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April 29th, 2012

Discovering the Sufi Gospel Project

Last night I made a discovery that clearly everyone else in Delhi made ages ago.

The Sufi Gospel Project.

I went with Bibzoo and Gita to a concert performed by this group in the new-ish Gurgaon Biodiversity Park –  and what a place this park is, by the way, with a lovely little outdoor amphi-theatre. That’s where the concert was held, and a prettier setting you would be hard pushed to find – a backdrop of a large, rough-hewn wall, with kikar trees on the top.

One of my friends, Anjali Singh, was very involved in this series of concerts that have been held at the park recently, but I didn’t realise quite how involved till I saw her up on stage, mike in hand (Anjali is on the left). What clever friends I have.

The music was, well, as the group’s name implies a blending of Sufi and gospel, and what an amazing fusion they make. Sonam Kalra, a pretty young woman who just sounds so very nice (and everyone who knows her assures me she really is) has an amazing voice, especially for the more smoky tones of the gospel songs she sung.
The music was fusion too – tablas accompanying a Leonard Cohen song.  Can’t get much better than that.

I was blown away by the Sufi Gospel Project and can’t wait for their next concert.

On a personal note – just before leaving for Gurgaon, I heard that one of Himmat’s cousins had died. When Ms Kalra sang “Amazing Grace” and then recited Mary Elizabeth Frye’s impossibly moving poem Do not stand at my grave and weep,” I did just that – I wept for Ajit.

The words, the music, the setting were all perfect and cathartic, and incredibly moving.

I wish I could share more of the concert with you, but oh the issues with bandwidth…

So here’s a very short clip, courtesy of my iPhone, but it will give you an idea of the setting, and of the power of the music and singing.

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