Shivani Sahasrabudhe (MeraNews, Ahmedabad): The eighth annual Sufi and water festivals that will be held during World Heritage Week later this month will blend together music from Latin America and South Africa with textures from north and south India at Khan Masjid in Dholka and Ahmedabad’s Adalaj ni Vav.
The event, organized by Crraft of Art, will also feature a photography exhibition—titled Goombaj: Musings, Music, Monuments—showcasing the first seven years of its journey.
“We are very proud to say that there is one more addition to our endeavour and that is in Dholka at the phenomenal monument called Khan Masjid, near Khan Lake,” said Birwa Qureshi, founder of Crraft of Art and a Bharatanatyam and folk dancer.
Khan Masjid will host the Sufi festival on 19 November and the water festival will take place at Adalaj ni Vav, a 15th century stepwell, on 25 November. The photography exhibition will be held on 22-25 November at Amdavad ni Gufa.
“It is going to be an interesting presentation of Sufi through different instruments, which is not very easy to do. Hopefully, we will be able to convey what we want to do,” said Ustad Fazal Qureshi, a tabla maestro and Birwa’s husband. “There will be a Latin American, Brazilian feel on the piano, and then we have an interesting lady drummer from Mexico. So, there is going to be an amalgamation of different musician styles like Latin American, South Indian, North Indian, South African, and so on... At the Gufa, we are not going to have any music as such. It is more of an exhibition and the information about Crraft of Art and our cultural heritage will be highlighted in a very unique way. Coming together of art is what heritage is all about.”
Qureshi will be performing at the Sufi festival at Dholka, located about 40km from Ahmedabad, in addition to noted violinist Balabhaskar, drummer Arun Kumar, Rajith George on keyboards and qawaali group Nizami Bandhu. At the water festival, Qureshi will be joined by sarod master Ayaan Ali Bangash, the son of Amjad Ali Khan; mandolin player U. Rajesh; percussionist Varun Venkit, formerly of folk rock band Agnee; Raghuraman Ramasubramanian on bass guitar as well as piano player Gabriel Geszti from Rio de Janeiro and Karina Colis, a Latin American drummer from New York.
Since the youth have formed the majority of the audience since the event’s inception in 2010, Birwa Qureshi said the main aim of Crraft of Art is to connect the youth with monuments and heritage. “We want to revive that connection, whether it is the Sufi festival or the water festival or both... I don’t want to believe that Sufi is something to do with religion. Music is music; it is universal.”
While the heritage festival has mostly been held in and around Ahmedabad—locations have also included Sarkhej Roza and Bhadra Fort in addition to Adalaj—it has ventured outside before, with the Sufi festival in 2015 taking place at Rani ki Vav in Patan, around 125km from the city.
Qureshi said she would love to expand to other cities, but has not been able to because of space constraints.
“Crraft of Art believes that apart from monuments, we also want to expand in diverse directions. So, we are going to present Goombaj with the tagline ‘musings’,” she said.