said, “Ruhaniyat is a wonderful platform for us to bond with the audience through the music of God.” Sandhu, a professor of music at the Jammu University has sung all of kinds of songs in Dogri, Tamil and Bengali. “But it is Sufi music which is closest to my heart,” and added that Sufi kalams have the peculiar power to soothe and excite at the same time.

One artiste who got long ovations after each of her performances was Parvati Baul from Bengal. Sitting on the floor of the green room and munching a samosa, she dilated upon the Baul culture. She said: “There are four kinds of Baul singers—Aaul, Baul, Darbesh and Sai; their music vary, but all of them believe in the attainment of Providence through sadhana.”

Parvati, who studied at Shantiniketan and has been performing at Ruhaniyat since its first year, feels that it is only a matter of time before folk and mystic music become as popular as classical or film music. She said: “It all dependes on how habituated the listener’s ears are to a particular kind of music. I find Flaminco music riveting today, but I don’t think I felt the same when I first heard it. In short, the more people listen to various kinds of Sufi music, the more they’ll love it.”

And Ruhaniyat, the music festival, by familiarising music-lovers with the magic of Sufi music, will in all probability, help them fall in love with it. Now that’s certainly a good deed.

1 comment:

tpraja said...

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Enthralling performances of mystic musicians
By Arunima Chakraborty - The Financial Express - Bombay,India
Sunday, December 17, 2006

At half past nine that Sunday evening when the show ended, there would have been many who wished the show would go on. During the evening, the melomaniacs of Delhi withstood the December chill and an unexpected drizzle at the amphitheatre to enjoy the powerful, enthralling performances of mystic musicians.

The occasion was Ruhaniyat, a Sufi and mystic music festival, claimed to be the “biggest” in the country; and the artistes were all talented musicians who, in different languages and through diverse forms of music, enabled the audience to feel that ineffable sense of bliss which Sufi music always invokes.

Ruhaniyat, as Kailash Mehra Sandhu -an artiste at the festival- explained, means: “that which satiates the ruh or the soul.”

It was held for the first time in Mumbai in 2001 and this year, another five cities- Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, witnessed the festival.

Mahesh Babu, director of Banyan Tree Events, the cultural organisation which has conceivd and produced Ruhaniyat said: “I feel it is a necessity today to showcase the works of Sufis and mystics because they know how to rise above the mundane, materialistic problems of life. Their music is always unique.”

Why does Ruhaniyat often feature relatively unknown artistes? According to Babu, “This year, the festival in Mumbai featured artistes from Tibet and Iran. And in Delhi, we invited musicians from even Bengal and Assam. They are not stars but artistes who wholeheartedly endeavour to keep alive the traditions of mystic music.”

In fact, the artistes were remarkably honest and unassuming in their attitude; they all chose to speak about their love for Sufi music and its rich heritage rather than about their own achievements.
Hafiza Begum Chaudhury, who sang a couple of mellifluous Jikir Jari compositions of Azan Peer, a 16th century Sufi saint of Assam explained how Sufi music in the state was greatly influenced by Vaishnavism.

A modern-music artist witb Doordarshan, Guwahati, Hafiza Begum said, “I loved Jikir Jari ever since my childhood. However, the sad reality is that even in its birth place—Assam, this genre of mystic music is not very popular. So, I am pleased that Banyan Tree is making such sincere efforts to popularise lesser-known forms of music.”

Another artiste who performed at the festival was Kailash Mehra Sandhu. He sang Kashmiri Sufi kalams and said, “Ruhaniyat is a wonderful platform for us to bond with the audience through the music of God.” Sandhu, a professor of music at the Jammu University has sung all of kinds of songs in Dogri, Tamil and Bengali. “But it is Sufi music which is closest to my heart,” and added that Sufi kalams have the peculiar power to soothe and excite at the same time.

One artiste who got long ovations after each of her performances was Parvati Baul from Bengal. Sitting on the floor of the green room and munching a samosa, she dilated upon the Baul culture. She said: “There are four kinds of Baul singers—Aaul, Baul, Darbesh and Sai; their music vary, but all of them believe in the attainment of Providence through sadhana.”

Parvati, who studied at Shantiniketan and has been performing at Ruhaniyat since its first year, feels that it is only a matter of time before folk and mystic music become as popular as classical or film music. She said: “It all dependes on how habituated the listener’s ears are to a particular kind of music. I find Flaminco music riveting today, but I don’t think I felt the same when I first heard it. In short, the more people listen to various kinds of Sufi music, the more they’ll love it.”

And Ruhaniyat, the music festival, by familiarising music-lovers with the magic of Sufi music, will in all probability, help them fall in love with it. Now that’s certainly a good deed.

1 comment:

tpraja said...

Have you seen the new India search engine www.ByIndia.com they added all the cool features of popular products like MySpace, YouTube, Ebay, Craigslist, etc. all for free to use and specifically for India. Anyone else try this yet?

ByIndia.com First to Blend Search, Social Network, Video Sharing and Auctions Into One Seamless Product for Indian Internet Users.