Print Edition - 2015-08-16  |  Life & Style

Qawwali in Kamaladi

  • Bharti and Troupe play Sufi music to a full-house of music enthusiasists

Aug 15, 2015-

The Indian Embassy, on Friday, organised a music show featuring Chanchal Bharti and Troupe, at the Nepal Academy Hall, Kamaladi, Kathmandu, to mark the sixty-ninth Independence Day of India. The event saw the participation of dignitaries such as President Ram Baran Yadav and Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae. During the event, Chanchal Bharti and Troupe, Qawwali musicians from, Banaras, India, performed their music to a full-house of music enthusiasts.

The purpose of the event was to celebrate the relationship between India and Nepal, and to commemorate India’s Independence Day.

The performance started off the chorus laying down a motif that would be worked on through the song, with the countertenor being aided by harmonising vocalists. That vigorous opening immediately got the crowd into the music and soon the audiences were offering nods of appreciation by way of “wah wahs” as Bharti picked up the first verse. The audiences were all applause as the artists performed four of their Sufi songs.

The music had both a traditional and modern feel to it, with the musicians melding the sounds of traditional instruments like a tabla, madal and harmonium with the percussive sounds generated by an electronic drum pad. The group performed a total of four songs including, the famous kalaam Dama Dam Mast Qalandar, written by Baba Bulleh Shah, which the crowd sang along with the performers.

Bharti’s performance featured moments of transcendent poetry and earthy emotions captured in the waves of her troupe’s rhythms and notes. Between songs, she took the time to interact with the audience and even told a few jokes along the way.

The lyrics of most of Bharti’s songs had to do with love, but as with all Qawwali and Sufi songs, they referred to not love of the quotidian kind, but to love of the highest kind: to an abstract notion of god, spirit, or whatever the listeners imagined according to their spiritual inclinations. After the chorus parts of most songs, the accompanying troupe would usually lower their volume and allow Bharti to recite her poems, which were mostly about the love among people and about people’s love for god and god’s creation. She also talked about how music and spirituality could be used to heal divisions among religions in India-a pertinent message for an audience in a country that today needs more of such message.

Amir Maharjan

Published: 16-08-2015 10:30

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