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Global Sufi fest attracts thousands

Kolkata, Feb 6 (PTI) Soulful renderings of Sufi music bywandering minstrels from different parts of the world left thelisteners spellbound here at the three-day ''Sufi Sutra'' whichended today.

Besides Indians, Sufi singers and musicians fromAfghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Syria and Tajikistanpresented mystic Islam through songs, dance and poetry.

Notwithstanding the current political turmoil back home,an eight-member Egyptian Mawlawyiah troupe enthralled theaudience by an audio-visual of music and circular dervishdance whirling around singers in a circle.

A Bangladeshi team, led by Anusheh Anadil, sang thehousehold songs of the famous 18th century poet-philosopherFakir Lalon Shah, on whom based the recent Golden Peacockwinning Bengali film ''Moner Manush''.

The ''bauls'' and ''fakirs'' of West Bengal''s Nadia andMurshidabad districts were huge hits by their spontaneous,simple and meaningful lyrics.

Another Bengal team led by Armaan Fakir presented thelittle-known ''Bangla Qawwali''. Traditionally performed at theDargahs, the devotional songs had ''Dhol'' and ''Khol'' aspercussions replacing Tabla.

The first Sufi ensemble also included the ''WarsiBrothers'' from Hyderabad, Delhi''s ''Druv Sangari'' and team,''Mirs'' from Bikaner and ''Haji Md Ahmed Khan Warsi''s team fromUttar Pradesh.

"It is a peace concert in times of violence. We want tobring a convergence of ideas about truth, harmony, self-beliefand peace through music. It is a celebration of the quest forthe divine through love," organiser Amitava Bhattacharya toldPTI.

Besides musical performances, the festival includedworkshops and exhibitions to showcase the traditional culture,beliefs and music of the Sufi mystics.

"We had more than 10,000 people at the open-air concert,while more than 700 people, including young students, learntabout Sufism at the pre-concert workshops," Bhattacharya said.

The event would also help the poor musicians, most ofwhom were from the rural areas, to earn a livelihood, he said.

The festival was organised by Banglanatak.com incollaboration with the state�s tourism department.

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