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Spiritual odyssey

Ruhaniyat takes Hyderabadis on a unique musical journey

Virtuoso performance Parvati Baul

The All India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival Ruhaniyat, held recently at Ravindra Bharathi had a packed audience. This festival, as a concept, has been organised since the past eight years. Banyan Tree Events have organised these festivals at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune.

The concerts were a unique musical journey taken out from various parts of our country from north to south and east to west, bringing alive the traditional singing and rural folk music and cultures of those places. A brainchild of Mahesh Babu, director of Banyan Tree Events, Ruhaniyat has become a platform for unknown artists from all over the country and beyond.

Ruhaniyat had Sufi kalam and mystic songs from Rajasthan, Baul songs from Bengal, Shabads and Sufi songs from Punjab, drummers from Kerala, ensemble music from Iran and qawwali from Delhi by well-known artistes. The programme began with a solo drummer from Kerala, who set the tempo for Mamma Khan and his troupe from Rajasthan. Son of the well-known singer Rane Khan, Mamma Khan began his recital with two compositions of Baba Bulleh Shah, Har Rang De Vich and a loli depicting a story about how Baba Bulleh Shah was tested for his miraculous powers by the locals when they requested the saint to wake up a child who was actually dead. Mamma Khan’s expressive singing was applauded by the audience.

This was followed by Sufi songs by the Bran music ensemble from Iran. The artistes from Iran used local instruments which resembled the sitar and sarangi in a miniature version. The artistes performed two instrumental pieces and the vocalist sang Sufi songs.

The highlight of the evening was the Baul singer, Parvathy Baul from Bengal, who mesmerised the audience with powerful rendition of three compositions. Parvathy Baul is a singer, painter and storyteller from West Bengal. After receiving her initial music and dance training during her childhood, she studied visual arts at Kala Bhavan at Shantiniketan, the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore. The performance by Parvathi was amazing as she sang in a high-pitched emotional voice, plucking the ektara, playing the percussion instrument, duggi, and dancing beautifully, all at the same time. Her breath control and mastery over melody and rhythm were spellbinding. The songs, Sonar Pakhi and Prana Ram, were superb.

Followed this was an electrifying performance by Punjab folk singer Dev Dildaar, who began his concert with a devotional song and later went on to singing Sufi kalams, including Main Kamli, the famous Bulleh Shah composition.

Nand Kumar and group from Kerala showed their mastery in the mystic drums item by increasing the rhythm to peak tempo with balance and precision.

The festival concluded with Nizami brothers from Delhi presenting Sufi Qawwali.The Nizami brothers, Ghulam Sabir and Ghulam Waris, started with Nigahon Se Keh Do Ke Parda Utha Le, followed by Kalam Khusro’s Naina Milake, a popular number.

They used verses to project national integration and brotherhood among all religions in India in their rendition of Khwaja ke Deewane, which was well-received by the audience.

Kudos to Banyan Tree for organising the show.


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