NCPA presents the eighth edition of Sama'a: The Mystic Ecstasy - A Festival of Sufi Music
MUMBAI: National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai is back with the eighth edition of its annual Sufi Music Festival- ‘Sama’a: The Mystic Ecstasy’. The three-day long festival will comprise a cinematic representation of the journey of Sufia Kalam, Rajasthani Sufi Folk music, whirling dervishes and contemporary Sufi songs.
According to NCPA Programming (Indian Music) Dr. Suvarnalata Rao said, “Sama’a has been an attempt by NCPA to celebrate Sufi music traditions from across the world on one stage. It is a festival of spiritual ecstasy complete with songs, dances and music that allows the audience to experience the true mysticism of Sufism. Sufi music is practiced in different regions of the world through myriad genres. Through Sama’a, we endeavor to bring to our audiences varied and truly immersive experiences.”
Sufi music is based on the mystical branch of Islam, which attempts to unite listeners with the Divine. Practiced across different parts of the world, this music has an array of genres, yet it is based on the common philosophy of staying one with the Creator by transcending into the spiritual realm with Samara, the practice of listening to music, chanting and whirling culminating into spiritual ecstasy.
The first day of Sama’a will open with a 50-minute documentary called Mann Faqeeri by M.K Raina, the renowned theatre actor and director. The film explores the evolution of Sufiyana Kalam. It unfolds a story of a multi-cultural exchange among Central Asia, Persia and India with the advent of Islam in Kashmir. These exchanges in turn created a new cultural fabric weaving in the essence of Islam, Shaivism and Buddhism, leading to the development of Sufiyaana Kalam as a sophisticated classical music genre with complex rhythms and Maqams.
This will be followed by an energetic performance of Rajasthani Sufi- Folk music by the Manganiyars, led by Mame Khan and Group (GIMA Awardees). Manganiyaar means “those who ask for alms”. These hereditary caste musicians traditionally performed for kings and lords on various occasions ranging from weddings to festivals to even mourning events. Their music fuses elements of Hindustani classical music with the Sufi music; the lyrics are mostly centred around life and the love for God. The presentation will include works of Sufi poets from Sindh and Rajasthan, including Mira Bai, Kabir, Bulleh Shah and Baba Ghulam Farid, in their own mesmerizing style called ‘Jangra’ with native musical instruments like kamaicha, khadtal and morchang. Mame Khan hails from a family of singers based in Jaiselmer region and gained popularity with his super hit renditions in Hindi films like No one Killed Jessica and Luck By Chance.
Day two, will see a riveting performance of Sama Ayins, (whirling prayer ceremonies) in its original form by the Semazen, whirling dervishes. The performance is an attempt to feel one with God through three stages which include knowing God, seeing God and uniting with God. This musical performance will be brought to life by an ensemble of 20 artists belonging to the illustrious Istanbul Historical Turkish Music Ensemble using instruments like ney (reed flute), kudum (small double drum), bendir (big size tambourine without bells), tanbur (long-necked plucked lute), kemenche (bowed lute) and kemancha kanun (box zither) followed by the prayer ceremony.
Istanbul Historical Turkish Music Ensemble was established 1991 by the Turkish Republic Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the intention to preserve and promote the 700 years old traditions of Turkish Tasawwuf music and traditional Sama Ayins (Whirling Prayer Ceremonies) in their original form.
The third day is a rendition of contemporary and popular Sufi songs by the versatile Rekha Bhardwaj, which will transcend the artificial boundaries of religion, caste, country etc. The core idea of love, longing and union with the beloved, as espoused in the Sufi songs has an evergreen appeal with people from all of walks life. Today, besides the traditional repertoire a large number of songs are sung under the Sufi label. These compositions show a marked influence of contemporary idioms and expressions, and are widely popular with the masses.
Rekha Bharadwaj’s presentation will include a bouquet of sufiana compositions from traditional repertoire and also songs based from Bollywood. The artist is a very popular singer who has trained with several stalwarts like Vasant Thakar, Vinay Chandra Mudgal and Amarnath ji of Kirana gharana. She has lent her voice to Hindi cinema in films like Delhi 6, 7 Khoon Maaf and Ishqiya which won her two Filmfare awards and a National award.
Friday, 11 Nov 2016
Mann Faqeeri: A Documentary
with Mame Khan & Group
The Experimental Theatre
Saturday, 12 Nov 2016
Sama Ayins: Whirling Prayer Ceremonies by
Istanbul Historical Turkish Music Ensemble
Sunday, 13 Nov 2016
Sufiana songs by Rekha Bharadwaj