Feb 1, 2012

Ruhaniyat

Ruhaniyat, an all India Sufi and Mystic music festival was in Bangalore last month. 2011 was the eleventh edition across India, and the seventh in Bangalore- this was the first time that I'd even heard of it.


True to the spirit of the festival, the 'concert' was held on a cool winter night under open skies and huge trees outside the Jayamahal Palace Hotel. A total lunar eclipse which happened right above our heads through the entire show made it all a lot more magical.

There was an interesting line up of artistes, from all over the country. Writer, Gulo, S, K, D and I managed to catch seats a little far out, with many many heads and craning necks obstructing views. I had to peep through the gaps mostly to make some tiny drawings of the artistes.

Mystic Songs / Abdul Rashid Hafiz and group, Kashmir

Sufi Kalam / Shakur Khan and group, Rajasthan
Baul songs / Parvathy Baul, West Bengal

In spite of singing being the focus in this ensemble, the Khartal player (I cannot recall his name) was the most theatrical and stole everyone's attention, what with his expressions and little dances while he played.


Parvathy Baul was, by far, my favourite. Everything about her fascinated me- her clear clear voice, the knee length dreadlocks that whirled about her when she swirled, the way she seemed to be lost in dance sometimes while singing. Oh, she was the highlight of the night.

Sema / Whirling Dervishes, Turkey

I think a lot of people were hoping for a Khwaja Mere Khwaja moment with this piece. It might have been more awe inspiring if the Dervishes weren't confined to the small stage.


Sufi Qawwali / Shameem Nayeem Ajmeri and group, Jaipur


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{The concert also featured Bharud and Abhang by Avdhoot Gandhi from Maharashtra}.

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