Music for the soul

May 20, 2015, 07:54 IST | Ashmak Maity

Drop by a Sufi Night to listen to Sufi group Nizami Bandhu, who boast of a rich seven-century-old musical and spiritual history

With a legacy of over 700 years, Nizami Bandhu can easily be regarded as one of the most illustrious Qawwali groups of this era. Undoubtedly, the Sufi Night featuring the group will be a night of rhythm divine. The group comprises Chand Nizami, Shadab Faridi Nizami and Sohrab Faridi Nizami, who also featured in the 2011 Ranbir Kapoor-starrer, Rockstar, in the song Kun Faya Kun shot at the Nizamuddin Dargah, situated in Delhi.

Qawwali group Nizami Bandhu
Qawwali group Nizami Bandhu

The group belongs to a family privileged to have been the descendants of the court singers of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. In an email interview, Chand Nizami explains the influence of the Sikandra Gharana of music, their relation with the revered Sufi saint, and the influence of contemporary music.

Q. Please tell us about the legacy of the Sikandra Gharana.
A. Sikandra Gharana is the integration of many vast gharanas of that time. At present, this gharana has its roots spread all over the country. The singers of this gharana performed for various Rajwaadas. The first singer of the gharana is known for performing during Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s rule. The legacy continued thereon.

Q. What significance does being a court singer at the Nizamuddin Dargah hold for the singers?
A. Being a court singer at Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah is a matter of great pride, elevation and significance for the singers. Qawwali is not only a traditional form of singing. It is also considered as a pristine form of music, which is generally dedicated to God. It was originally sung at dargahs only. The singers there sang Qawwali as a form of worship and their families continued the legacy. Such singers came to be known as Khandaani Qawwals. For example, singers performing at Nizamuddin Dargah came to be known as Nizamis and those at Sabripak are known as Sabris.

Q. What is the relevance of fusing contemporary genres with Qawwali?
A. Today, a remarkable shift is seen in the choices and preferences of the people not only in the field of music but also in the basic amenities of life like clothing, food, buildings, etc. In the past, Qawwali was performed with instruments like tabla and harmonium. But with the change in the demand and taste of people, it is now performed in fusion with different instruments and even with different forms of music, so as to impart the listeners with significant satisfaction matching with their modern world choices.

On: May 24, 9 pm
At: blueFROG, CD House, ground floor, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Lower Parel. 
Cost: Rs 350

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