Taking the soulful renditions of Sufi music beyond borders, RAASRANG by Krishna Prerna Charitable Trust organized the first of its kind & first ever International Qawwali Festival Taali Ho! at the Amphitheatre of The Ashok Hotel, Chanakyapuri this weekend. The two day event was full of devotional performances by the greatest Qawwals from across the world, including Warsi brothers (Hyderabad Deccan), Nizami Brothers (Delhi), Fannah-Fi-Allah (USA) and Shye Ben Tzur (Izrael), once again proving that Qawwali not only transcends boundaries but also one’s senses.
Present at the occasion was former Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir and a great Qawwali lover Mr. Farooq Abdullah. The event also witnessed senior delegation of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
Apart from the magical Sufi performances by the artistes, the event also screened the documentary on the “Evolution of Qawwali as a music genre and its journey over the years”. The first ever documentary on Qawwali, directed by Tahir Hussain of Fannah-Fi-Allah (USA), showcased the changes that the genre has undergone, with qawwals performing fusion of old genre with a modern touch. Also performing at the festival was Djembefola United, the percussion band that kicked off the fest with its resonating djembe performance.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Sujata Thakur, General Manager- Corporate and Marketing & Public Relations, ITDC said, “It is thrilling to witness these mesmerizing performances by some of the most prominent Qawwals of our times. It is great to see the popularity that the Sufi music has received; international festivals like these not only entertain but also encourage today’s generation to explore the mainstream Qawwali singing. The Ashok is extremely proud to be a part of this unique, International Qawwali Festival and we look forward to host more such events at our open theatre.”
Speaking about the festival, Mr. Arun Budhiraja, Raasrang Festival Curator said, “"Raasrang is creator and curator of this festival and makes other unique festivals like Raasrang World Flute Festival, Raasrang World Percussion Festival, Raasrang Holi Utsav and Being Well Festival - Prana. After a big hit in New Delhi, Taali Ho was even super hit in Bhopal. As a special mention, Fannah-Fi-Allah-USA and Warsi Brothers-Hyderabad took the cake away."
The artists who performed during the festival were:-
Shye Ben Tzur (Israel)
Residing in India and Israel, Shye Ben Tzur is an Israeli singer and musician who compose qawwalis in Hebrew, Urdu, and Hindi, combining Sufi devotional music with Western elements. Born in New York City, Ben Tzur became interested in Indian music after seeing Indian classical musicians Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain perform in Jerusalem. A devoted film enthusiast, he has produced and directed music videos and short films, and composed music for visual media. Also a poet, Ben Tzur's first collection of poetry, Souls Expressions, was published in Israel in 1999.
TAHIR HUSSAIN FARIDI QAWWAL (USA)
Tahir Faridi Qawwali & his ensembles have chosen to take this genre to the world stage. The intensity of their stage performance, with its smooth melodic overtures, fierce leaps of vocal passion, heavy rhythmic grooves & rich vocal choruses has captivated audiences in countries as Pakistan, India, Africa, Thailand, Europe, Indonesia, the USA and beyond.
Nizami bros (Delhi)
Ghulam Sabir Nizami and Ghulam Waris Nizami are one of the most famed Qawwali Singer in the Sufi style, Astana Gayki as well as the modern Qawwali tradition. They belong to the legendary Sikandrabad Ghrana, which gave Indian Musical Giants such as Ustad Qudratulla Khan Sahib and Ustad Kifayatullah Khan Saheb.
Warsi Bros (Hyderabad Deccan)
Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi and Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi descend from a family whose reputation precedes them. Warsi Brothers are the music bearers of the gayeki of Dilli gharana and are noted for their melody and improvisation. They are renowned for their traditional Sufiana Qawwali, Ghazal, Thumri, Bhajan and Classical Bandish.