‘Sufi is no music’
We all have put these songs on our iPods and cell phones playing on a loop. Whether it be Sajda from My Name is Khan or O Re Piya from Aaja Nachle, we have all loved the voice that has crossed our hearts so many times. Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the name that sets our ears smiling.
Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the scion of a family whose name has become synonymous with a South Asian musical tradition ten centuries old which has only in recent years captured the imagination of listeners in the West. Khan is the heart and soul of the world music community.
On a tête-à-tête, the maestro told Millennium Post about his new album, Back 2 Love. It is after seven years that the artiste has launched an album in collaboration with Salim-Sulaiman and Shreya Ghoshal. It would be a treat for it features 10 romantic tracks. Khan, on being asked about how he defines Sufi music, told us that there is nothing called Sufi music. ‘The idea of Sufi music is very recent. We in our family never created anything called Sufi music. We are creators of contemporary music,’ said he. What is Sufi then? ‘Sufi is someone who has no commercial interests. He who has no interest in the worldly pleasures is a Sufi. My music can give you the feeling of being a Sufi. The singer can be a Sufi. We all can be Sufi. You can be Sufi.’
The music today, according to him, is another area of music. He doesn’t describe them as good or bad music. The Ustad feels that any music which has a rhythm and a sur is good music. Clearly, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has handed over his music to him. Khan has had years of training and relentless practice, and this background serves him well. He has mastered the art form of classical vocal improvisations, sargam and taan runs and raags (scales).Ustad ends by saying that ‘we need a Nusrat again to unite the world to one music.’