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Delhi on a music spree

There’s a new twist to rock and roll music in the city. It’s vernacular. Desi rock bands performing tracks in Haryanvi, Bangla, Tamil and Malyalam are taking over the scene, and everyone’s loving it.

music Updated: Mar 15, 2013 02:14 IST

Regional rock on a roll

There’s a new twist to rock and roll music in the city. It’s vernacular. Desi rock bands performing tracks in Haryanvi, Bangla, Tamil and Malyalam are taking over the scene, and everyone’s loving it.

Tony John, lead singer of four-member Malayalam rock band Avial, says singing in the regional language has helped them connect with their community, who were not connoisseurs of rock music.


"Before Avial happened, we used to sing in English. But now, the connect does not happen strongly if you sing in just English. Singing in mother tongue helps people connect better," says John.

Kunal Wassan, a 24-year-old singer, and his Delhi-based Haryanvi Sufi rock band Nasya, are equally popular. Out of seven band members, only flute player Nikhil is from Sonipat, Haryana. “As a vocalist, I felt a little hesitant initially. I did not wish to offend the local people and their dialect. Even though we had researched well, it was different when it came down to implementing it,” Wassan said.

“But when locals accepted our work, we became more confident,” said Wassan.

These bands have about 12 to 15 shows in a month, and live off it comfortably. IANS

‘This city has made me what I am’

RabbiFolk-rock singer Rabbi Shergill has a soothing impact on many of his listeners. Best remembered for his emotional songs, the Indian musician is all set to perform live in the city again. Having completed his education in Delhi, his association with the city goes back a long way. On his resilient connection with the Capital, the singer says, "Delhi is home. The city has made me what I am." Among his fondest memories, he reminisces the endless walks on the sprawling roads, the eternal sunshine of winter afternoons, bunking college to read Tolstoy in Sanjay Van and meeting beautiful girls in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The artist credits Delhi for the unlocked freedom it gave him — to connect with his roots and to work on his passion. "It just let me be and lo! sprang the music." Talking about how Delhi has adapted to Sufi music, he says, "It has the Nizamuddin Dargah. It had a bhangra phase for the longest time and now, perhaps, it has a ‘sufi’ phase."

Carrying the Sufi legacy forward

The charm of Sufi music can mesmerise even the harshest of skeptics. So when the genre is brought to the fore by some of the most revered artistes from India and Pakistan at a music festival in the city, it ideally shouldn’t be given a miss. As part of Delhi Celebrates — an initiative of Delhi government’s Department of Art, Culture & Languages and Sindhi Academy, the two-day event is being organised not only for followers of the Sufi tradition, but also for the lovers of Sindhi, the ancient language of the Sindh region in Pakistan.

The music fest, to be held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, will see leading singers from Pakistan — Sanam Marvi and Tufail Sanjrani, along with their Indian counterparts — Ghansham Vaswani, Kajal Chandiramani and Uma Lalla — showcasing their talent. Noted Kathak dancer Namrata Pamnani will also perform at the event. “Sufi poetry has a very strong history and tradition. It is unfortunate that Sindhis in India are not aware of their rich legacy, and through this event, we want to revive an interest in the language and provide a platform to nurture its culture,” says Sindhu Mishra Bhagia, secretary of Sindhi Academy.

“I want to ensure that people are fully entertained, and more importantly, we as performers should be able to convey the true message of Sufism to the people,” says singer Tufail Sanjrani.

Catch him here
Sindhi Sufi Music Festival
When: March 16, 17
Timings: 5pm onwards
Where: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
NEAREST METRO STATION: Central Secretariat on the Yellow Line

First Published: Mar 14, 2013 17:58 IST