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News |  26 May 2018 15:31 |  By RnMTeam

700-year-old legacy of Sufi sangeet treasured by Nizami Bandhu

MUMBAI: One of the pillars of the enchanting devotional music is Nizamuddin Auliya, as his work has inspired the generations of Sufi performers. Following in his footsteps are eminent Sufi performers Nizami Bandhu, who are the direct lineage of Nizamuddin Auliya.

“I am the 19th generation of the lineage. My father was Mahmood Nizami. I am 64 right now and remember practising Sufi music since the age of 8. We have dedicated our lives to this form of music,” says Ustad Chand Nizami.

A revered name in the field of Sufi sangeet, Nizami Bandhu that currently consists of Ustad Chand Nizami his sons Gulfam-Gulkhan and nephews Shadab-Shorab, has enthralled the audiences across the globe. They also hold the distinction of being the only Indian Sufi singers to have performed at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

They recently performed at The Yellow Taxi Project by RED FM in Kolkata. Nizami says, “This is our country and people here understand the language and feel of what we are singing and presenting. So ofcourse, the feeling is great to perform here. Performing in Kolkata is an honour. And if we perform anything that isn’t qualitative, it’s an injustice.”

He continues, “I have a long-standing association with the city of joy, as my maternal uncle Ustad Sharafat Hussain Khan of Agra Gharana used to stay here. Also, ITC SRA is the only place where they have preserved recordings of my father Ustad Mahmood Nizami.”

But the Sufi singer laments, “We enjoy performing in India, but our experience abroad has one better thing. Audiences in the West don’t leave the concert halfway. They sit throughout and listen to it end to end. In India, somewhere we lack that.”

Sufi is a devotional form of music and has many streams. As audience we have seen qawwali being an integral part of Hindi films, be it the iconic qawwali Teri Mehfil Main in Mughal-E-Azam or Hum Kisse Kum Nahi from Hum Kisse Se Kam Nahi. “What we see in movies are qawwali, which is a type of Sufi sangeet. But that’s not the only form of Sufi music. We have seen many of such qawwalis which are shown in competition form, but the song in Rockstar composed by A R Rahman is an authentic one,” says Nizami. They later sang for Bajrangi Bhaijan, Aaj Rang Hai am original by Amir Khusrow

He also elaborates that thumri sufi can be classically based too, “But we have the liberty to change a raag while singing. For example, if I am presenting a piece in Raag Darbari, I can mid-way move to another raag. In classical music, we don’t have an option, as you have to stick to the notation of the given raag. The base is the same, but andaz (approach) is a little different.”

He religiously follows Classical Music and has some favourites too, “One of them is a very well-known artiste and my friend Ustad Rashid Khan. And secondly, Pandit Jasraj ji. These two are my favourites.”