Special Reports

Kerala sufi singer Shahabaz Aman enthrals Delhi audience

New Delhi: An audience, mostly Keralites living in Delhi, was enthralled by a spirited Kerala sufi singer Shahabaz Aman on Wednesday, 30th September here at the jampacked Stein Auditorium of India Habitat Centre. The musical, “Malayalam Sufi Route”, included over half a dozen songs in which the intellectual-musician touched upon themes of love, longing, freedom, devotion and redemption.

Kerala sufi singer Shahabaz Aman performing in Delhi

Aman, who has sung and rendered music for some Malayalam films, employs six different languages in his singing, which distinguishes him from other sufi singers. His soulful singing is drawn from various traditions that represent syncretic traditions pluralistic practices and multicultural values.

He began with a Mappila song written by Moeenkutti Vaidyar, a great Islamic poet of Kerala, famous for his romantic poetry, followed by a song dedicated to teenage love. “Zammilooni, Zammilooni’ ostensibly drawn from the idea of revelation and the burden of responsibility to spread the message was soulful.

Darwish, adapted in Malayalam from a poem by famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, shows solidarity and sympathy with Palestine in which a woman calls the cloud over Palestine to pour over the dead body of her son so that she is drenched in his blood. Lal Shahbaz Lal Pari has the theme of humanity as religion.

Iccha Mastan made the young among the audience stand in unison with the musician. Aman also sang from KEF 1126, his popular sufi album that contains deep spiritual thoughts of the thinker-musician.

It is worth mentioning that the self-taught artiste Shahabaz’s albums have songs with great philosophical insight the shades of which are also found in his book Om Allah.

Belonging to the beautiful hilly district of Malappuram in Kerala where Islam arrived much earlier than in other parts of India, Aman draws inspiration from various sources, including Islamic sufi tradition, but his rendition goes beyond any conventional framework.

In its quest for nurturing liberal philosophical attitude for larger social accommodation, cultural thinktank Lila Foundation for Translocal Initiatives, in association with Serendipity Arts, organised the event. Earlier, Lila’s executive director, Razio Yohannan Raj, welcomed the musician and his team and introduced the theme of the musical.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2015 on page no. 13

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