Sufi means destroying the evil in your heart: AR Rahman

It turned into a fan-moment for many wide eyed patrons, when the humble AR Rahman stepped onto the dais and thanked everyone for their presence and being patient. The internationally acclaimed artiste was in the Capital to officially announce his upcoming concert in November, The Sufi Route.

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Photos by Naveen Sharma

Organised by Friday Filmworks, INvision Entertainment, and Invloed Matrix, The Sufi Route has been established to encourage and nurture a holistic alternate music experience, is hosting its first ever concert on November 18 at Qutub Minar in Delhi. The concert will bring to the fore, Sufi artistes like Nooran sisters, Mukhtiar Ali, Hans Raj Hans, Konya Turkish Music Ensemble, Dhruv Sangari and Dervish dancers.

Growing up listening to his music, a quintessential 90s kid like me was naturally spellbound, and so I decided to simply listen to what he has to say… And what a beautiful experience it had been to hear Rahman talk about his passion, his fan moments with several maestros in the past, the first time he heard Sufi song in 1988 and felt the beauty in it, and his reason for staying aloof from the real world.

The Oscar winning music maestro said, “For me, Sufi means destroying the evil in your heart. I am grateful to the organisers for this concert. This is something I cherish very closely. The need of the hour is to share the spirituality and love, which Sufi gives, with humanity.”

Rahman expressed his gratitute to the organisers for bringing up the idea, and giving a platform to Sufi. He believes that the youth as well will love to listen to the songs in the upcoming concert.

What are the maestro’s views on spirituality? Says Rahman, “Spirituality is not about bhajans or kawwalis, it’s about love and actions. For me that is very important.”
About his musical compositions he said, “When we take up any job, we take up a responsibility, and we must do it honestly. It’s the same with music. What we give to the people has to be right, and filtered even with all the limitations, and one must try his best to do so.”

When enquired about the his thoughts regarding the audience’s reaction upon singing Tamil or Hindi songs at certain concerts, in context to some recent events, AR Rahman said, “I’ve been receiving complaints since my first gig in 2000. In some places they complain about the Tamil songs, while in some place there are complains about the Hindi songs. But they’ve (audience) been coming back for the concerts anyway, so I don’t mind.”

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Sufi music is universally accepted as an expression of peace, freedom, and diversity. The unusual concert, The Sufi Route, is the first Sufi festival in India aimed as an ode to the origins of the genre. It is also the only time in recent memory that two ancient and culturally rich roots of Sufi music – Turkish Tasawuf and Indian Sufism – are blending together on this scale. The festival at large aims to achieve peace at such a time of unrest across the globe.

This ‘music led peace festival’ has been designed to be age agnostic, and it welcomes anyone with an ear for alternative music and poetry. The organisers have also created The Sufi Route to be a traveling, global platform, with plans for Indian artistes to have an encore in Turkey in the next edition, followed by concerts in UK and UAE. Gagan Takyar of INvision Entertainment, event organiser and Co-Owner said, “The idea of The Sufi Route came about because this genre of music deserves its share of limelight. Not many music lovers have heard the undiluted rhythms of Sufism that are truly soul-stirring. We are honoured and excited to bring about this congregation of amazing artists. It’s a dream in the making!”

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