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Ruhaniyat brings to city ‘doctors of the soul’

Even in its eighth year, the annual sufi and mystic music festival, Ruhaniyat, is as soulful and impressive as ever.

Written by Expressnewsservice | Mumbai |
November 22, 2008 11:35:44 pm

Even in its eighth year, the annual sufi and mystic music festival, Ruhaniyat, is as soulful and impressive as ever. The festival, which has brought an impressive line-up of over 2000 Sufi musicians to the city over the last seven years, is all set to enthrall the city once again.

Organised by Banyan Tree Events — who also host the Banganga music festival every year —the two day festival began on Friday at Horniman Circle. The festival, which aims at showcasing the larger genre of Mystic music, brings together motley of mystic musicians — from Shabad singers to Baul music from West Bengal.

The festival will be held in seven cities this year — Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune. The highlight in Mumbai will be Sheikh Yasin Al Tohamy and his group from Egypt who will be performing Arabic Sufi songs and Latif Bolat from Turkey who will be singing Bektashi Sufiana songs. Also performing in Mumbai will be Baithi Dhamaal and Malunga songs by the Siddhi-Goma Group from Africa; Sufi Kalam and mystic songs by Sawan Khan, Akhe Khan and Sali Muhammad from Rajasthan; Baul songs by Parvathy Baul from West Bengal, Mystic Shabads by Dev Dildaar from Punjab; and Sufi Qawaali by the Warasi Brothers and Group from Hyderabad.

Nazeer Warasi of the Warasi Brothers has been witness to the festival growing to its current popular status. “We performed in the very first Ruhaniyat. We are very happy with the platform it provides for Sufi music; it is one of a kind and we wanted to take it forward,” he said, adding, “We’re very happy to see how much it has grown.”

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Anand Lalwani, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Banyan Tree Events, said, “The audience for this festival has grown since we first started. And we’ve also had more international artists over the years. Last year, the highlight was a group of Turkish dervishes and this year’s highlight, Latif Bolat, had performed in the previous festival as well. The Egyptian group, which is our other highlight, is performing here for the first time.” He added, “For the next year, we’re trying to get a Syrian group.”

For the artists, the name of the festival — Ruhaniyat — says it all. “‘Ruh’ has to do with healing the soul,” said Warasi, “and we are the doctors of that. If more people come and listen to this music, they’ll get peace of mind.”

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First published on: 22-11-2008 at 11:35:44 pm

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