Those who have renounced this world, Will enjoy the delights of the garden that is eternally in bloom
- Hazrat Sultan Bahu
In the night, the voice of the munshid (the religious singer), whether from Senegal, Oman or India, sings the poetry of the mystical world, constantly in the quest to abandon the body (Sultana)
This spiritual journey, we owe it to its pilgrims, the souls that traveled across oceans and mountains to create this chain "silsila", the spiritual knowledge transmitted from the palaces of Central Asia at the feet of the Himalayas, from the plains of the Punjab to the stones of the African and Rajasthan deserts.
Mystical sentences also emerge from the waves of ocean in Oman, tracing the path of the absolute.
The practice of the “sama”( from the Arabic word: “to listen”) through dancing, recitation, poetry and prayers, often linked to the idea of dhikr , originally meaning "remembrance", is a spiritual adventure leading to the “fanâ”.
The Fanâ" passing away" or "annihilation" of the self, means "to die before one dies", a concept highlighted by famous notable Muslim saints such as Rumi and later by Sultan Bahu.
Sultan Bahu (1630–1691) was a Sufi mystic, poet, and scholar active during the Mughal empire mostly in the Punjab. He belonged to Qadiri Sufi order, and founded the mystic tradition known as SarwariQadiri.
In his writings, Sultan Bahu refers to Abdul Qadir Jilani as his spiritual master, even though Jilani died long before the birth of Sultan Bahu. However, most Sufis maintain that Abdul Qadir Jilani plays a special role in the mystic world and that all orders and saints are forever indebted to him in some way.
Far away from the Punjab, where the shrine of Sultan Bahu is located, in Garh Maharaja, in the heart of Africa, Sheikh Djimbira, born into a Fulani family in northwestern Senegal, sings to keep alive the family tradition. Like his grandfather and his maternal uncle before him, he is a singer in the tradition of the brotherhood of Qadiriya.
Founded in Baghdad in the 12th century by the Sufi Sheikh Abd al Qadir al-Jilani, the Qadiriya played a major role in the introduction of Islam into sub-Saharan Africa, with the support of Arab merchants and scholars of Timbuktu.
Linked also to the religious tradition of the Maldives, Al-Mald, in the Sultanate of Oman (or Mawlid) creates a state of merging and inspiration (euphoria and rapture in Arabic music), the (qiyam) begins and consists of a short,heavy melodious rhythm.
Musically, Al Mald is an integrated artistic system with its literary and tonal pluralism, and the departure of performers from the "charged" shrines of their emotions constitutes a sensory awareness towards adhering to the balanced Omani approach in performance.
The themes of death, dhikr and absence are spiritual predispositions that are central to human life in general reminding us that “Man’s body is quite small indeed compared to the mind that it inhabits” (African Proverb), and it constantly reminds us of the ephemeral nature of our earthly life.
Even though the body limits man in terms of time and space, it is also an expression of our soul and our connection with the universe and the nature that surround us.
Amongst the promising musicians of the second generation, Rakesh has carved a niche for himself, as an accomplished flautist.
Incorporating the tradition of his renowned uncle Shri Hari Prasad Chaurasia and infusing his personal style, he has evolved a style which while maintaining the purity of the flute manages to capture the attention of the young listeners too.
To help him in this he has his band Rakesh and Friends (RAF) which creates music that appeals to the young without sacrificing the essence of classical music.
Rakesh’s flute has matched note and rhythm with wind instruments of other cultures as well as having performed ‘jugalbandi’ with Carnatic instrumentalists.
Rakesh’s forte is in blending his flute without really losing its identity in mixed instruments’ concerts. He is also an accomplished studio musician having recorded with most of the leading stalwarts of the Indian film industry.
Rakesh has been the recipient of numerous awards, namely the Indian Music Academy Award, presented by the Honourable President of India, Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2007, the Aditya Birla Kalakiran Puraskar in 2008, the Guru Shishya Award in 2011 and the Pannalal Ghosh Puraskar 2013.
Despite his experimental work, Rakesh has never deviated from his main goal of becoming a full-fledged classical musician.
Having drunk of entire seas, we are still stupefied to see our lips still as dry as the beaches; and still searching for the sea that quenches thirst, we are unable to see that our lips are the beaches and that we are the sea.
Attâr, Persian Sufi mystic poet
The region of Oman was known in Sumerian times as Magan. In ancient times, the peninsula became a major producer of incense, and it witnessed significant trade with Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, India and the island of Dilmun.
Oman had been Islamized during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, in the seventh century. Oman opened its doors to seafaring through the Strait of Hormuz and through the Persian side of the Gulf. Even the Chinese Emperor Zheng He, during his expedition from 1413 to 1415, visited the area.
From 1649-1650, the Omani people of the Yarubid dynasty hunted the Portuguese and seized the main Swahili ports of the East African coast: Mombasa, Kilwa, Zanzibar and Pemba at their expense. Their influence was felt even as far as the valley of the Ganges.
Towards the start of the nineteenth century, Oman became the centre of an empire that stretched from Baluchistan to Zanzibar and Madagascar.
From the Arabian Sea tradition of fishing and maritime trade, to nomadic life in deserts and mountains, Omani tradition has been a symphony of sounds, images, poetry and music across time and space.
Linked also to the Maldivian religious tradition, Al-Mald, (or Mawlid) is defined as the ritual of the Prophet's birthday, on the twelfth day of Rabi 'Awal every year but it is also the name of a Sufi ceremony held on many religious and social occasions such as the night of Israa and Meraaj.
