Global Sufi fest attracts thousands

Kolkata: Soulful renderings of Sufi music by wandering minstrels from different parts of the world left the listeners spellbound here at the three-day `Sufi Sutra` which ended today.

Besides Indians, Sufi singers and musicians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Syria and Tajikistan presented mystic Islam through songs, dance and poetry.

Notwithstanding the current political turmoil back home, an eight-member Egyptian Mawlawyiah troupe enthralled the audience by an audio-visual of music and circular dervish dance whirling around singers in a circle.

A Bangladeshi team, led by Anusheh Anadil, sang the household songs of the famous 18th century poet-philosopher Fakir Lalon Shah, on whom based the recent Golden Peacock winning Bengali film `Moner Manush`.

The `bauls` and `fakirs` of West Bengal`s Nadia and Murshidabad districts were huge hits by their spontaneous, simple and meaningful lyrics.

Another Bengal team led by Armaan Fakir presented the little-known `Bangla Qawwali`. Traditionally performed at the Dargahs, the devotional songs had `Dhol` and `Khol` as percussions replacing Tabla.

The first Sufi ensemble also included the `Warsi Brothers` from Hyderabad, Delhi`s `Druv Sangari` and team, `Mirs` from Bikaner and `Haji Md Ahmed Khan Warsi`s team from Uttar Pradesh.

"It is a peace concert in times of violence. We want to bring a convergence of ideas about truth, harmony, self-belief and peace through music. It is a celebration of the quest for the divine through love," organiser Amitava Bhattacharya told PTI.

Besides musical performances, the festival included workshops and exhibitions to showcase the traditional culture, beliefs and music of the Sufi mystics.

"We had more than 10,000 people at the open-air concert, while more than 700 people, including young students, learnt about Sufism at the pre-concert workshops," Bhattacharya said.

The event would also help the poor musicians, most of whom were from the rural areas, to earn a livelihood, he said.

The festival was organised by Banglanatak.com in collaboration with the state?s tourism department.