Desert songs

Two musical events, the Ragasthan and World Sufi Festival, will be held in Rajasthan this month. Phorum Dalal speaks to the organisers of the two festivals for performances to look out for

World Sufi Spirit Festival
February 17 to 23 in Nagaur and Jodhpur
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Top performers to watch out for

Javed Bashir
A Pakistani singer and member of the Mekaal Hasan Band, Javed Bashir has popularised Sufi music in Bollywood with songs from movies such as Cocktail, Kahaani, Rush, Bombay Talkies, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara. He will be singing Tera naam japdi phiran, Ye tune kya kiya and O re khuda among other popular tracks.

Folk traditions
The mountain folk tradition of the Pamir (Tajikistan) and the art of Azeri classical Mugham (Azerbaijan) is something to watch out for this year. While the Azerbaijani Mugham, a traditional musical form, draws upon popular bard melodies, rhythms and performance techniques and reflects different periods of Azerbaijan’s history, the singers from the mountain folk of Pamir, Tajikistan will bring to life devotional music, dance and mystical songs in the form of Sahiba, the graceful ballerina. Karni Singh Jasol, director, Mehrangarh Museum Trust, says, “The festival is set against the backdrop of the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort where the artists perform at the Palace Courtyards, period rooms, temples and gardens within the fort. With music echoing through the fort, one can experience the historic spaces come alive.”

Abeer Nehme
A Lebanese musicologist, Abeer Nehme will perform holy songs from Arhamic and orthodox Christian tradition with a clear sense of joy and serenity.

Abeer Nehme

Nehme excels in the art of singing the spiritual repertory of Maronite, Byzantine and Syrian origins. Drawing upon Eastern traditions and upon the Christian Arabic culture, she has completely mastered both the Gregorian and Orthodox heritages.

Christophe Chassol
Pianist, composer, arranger and musical director, Christophe Chassol discovered music at the age of four. Today, Chassol is the author of an unclassifiable oeuvre. His compositions articulate voice, music, sounds and images combine in a very innovative way, with the concept of ‘harmonising of the real’ at the heart of his approach.

Menwhopause is a four-member band from New Delhi, who were the first to distribute their music for free over the Internet.


The quartet also initiated several humanitarian and social projects like the Tihar Jail Music Workshop Series where they helped musically inclined inmates to form a band (The Flying Souls) and record songs.

Alo Wala
Alo Wala is a Brooklyn-based recording artist and rapper. Her sound is rooted in hip-hop; she flows like water over dense bass-lines, promising a mind-lifting dance floor experience.

Keith Menon, organiser of Ragasthan, says it is the location that is the main attraction for the festival. “This year, the festival is in Jaisalmer, and it is going to make people really happy. We have tried to present new musicians and performers, such as Alo Wala, a rapper from Chicago. This year, we also introduce Raga Radio, a live radio station which will interview performers about their music.”

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