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All roads lead to the Kabir festival

Soak in the works of Sufi saints and Bhakti poets, and other Indian sounds over four days, as part of The Kabir Festival that starts today

With 32 artists, 19 events, three films and two workshops, The Kabir Festival is all set to enthrall Mumbaikars with four days of Folk music, Sufi poetry, Hindustani Classical music and dance from across the country.

Ankit Chadha will perform a special Dastangoi on Kabir, titled Dastan Dhai Aakhar Ki
Ankit Chadha will perform a special Dastangoi on Kabir, titled Dastan Dhai Aakhar Ki

The festival, which continues till Sunday, January 11, began four years ago with an aim to highlight the works of Sufi saints and introduce them to city patrons. It has remained a popular event largely because of the extensive list of performers as well as workshops that introduce various Sufi poets to the public.

“The works by the Sufi saints have deep meaning attached to them, but these are difficult to understand; more so if the listener is not aware of the native language. With this festival, we hope to bridge that gap and make the works of Sufi saints understandable to the public,” says Pankti Shah-Gala, committee member, The Kabir Festival.

Parvathy Baul will be conducting a special workshop on Baul singing
Parvathy Baul will be conducting a special workshop on Baul singing

What’s in store?
While there will be readings of works by Sufi saints from across the country, and performances by Folk artistes, classical dancers, story tellers, and musicians, this edition of The Kabir Festival will also be screening three films based on various Sufi saints and Folk traditions. The three films are Lalon by Tanvir Mokammel, a Bangladeshi feature film on the life of Lalon Fakir, Sama — Muslim Mystic Music of India, a documentary film by Shazia Khan and So Heddan So Haddan, a film by Anjali Monteiro and KP Jayasankar from TISS.

Mooralala Marwada from Kutch
Mooralala Marwada from Kutch

Shah-Gala informs that Folk has always been an important part of the festival, and this year too there will be special performances by Folk artiste Mooralala Marwada from Kutch. “The Indian Folk music is highly influenced by Sufi poets and their works. Thus, Folk artistes play a big role in this festival. Besides, it also gives them a chance to explore new territories and expand their listener base,” she adds.

Among other performances are a special collaboration between Classical singers Bindhu Malini, Vedanth Bharadwaj and Shruthi Vishwanath jamming together to explore the Sagun and Nirgun Bhakti traditions, and a performance by Rock band Kabir Café that will combine the works of Kabir with Rock music, among other events. The festival will also see a special Dastangoi session on Kabir by Ankit Chadha.

Bindhu Malini and Vedanth Bharadwaj will collaborate with Shruthi Vishwanath for works of Shagun and Nirgun poets from the Bhakti movement
Bindhu Malini and Vedanth Bharadwaj will collaborate with Shruthi Vishwanath for works of Shagun and Nirgun poets from the Bhakti movement

Support matters
Shah-Gala also adds that the festival has not received any corporate sponsorship since the first edition, but has evolved into a community-driven festival where all aspects, from the stay of musicians, to venues, planning and organising the festival, are being looked after by a group of volunteers and partner organisations. “For the last four years, we have been a fully community-sponsored event. This festival wouldn’t have possible without the patronage of our fans, and group of volunteers,” reasons Shah-Gala.

Log on to: kabirfest.com (for venues)

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