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Forever the seeker

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Forever the seeker

Thursday, 21 June 2018 | Aparna Bhalla

A three-part monthly series brings together Sufi artists and listeners for a baithak-style concert, says Aparna Bhalla

A full moon night, rendititons by sufi artists, the calming presence of a banyan tree, a striking view of Qutub Minar and an absolutely serene atmosphere certainly make for a perfect night.

Under the Banyan Tree On A Full Moon Night, a curatorial venture of the entertainment company Teamwork Arts, is a special concert series portraying pure Indian classical and folk Music. The concluding concert, finale of the three-part monthly series, will be conducted  on June 24 at 1AQ, opposite Qutub Minar, Mehrauli. This baithak-style evening will feature Sufi folk musicians like Harpreet, Folk Qawwali by Mir Mukhtiyar Ali and a conversation between Sudhir Mishra and Mayank Shekhar presented by Jagran Film Festival.

For Mir Mukhtiyar Ali, the event is special for a  reason. “It reposed me with connection and calmness. Not only that, I felt it was a great platform as it offered interaction with the audience. It is on these stages that a Sufi soul gets the importance it needs and the reach expands,” he told us.

Mukhtiyar, who has lent his music to films like Tashan, Finding Fanny and Delhi In A Day, has given it all up to be a Sufi seeker. Said he, “The reason I did not live in Mumbai or work in films is because the life of the city disintegrates me from my music. My connect breaks.” And he does not want to sever the connection as he has faced many hurdles during the course of learning music. He said, “My life has been full of adversities. Even today I haven’t made it to a place that I can say I don’t have any hurdles. Maine ek fakirana zindagi jee hai (I have lived a life of penury). My Abbajaan was my guru, my inspiration and everything that lead me to sufiyana.”

Ali has performed in countries like Belgium, Sweden, China, Canada, Germany and France. He said, “This is something really funny. People in those countries obviously don’t understand our language.

 It is the chords, music and pitch that astound them. I really feel that they recognise Sufi artists more than in our own country. These travels offer beautiful opportunities.”

Sanjoy K Roy, managing director, Teamwork Arts, said, “Our musical legacy has survived due to enthusiasts who are playing the role of patrons of yore. Under the Banyan Tree on a Full Moon Night pays tribute to the age-old baithak of India.”

Harpreet, an independent musician who has been associated with Friends Of Music, said, “The concept of this event attracted me. I don’t hesitate in playing at any event that gives me the opportunity of playing pure music. Sufi has always been one of my priorities. When I am not singing, I am composing. Poetry is my thing. I have composed music for the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah, Avatar Singh ‘Pash’, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’ and many others.”

The Bol Ke lab Azaad Hain Tere (originally a poem by Faiz Ahmad Faiz) composer said, “I felt a spontaneous connect with this iconic poem the very moment I heard it. I had this sudden urge to compose music for it. Music accelerates my cognitive level.”  He has been a part of some prominent festivals, some of which include Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Jaipur literature Festival, Taj Mahotsav, Music in the Hills and Sangeet Natak Academy.  All of these have been a learning experience for him. He said, “It was a massive opportunity. I met some like-minded people who  really taught me a lot and have opened up more avenues in the industry.”

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