A soulful weekend
The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai is hosting the ninth edition of the annual Sufi music festival, Sama’a: The Mystic Ecstasy, starting on Friday. The festival, which will run till 12 November, will showcase Sufi ideology from cultures around the world.
Suvarnalata Rao, head of programming music at the NCPA, says: “The Sufi lyrics speak of the agony of separation with the Creator and the ecstasy of the union with the beloved Divine. Sufism stands for brotherhood, and in today’s age of intolerance, Sufi philosophy can bind people with love. Sama’a is for anyone who is looking to go beyond the man- made barriers of religion, and experience how Sufi music can evoke a state of trance.”
The festival will begin with Sufi qawwali and ghazal by Munawar Masoom and group. Their performance will incorporate works by Amir Khusrau and modern poets.
Kailash Kher, who will perform along with his band Kailasa on 11 November, says Sufisim is sometimes interpreted very loosely in Bollywood. “Sufi music is not always in the purest form in Bollywood because people may not decipher the original lyrics and thus won’t be able to relate to it,” he says. His performance will have traditional Sufi songs as well as hit Sufi numbers from Bollywood.
Sama’a will see the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary Sufi music. “The interest of the youth towards Sufi music is immense. We have a habit of always underestimating them, but they are extremely intelligent and understand that music is therapy in itself,” says Kher.
Sufi Soul—The Mystic Music Of Islam, directed by Simon Broughton, will be screened on the last day. Written by author and historian William Dalrymple, the 50-minute documentary explores the myriad forms of Sufi music. Dalrymple will later take questions from the audience.
The festival will conclude with a performance by Shye Ben Tzur & The Rajasthan Express, a traditional qawwali group from Rajasthan. Tzur, the world’s first Jewish qawaal, adds, “We will perform some original compositions in Hebrew, Urdu and Hindi, with the use of some modern instruments, like guitar.”
Sama’a: The Mystic Ecstasy is on at the NCPA till 12 November. Tickets, Rs300-2,200, available on In.bookmyshow.com. Seating for the documentary on first-come, first-served basis.