Sway to the tunes of the deserts of Rajasthan or immerse yourself in Sufiana Qawwalis at Sundar Nursery tonight as Amarrass Records brings you a musical evening to perk up your soul.
While artistes Ghewar Khan and Firoz Khan will bring the otherworldly romance of the desert tunes that colour that landscape with heart-achingly poignant notes, Rehmat-e-Nusrat, a qawwali group from Nainital (Uttarakhand) is bringing an interesting and fresh perspective to the timeless musical tradition with qawwalis by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sufiana kalams by the great poets Amir Khusrao, Meera Bai, Baba Bulleh Shah, and bhajans by Sant Kabir besides their original compositions.
All six members of Rehmat-e-Nusrat are drawn from different walks of life (one is a music teacher, another an optician) and none of them is a trained qawwali singer though their singing belies this fact.
“We are fans of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and it is our love for him which resulted in the formation of this band in 2014,” says Sarvjeet Tamta, the lead singer.
Other members include Sanjay Kumar Tamta (tabla), Dhruv Pandey (guitar), and Sahil Arya, Bhanu Pratap Arya and Avinesh Kumar. Sad that Pahari folk is a slowly diminishing, Sarvjeet says this is due to lack of good literature on the subject. He is also a part of an orchestra that promotes Pahari folk music.
Amarrass Nights began in 2012 at The Lodi hotel in New Delhi with the aim to give a platform to little-known or unknown artistes. This is the first time that the event is being held at Sundar Nursery. “We have been looking for an alternate space since Lodi closed down over a year back,” says Ashutosh Sharma, co-founder, Amarrass Records, the organisers.
“From now on, it will be a monthly event. Next month we are bringing in Barmer Boys and Lakha Khan,” he adds.
Interestingly, it will be the first real performance for both Ghewar & Firoz Khan as well as the band Rehmat-e-Nusra, which will help create their identity.
A part of Desert Slide Project with Pt Vishva Mohan, Ghewar & Firoz Khan have been playing for years but, just like their father Padma Shri Sakar Khan, are not much known.
The programme will begin with a brief on kamaicha, an instrument that Amarrass Records is trying to revive. Kamaicha is an instrument played only by the Manganiar community in western Rajasthan.
Its body is carved from wood of mango tree over which goatskin is stretched to produce a warm tone that takes you to the sand dunes of Jaisalmer-Barmer region.
Three of its 17 strings are also made from goat guts. “Just like our country, the making of kamaicha is truly secular, the wooden body is made by Shankar Suthar while the goatskin is stretched over it by the Khans,” says Sharma.
Significantly, Suthar, the only kamaicha maker in the country, had given up the work as there was no money in it when Sharma approached him.