Friday, June 15, 2012

Sanam Marvi – Pakistan Sufi songs from Sindh




'You read and write a multitude of books.
Throw them away!
Light is all around, but plunged into obscurity.
If truth had been found, you would be deaf and dumb.'-
Baba Bulleh Shah


Sanam Marvi is a young Pakistani singer who was born in Hyderabad in the heart of Sindh. She sings the great Sufi poets with authority, in the particular Kafi style of the Punjab, a style that lies somewhere between Sindh and Sikh tradition. She sings in Urdu, Sindhi and Saraiki languages.

Marvi studied with Ustad Fateh Ali Khan at the Gwalior school (gharana), which made her an expert at singing the works of poets such as Bulleh Shah, Baba Sheikh Farid, Alam Lohar, Sachal Sarmast and the mystical Sindhi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

Though only in her mid-twenties, Sanam Marvi sings with authority. Happily she is not simply technically perfect, but performs with what a musician would call "feel".

Her dynamic range is very big, something that could give a sound engineer a headache, but Vincent Deboingnie, on the sound desk, followed her superbly, giving us a great concert.


With a classic lineup of tabla, flute and harmonium, the concert was a winner from the start. Beautiful flute playing augmented by seriously good percussion brought Sanam Marvi's rendition of 13th century poetry well and truly alive

With echoes of Abidah Parveen, Marvi already enjoys great popularity in Pakistan and India. She is part of the legacy of her father, Faqir Ghulam Rasool, who was a Sufi singer. She accompanied him to the durgah,  to sanctuaries of the great mystics of Pakistan,  and to festivals and ritual gatherings.

A high energy performer who displays obvious enjoyment, her style showed traces of her study with Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, yet Marvi is a singer who has come into her own. It is easy to predict that one day other singers will aspire to sound like her.

Marvi later studied with Ustad Fateh Ali Khan at the Gwalior school (gharana), which made her an expert at singing the works of poets such as Bulleh Shah, Baba Sheikh Farid, Alam Lohar, Sachal Sarmast and the mystical Sindhi poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

Sanam Marvi during rehearsal
Sanam Marvi's visit to Fes marks one of her first concerts at a large international festival outside the Indian sub-continent. After a standing ovation, hopefully this will the first of many visits to Fez.

Tomorrow at Batha is an Indian day with Anuf Mishra performing Kathak dance.


FÈS FESTIVAL QUICK LIST

Festival Programme
Festival in the City
Sufi Nights
Festival Forums
Festival Eating Guide
Art during the Festival #1
Art during the Festival #2
The Enchanted Gardens of Fez
Last Minute Accommodation

Reporting: Sandy McCutcheon 
Photographs: Sandy McCutcheon

The View from Fez is an official Media Partner of the Fès Festival of World Sacred Music


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