With the intent of figuring out what to do this weekend, I sat down to read the newspaper. On the second page of The Hindu I came across Gurgaon Utsav. A little research on the subject brought out the following facts:
- Organised by the Arts and Literature Foundation and Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon in collaboration with Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Haryana, Gurgaon Utsav is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of our nation.
- The location of the event is the picturesque Amphitheater in Aravali Biodiversity Park.
- The events are on 13th, 14th and 15th November 2015 (from 7 p.m.).
- The guest line up features names like Mame Khan, Hari and Sukhmani and Sonam Kalra.
These facts were enough to make the event feature on my Go-to list.
13th November: Mame Khan Manganiar
Mame Khan belongs to the tribe of Manganiars who are professional Muslim folk musicians belonging to Western Rajasthan. Their songs play the important role of keeping alive the spiritual and cultural traditions of an entire community. They sing the praises of the great Sufi Saints and of Krishna; a humbling fact in the intolerant India of today.
Mame Khan’s fusion music blends the Spanish guitar seamlessly with the beat and alaap of Manganiar folk. Tutored by his father, the late Shri Rana Khan, his special style is called Jangra. He sings the poetry of Sufi poets from Sindh and Rajasthan. It was his electrifying performance that set the tone for the remaining two days of the festival.
To hear his brand of music follow the links below:
14th November: Hari and Sukhmani
It was to listen to some nice Punjabi Folk in contemporary rhythm that I headed towards Gurgaon Utsav on 14th November and I was not disappointed. Though my friend and I reached half an hour late, we made it to the last row of the amphitheater (for which no passes were required). Entering to their amazing rendition of the classic In aankhon ki masti, the duo set the mood for an enthralling evening.
Inspired by famous Sufi poets like Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid, Kabir and Shah Hussain, Hari and Sukhmani fuse traditional Punjabi folk music with ambient electronica. While Sukhmani Malik is a trained Hindustani classical vocalist and performer, Hari Singh is a multifaceted producer, vocalist and audio engineer.
More information about the duo and their work can be found on their website: http://www.harisukhmani.com/
15th November: Sonam Kalra & The Sufi Gospel Project
The final day of this three day Utsav is reserved for Sonam Kalra and her Sufi Gospel Project. Through her continuous research of the music and texts of different religions, Sonam has devised a musical genre called ‘The Sufi Gospel Project.’ It is an effort to blend the voices of eclectic faiths through the use of song, music and the spoken word. The music of ‘The Sufi Gospel Project’ carries with it the message of freedom from boundaries, religion and labels.
A sense of the music can be had at:
What makes Gurgaon Utsav so special is the amalgamation of amazing performers, a unique set of listeners (they aren’t just an audience) and the enthralling backdrop of the biodiversity park. The walk from the entrance of the park to the amphitheater will set your mood for what is in store. With the Delhi metro plying in the background, the craggy landscape of the Aravali Biodeiversity Park and some great music- the setting is perfect. A must-visit.
How to Reach: The entrance to the park is walking distance from the Guru Dronacharya Metro Station. The entrance is on the main road itself.
More information is available on their facebook page. They do not have a webpage as yet.