Singing Strings, Throbbing Drums

A Qawwali's Things
[The Qawalli's things]

Singing strings, vibrant woods, throbbing drums - he quietly uprears his voice to the beloved - as if not from strings, not from wood nor from drums but from himself comes the voice of the beloved. The Qawwalli is over. Their task is done, the musicians carry away their instruments; the assembly disperses, each listener carrying away with him the fullness of the sound that lingers over the marble tomb now silent. What is the power of this sound, how does this music speak, welcoming all with a familiar message while revealing to a seeker realms beyond his knowledge, leading each on his own path yet joining all in the fervor of a shared musical experience.



Tambourine Qawwalli, Haji Ali, Mumbai

If you guys are interested in the partaking in some Qawwalli music - I suggest you report at Haji Hali Dargah[which is a sight by itself] around 4 o'clock - It usually happens everyday but then again you are at the mercy to whims of these musicians.

Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai

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Well Heeled said...

Oh, I love the pics!!

vineeta said...

well written & as usual the pics capture the essence of Qawwali, the performance, the people, the colours, the mood. 4 oclock? atleast I know when and where - thanx :)

geoff said...

Hey Akshay,

I never had the chance to tell you this in Phnom Penh, but man, your photography is stunning. Keep in touch.

Anonymous said...

Got to you from Boingboing;

Beautiful pics, by the way. They're going into my desktop rotation.

I'd love to hear some qawwalli in that format, live, a community, etc. It was after hearing and coming to love Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan that I realized, though not being a religious person, that the translations of the Bible were suspect solely because they would have god speaking, and Nusrat made it painfully obvious that god would never speak, but sing.

Karl Barx

Darius said...

I interviewed that first man on the right in the Qawalli picture, for Time Out magazine last year :) Great that he's still there.

gunJan said...

beautiful akshay, i absolutely love qawwali - what grips me in ur article, is that u have captured the msyticism of the form subtly in ur writing as well... beautifully written

Kokila said...

You have caught the special experience of Qawaali and it's spiritual search, with your words. I particularly feel you've captured the disoriented feeling when you are released from the clutch of a singers spellbinding hypnotism and are still reeling from the rhythm of it's mysticism. As always lovely photos, but it was your description that really grabbed me.