Crusaders of the Sufi music heritage from India and Pakistan
There are times when you must have found yourself into a deep and peaceful trance and it was all because of music. Music has the power to move us in ways that none can do and while music has countless forms and genres, Sufi music surely stands out. Sufi is a form of devotional music inspired by the works of Amir Khusrow, Rumi, Hafiz and many more poets.
Often performed as Qawwali, Ghazals and Kafi, Sufi music is itself a heritage where the song meets the soul. You must have heard songs like, Kun Faya Kun and Kwaja Mere Khwaja which have a profound effect on the mind and have made us fall in love with music again and again.
Here are some of the most distinguished and influential singers/ bands who have kept the tradition of the wonder that is Sufi music, alive across the globe-
1. Javed Ali
If you haven’t experienced a Javed Ali concert, you’re missing out on the magic. His voice has a mesmerizing quality that cannot be found easily. He is a renowned and respected artist in the Indian music sphere who has given various hits like “Kajra Re”, “Jashn-E-Bahara”, “Aa Jao Meri Tamanna and many more. Javed Ali performs live with his band all around the world. He also regularly performs at A.R Rahman’s concerts and has also performed at the United Nations Headquarters to celebrate India’s 70th Independence Day. If you’re looking to jam on some Sufi music, it’s time you listen to him live.
Kailasa is a band founded by Kailash Kher that needs no introduction. Along with guitars, drums, and keyboards, the band incorporates classical Indian instruments into their songs to infuse folk and a Sufi hue. The band has performed in more than 100 cities worldwide and is loved by the audiences for their distinctive style of performance which is a blend of medieval Indian music, Sufi, and Western music. The band has been performing at many music festivals and colleges for almost two decades now. Listen to us and experience their show, you’ll thank us!
3. Mame Khan
Mame Khan is an Indian playback, folk, and Sufi singer. Known for his unique and rich music, he has made a mark in the music industry, which is surely irreplaceable. He has sung in many Hindi films like Luck By Chance, No One Killed Jessica, and Mirzya as a playback vocalist. Khan also appeared on the second season of Coke Studio and received the Best Folk Single Award at GiMA 2016. He performs live shows worldwide and is much loved and appreciated by audiences.
4. Nooran Sisters
The Nooran Sisters are a devotional Sufi singing duo comprising Sultana Nooran and Jyoti Nooran. They gained recognition in 2012 when their song “Tung Tung” went viral and was also later featured in the Bollywood movie, Singh is Bling. They have since some of the most hit songs of Bollywood like “Patakha Guddi” and “Ghani Bawri”, for which they won several awards including the Mirchi Music Awards, GIMA Awards, and Screen Awards. They perform live internationally and their performances are a treat to watch.
5. Kavita Seth
Kavita Seth is a well known Indian singer, and a performer of Ghazals and Sufi music. She leads a Sufi musical group, called Karwaan. She has a way of turning ideas and poetry into soulful music. She has given many hits to the music industry like “Iktara”, “Rang Saari”, “Tumhi ho Bandhu” and many more. Her live performances are nothing less than magic and a true bliss for the music lovers.
6. Wadali Brothers
The name Wadali Brothers is a staple in the Sufi music industry. They also specialize in the gurbani, kaafi, ghazal and bhajan genres of music. They also entered Bollywood in 2003, and collaborated with many artists on various movies like Tanu Weds Manu, Pinjar, Dhoop etc. Their music has a profound quality which makes them unique and warm. Their live performances have a serene atmosphere which makes them a must watch.
7. Harshdeep Kaur
Popularly known as “Sufi Ki Sultana” because of her soulful Sufi renditions, Harshdeep Kaur has made a mark for herself in the music industry. She is also known for reviving Punjabi folk and creating a splash with her soulful voice. She has performed all around the world with some of the biggest music artists in the country including A.R. Rahman and Himesh Reshammiya. She has also regularly appeared on television and has judged some of the biggest singing reality shows like, The Voice. She is also the only singer who has appeared on four seasons of Coke Studio (India) on MTV. Her list of achievements is endless and so is her talent.
8. Nizami Bandhu
Nizami Bandhu are an Indian musical group composed of Ustad Chand Nizami, Shadab Faridi and Sohrab Faridi Nizami. The band is known for performing Qawaali and sufi music written by the poet Amir Khusrau in honour of Nizamuddin Auliya. The band gained recognition after featuring in the song Kun Faya Kun which was a massive hit. They perform live shows all around the world, and it’s a blessing to witness their magical music as the three noteworthy musicians can sing you through a melodious journey to nirvana.
9. Roohani Sisters
Roohani Sisters are a Sufi singing duo who sing mainly Sufiyana Qalams, Qawwali, Ghazals, Kafi, Bhajan and Punjabi Folk in traditional style merging it with the Jugalbandi style of Indian classical and semi-classical music. They sing in many languages such as Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and Persian. In addition to a their great singing voice, they also write and compose their own material. The sisters who intensely believe in the Sufi Tradition of Music complement each other with their different yet same style of singing.
10. Warsi Brothers
Warsi Brothers are an Indian Qawwali and Sufi singing musical group comprised of brothers Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi and Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi. They have a unique style of singing and possesses an excellent quality of voice suitable for playback and live shows. Noted for their melody and improvisation, they carry on their legacy by touring all over the world and are known for their intense performances.
11. Rabbi Shergill
Rabbi Shergill, who is known for his chart-topping debut song Bullah Ki Jaana is a well known Indian musician. He has been named the “Punjabi music’s true urban balladeer” and his music Sufi style of singing has a distinctive quality to it, which is quite unique. He likes to remain poetic with his lyrics and his live shows are a soulful experience for the audiences.
12. Nasha Band
Formed in 2009, Nasha is a Delhi-based Sufi rock band, which plays soulful music in a Modern Contemporary Rock version. The band has manages to leave the crowd spellbound with their own unique Sufi rendered Bollywood numbers. They perform across the nation and their performances are like a celebration of music.
Sufi music is a culture which is spread across the world. These are some of the most influential singers from Pakistan who have left a mark of their voice on the world stage and are much loved-
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a Pakistani singer who enjoys a significant fan following in India. He sings Qawwali and Sufi devotional music. He has sung various songs in Pakistani and Indian industries including Bollywood and Coke Studio. He regularly performs live all around the world and especially in India. He is the first Pakistani singer to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert and has also performed at Wembley Arena and the Manchester Arena. Listening to him live is a very serene experience for all music lovers.
Often referred to as one of the world’s greatest mystic singers, Abida Parveen is a Pakistani singer, composer, and musician of Sufi music. Dubbed as the Queen of the Sufi music, Abida has an incredible range, which allows her to do justice to a plethora of musical genres. Her passionate bold voice spans three octaves and her powerful renditions of devotional music, and inspirational singing is an experience which should not be missed by an music lover.
Ali Azmat is a Pakistan singer and musicians who is also the lead singer of the famous Sufi rock band Junoon. The band is the first Pakistani band ever to perform at the United Nations General Assembly. He made his singing debut in Bollywood in 2003 and has also regularly performed at Coke Studio. Listening to his voice live is a very unique and soulful experience for any music enthusiast.
Sanam Marvi is a Pakistani Sufi and Folk singer, who gave her voice to numerous Pakistani dramas and singles. She uses her voice to spread the Sufi kalam across the globe and every song she sings is from her soul and her beautiful voice. She is a sought after singer and artist whose live performances are a mystical experience for the audiences.
These highly respected and notable artists have made us believe that if there is something that can bring us close to divinity, it definitely is music, specially Sufi music.
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