When the group leader sees that the participants and viewers are in a state of euphoria and rapture ( in Arabic music : the (qiyam) begins and consists of heavy, melodious rhythm. He performs for all the members of the group and his words contain greetings (or Salamat) from the Prophet, peace be upon him.
Musically, Al Mald is an integrated artistic system with its literary and tonal pluralism, and the departure of performers from the "charged" shrines of their emotions constitutes a sensory awareness towards adhering to the balanced Omani approach during performance.
The themes of death, dhikr and absence are spiritual predispositions that are central to human life in general. Recalling the life and times of the most honorable prophets and messengers represents man’s penultimate desire to communicate with the Creator and obtain the highest possible bliss. This spirituality is expressed through artistic and sensory means like incense, wailing, asking for forgiveness, beating on the ground, when the body leaves behind rational reality and travels to spiritual horizons not yet realized by the human mind.
Engulfed in a mysterious aura and fabulous ecstatic sound, the compositions of the Korean Percussion Duo Bud cover an intense palette of human emotions through their expressions. The melodic percussions of the ancestral yanggum, this struck string instrument of the family of table zithers, melts with the twirling beats of the janggu, an hourglass-shaped Korean drum stemming from shamanic rites, to deploy a lush musicality and authentic pieces of bravura. Hinting at both age-old traditions and contemporary music, this feminine duo masterfully interprets creations with strong evocative power, both innovative and rooted in a perennial heritage.
The yanggeum is a traditional Korean string instrument. It is a hammered dulcimer. Unlike other traditional Korean instruments (most of which have silk strings), the yanggeum has metal strings. It is played by striking the strings with a bamboo stick.
Yanggeum means a stringed instrument of the West (yang). The yanggeum is also called seoyanggeum ("Western stringed instrument") or guracheolsageum ("European metal stringed instrument"). The origin of the yanggeum is the santurfrom the Middle East. The Chinese introduced it into Korea in the 18th century. Its body is flat and trapezoidal, with seven sets of four metal strings. The right hand strikes the strings with a thin bamboo strip.
Kanishk Seth is a young experimental musician blending the timeless with the contemporary. After producing and composing songs for India's first Sufi-Electronic album called Trance with Khusrow that was nominated for GIMA and Mirchi Music Awards under the Best Fusion Album Category, Kanishk Seth has been performing at various venues and festivals across the country performing alongside Devashri Manohar, a trained classical singer & Adwait Kashikar, a classical flute player. Along with his band members he performs classics of the renowned poet Amir Khusrow and his original songs to create a surreal musical experience.
Born into the illustrious Dagar family of Dhrupad musicians in 1970, MohiBaha'ud-din first began his foray into Indian Classical Music at the early age of seven, training on the Sitar under the expert tutelage of his mother, Smt. Pramila Dagar.
Once he had finished three years of initial training, he received brief instruction on the Surbahar and was later introduced to the Rudra Veena by his father, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar; a legendary Rudra Veena maestro and his uncle, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar; a renowned Indian classical vocalist from whom he later also learnt vocal music.
In 1990, MohiBaha’ud-din received the Lakhanpal Foundation Fellowship for two years. He also received a two-year Fellowship in 1993 from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India. At the early age of twenty, MohiBaha’ud- din formally stepped onto the stage and made his mark in the industry as a classical performer.
MohiBaha'ud-din continues to receive able guidance from the esteemed Pandit Pushpraj Koshti, a senior disciple of Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar.
Taking the Dhrupad tradition to future generations, MohiBaha'ud-din teaches both the vocal and instrumental forms of music to students at 'Dhrupad'; a Guru-Shishya Parampara styled Gurukul established by his father in 1982 at Palaspe, near Panvel.
Over the years MohiBaha'ud-din's music continuously searches for newer ways of expressing the medium without breaking the traditional format. His vocal training with his uncle, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, his mentor helped him a great deal. The culmination of rudraveena and voice, brings in a distinctive and precise sense of timing in the cutting of the phrases whilst presenting the aalap, jor and jhala; which is a salient feature of the Saadharani school of Dhrupad that was reintroduced by his great-grandfather, Ustad Zakiruddin Kha'n, and his grandfather, Ustad Ziaudddin Kha'n.
When the buds of mystery unfolded into the blossoms of revelation, My entire being was filled with God’s Fragrance. May the perfect Master Who planted this jasmine in my heart, Be ever blessed, O Bahu!
- Hazrat Sultan Bahu
Walid Ben Selim is the poet of the impossible and the invisible. Born in Casablanca, after experiencing the poetic convulsions of rap and Oriental Metal Rock, he will be the architect of N3rdistan, an imaginary country for a new inspiration.
Later, inspired by the great poets of the Arab world and of the Orient, from Mahmoud Darwiche to Rumi and to the Sufi poets of Morocco, he weaves in a sweet and airy chant of old words that awaken our spirit and our soul.
He chose the Chinese and meditative zither of Jiang Nan, also close to the Korean zither of Duo Bud, which we will discover during this festival.
According to a legend, there was a king who had two very talented girls who loved to play this instrument. There came a time when the king became too old and he wanted to pass this instrument to one of them. However, both his daughters wanted it for themselves. The king was really sad to have only one instrument, and finally, desperate, he decided to cut the instrument in half. One had twelve strings and the other thirteen. To his surprise, the new instrument had soft sounds, even more beautiful than the original. The king, very happy, gave a new name to this new instrument: "zheng".