Classic Bagh Festival: Bringing people closer with music in a socially distant world

Written By: Zeba Khan WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Mar 27, 2021, 12:37 PM(IST)

Warsi Brothers Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

It took place at the famed Sunder Nursery, in the heart of Indian capital city New Delhi as musicians from the Hindustani, Sufi, Bhajan, Shabad and Qawwali traditions made a harmonious day out of what would have otherwise been a dull day.

Music heals the world and these words are truer in today’s perspective as the world reels with pandemic-induced fear and chaos. Classic Bagh Festival, a one-of-a-kind musical night was recently organised by JodhpurRIFF and the British Council, in association with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture with a purpose of bringing to fore musicians with a live audience in a socially-distant world. 

It took place at the famed Sunder Nursery, in the heart of Indian capital city New Delhi as musicians from the Hindustani, Sufi, Bhajan, Shabad and Qawwali traditions made a harmonious day out of what would have otherwise been a dull Sunday. The festival opened with a lakeside chorus by Smita Bellur and Jasleen Kaur Monga and was followed by performances by the likes of Barkat Khan, Ustad Saeed Zafar Khan, and the Warsi Brothers.

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Designed to enjoin hearts with music amid a safe and socially distant environment, the Classic Bagh Festival stood on its promise of providing a platform for social inclusion as new and veteran artists interacted with the audience alike. 

WION got in touch with the Warsi Brothers, who closed the night with their mesmerising performance. Based in Hyderabad, Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi and Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi have performed here before. “This is the second time we performed here and it’s always very exciting to mingle with a new crowd.”

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Hailing from the Delhi Gharana, the Warsi Brothers perform compositions by the esteemed Hazrat Amir Khusrau, who was a profilic Indian Sufi singer, poet and scholar at the time of Delhi sultanate. They said, “We are privileged to have gotten this learning from our elders. Music has been in the family since centuries and growing up, we picked it up as a way of life." 

"We have been attached to Qawwali since the time of Mughal rule in India as our forefathers performed at the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s court," the duo added

On coming back to what they enjoy the most -- giving a live performance, the Warsi Brothers said, “It’s been a long time since we connected with a live audience. It’s a good feeling. It felt like we were caged all this while. Thankfully we have got this opportunity.”

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