| 31 May 2023
World Sacred Spirit Festival: a musical treat in a historic setting

MUMBAI: The blue-city of Jodhpur that houses the prestigious Mehrangarh Fort opened its doors to an extraordinary sacred and historical musical journey, 8th World Sacred Spirit Festival. Lit by the sparkling incandescence of a thousand candles, spiritual arts carried music revelers to the very origin of a tradition that linked those pilgrims of the past who brought to civilisation a sense of inspiration and meaning. Aficionados from across the world came to soak up a fusion of Sufi music and history at the three-day World Sacred Spirit Festival.

The first day begun with a soulful performance by Nawab Khan at Jaswant Thada Memorial, a royal crematorium and the only venue outside the fort. The morning session continued with a spirited performance by the Qawwals of Jodhpur. At the Chokhelao Palace Courtyard, Madan Gopal Singh and Chaar Yaar enthralled the audience with an extremely wide repertoire of historic Sufiana scores while Li Diaguo of China showcased the contemporary form of Chinese music. The audience witnessed the Master of Sitar, Pt. Kushal Das’ performance against the beautiful setting of Lake Ranisar.

As the sun set over the majestic fort, Francoise Atlan & Nour Ensemble captivated the attendees with their soul stirring performances. Zenana Deodi Courtyard, a large open area swathed by tall and solid walls, was the set for the late evening events. The acts deviated from the traditional flavour of the day-events and brought in synthesizer sounds. It celebrated the convergence of the East & the West as the renowned English musician and composer Jonny Greenwood alongside Shye Ben Tzur, an Israeli composer and poet performed with the Manganiyars.

Performance by DrukYul Trio & Langas set the mood for the second day. While the Langas highlighted the Rajsthani folk songs, Druk Yul Trio showcased the scared songs from Bhutan. The afternoon session saw a performance by the children of Langas & Manganiyars who showcased a unique presentation of folk fusion and with the traditional songs and instruments of Rajasthan. Ballake Sissoko enlaced the audience in his suave and crystalline sonority and his kora, was magnified by his talent as a melodious improviser. The evening progressed with blissful performances from Madan Gopal Singh & Chaar Yaar alongside the world famous Anwar Khan and Gaji Khan of Manganiyar's. The highlight of the evening was the soulful fusion act from Muktiyar Ali & Mathias Duplessy. The day ended on a perfect note with the audience tapping their feet to the eclectic performance by Midival Punditz, in harmony with flutist Pandit Ajay Prasanna and folk singers Malini Awasthi and Chugge Khan. The festival culminated on the third day with the awakening of early morning bhajans at Jaswant Thada Memorial, a perfect end to a beautiful musical journey.