Last month, when Roohi Sayed, 41, received an invitation for a folk music workshop based on fifteenth-century saint-poet Kabir’s work, curiosity led her there.
The homemaker found herself seated amid ten others in Khar, singing Malwa songs (a folk music genre from Madhya Pradesh) and absorbing the meanings of Kabir’s dohas narrated by Prahlad Tipanya, a folk singer from the Malwa region.
“After listening to the music and singing along I realised how Kabir’s words hold relevance in present times,” said Sayed who added that she did not know how to play the tamboura (a five string plucked instrument) but felt good running her fingers through it while singing.
Priti Turakhia, who organises these workshops at her residence in Khar, said that the success of the Kabir Festival held in January prompted her to hold regular workshops.
“Training in folk music is usually expensive so this would be a great platform for amateur singers or Kabir enthusiasts to interact with a folk singer,” said Turakhia, curator of the Kabir Festival, Mumbai.
The workshops are held once a month when Tipanya comes to Mumbai from Madhya Pradesh. The next workshop is on August 7, which will be their third event.
Tipanya, 57, who also teaches folk music at schools in Madhya Pradesh, said that Kabir’s music could be influential. “In a city like Mumbai, which has witnessed terror attacks, Kabir’s dohas can help clear communal differences, encourage introspection.”