A sandstorm was brewing at the Zenana Deodi inside the Mehrangarh Fort. But that didn’t keep the audience away from Kavita Seth’s performance at the recently-concluded 2014 World Sufi Spirit Festival.
The 43-year-old singer sang from her repertoire based on the works of Amir Khusrau, Rumi, Kabir and Bulleh Shah, in perfect sync with her Sufi band, Karwaan Group. The arrangements were richly layered with shehnai, guitar and keyboard solos, a light touch of jazz in notes that were teased out as Seth’s voice soared over the storm.
Some of the world’s most acclaimed Sufi artistes descended on Jodhpur for the festival including Shamss Ensemble from Iran, Mohamed Ba Jeddoub and the Al Chabab Al-andalus from Morocco. Apart from Seth, the best-received act was by the Shamss Ensemble comprising founder and composer Kaykhosro Pournazeri and his sons Tahmoures Pournazeri and Sohrab Pournazeri.
They played the tanbur (the Persian long-necked lute) while Hossein Rezainia accompanied them on the daf (a Persian cousin of the Indian dafli). A high point of the performance was the whirling dervishes.
Coke Studio Pakistan’s Javed Bashir was a highly-anticipated act, but couldn’t make it because of visa issues. Instead, the Sabri Brothers took the stage and what was meant to be a qawaali performance turned into a rather entertaining singing bout, with the brothers vying for their chance at the microphone.
In an otherwise sound line-up, the only sore point was Chintoo Singh Wasir’s session at Shringar Chowk. An accomplished instrumentalist, Wasir wowed the audience till he lost the plot singing Hotel California and We Will Rock You to “a Sufi beat.”