Divine intervention

Aug 30, 2013, 02:00 IST | Ruchika Kher

Witness a rare serenading combination of Gospel and Sufi music staged by singer Sonam Kalra and her group, The Sufi Gospel Project in the city, today

While Sufi music has been a part of our culture since time immemorial, the popularity of the genre has been more than evident since the last decade. Bringing forth a unique form of Sufi music is singer Sonam Kalra, who blends Sufi, Gospel, Bhakti and Devotional music under her Sufi Gospel Project. “It’s all encompassing and this in itself, is Sufi in nature,” maintains Kalra, who will be performing in the city today.

Singer Sonam Kalra
Singer Sonam Kalra during one of her performances

Kalra, known for her powerful yet sensitive voice and her ability to blend styles, initiated the Sufi Gospel Project as an attempt to take the many sounds of faith to create one voice.

“The aim of The Sufi Gospel Project is to shed the garb of common Sufi and Gospel interpretations, to find a commonality between them and take on a more all-inclusive definition that also embraces Bhakti, contemporary poetry and more. The music emerges through a collaborative and organic process, combining musical styles and collective improvisation and feeding off diverse beliefs,” reveals Kalra. AShe is usually accompanied by musicians such as Alex Fernandes (keyboard), Ahsan Ali (sarangi), Amaan Ali (tabla) and Rajesh Prasanna (flute) during her performances.

Kalra has trained in Indian Classical music from Shubha Mudgal and Pandit Sarathi Chatterjee, and has also studied Gospel and Jazz with Ashley Clement in Singapore. She has also learnt Classical Opera under noted tenor, Hur Chul Young.

The singer, who categorises her sound as acoustic, is admittedly averse to a plastic or oversynthesised sound. “I like to keep it real. I would much rather hear a flaw in a voice or music because if it’s done with an honesty of the moment; it will touch me,” she stresses. Kalra also restrains from harsh sounds or over-instrumentation and feels that every sound or instrument should have a reason for being where it is in a composition and not just for decorative purposes.

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