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Sufi for the soul

Ali, who got a new lease of life from Sufi poetry talks to CS about life and music:


Who: Ali Haider
What: On Sufi poetry and music across the borders
Where: At a music label’s office in Sewri

From hell and back!
This is my first Sufi album. All my previous albums had pop songs. After my infant son’s death in 2009, I was completely devastated. I quit singing completely. Somehow, I just couldn’t find the music in me. A few months after the tragedy, I discovered the poetry of Bulleh Shah. I used to spend hours listening or reading his poetry. Now, his poems are in Punjabi and quite tough to comprehend. Surprisingly, one day I made a small composition with one of his poems. It was an impromptu experience, and I was quite taken aback by it. That small composition brought me back to life. I rediscovered my love for singing, and love for life.

Mystic powers
We live in a materialistic and highly competitive world. All of us are in a rat race to succeed. But, all of us need that sense of inner peace at the end of the day. Sufi songs bring about a sense of balance and harmony in us. They talk about love, which is a universal emotion. I feel that these qualities make Sufi songs so popular with people across cultures and nations. Considering the stressful world we live in, Sufi poetry is only going to increase in popularity. I love the poems of Hazrat Baba Sultan Bahu, Josh Malihabadi and Habib Jalib. I have one of Jalib’s poems Farangi in my new album.

Cross border pyaar
In Pakistan, kids love SRK, Salman and Aamir Khan. People have great respect for legends like Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) and Dilipsaab (Dilip Kumar). Likewise, it is heartening to see people loving Pakistani artists like Aatif Aslam, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Ali Zafar or bands like Junoon or Strings. The common man loves an artist for his talent and charisma, and not by his passport. The only major difference between India and Pakistan is that independent artists are encouraged in Pakistan. I feel that music channels in India can devote few hours daily to showcase works of independent musicians, whether they’re rock bands, folk or pop singers. If they can show reality shows, then they can surely show musical programmes!

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