Salaam Emraan!

Posted by-Kalki Team

The 13-year-old Qawwali singer proved his sufi legacy, writes M.O. Badsha

It was sunset. But inside the Museum Theatre, as Emraan Raja Sabri (grandson and disciple of the renowned Ustad Iqbal Sabri) took the stage, it was all sunny energy. In this age of remixes and reprises, the 13-year-old won hearts for his traditional sufiana qawwali.

Emraan had his training in the Kirana Gharana and learnt the intricacies of Sufi Qawwali from the age of four. He gave his first performance at seven. Now hailed as the most promising and talented star of sufi qawwali, he exceeded expectations with a solo and soulful performance.

Emraan began gently with preamble verses (Hamd) on the Almighty and steadily built the tempo with praises (Naat) of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and elegiac poem on Imam Hussain. He soon switched to the spirit of love, liberty, Hindu-Muslim friendship and patriotism.

The number ‘Pyar kiyeja’ hinted on trying to find commonalities and oneness. Tapping into the subconscious was the instrumental music played for ‘Bhar do jholi meri’ . Marsiya and manqabat complemented the two-and-a-half-hour show. He sung some qawwalis that could be traced to the great Amir Khusro.

Emraan’s qawwali imbibed Hindu influences and incorporated various elements of the north Indian musical traditions. Gifted with a voice that matched a seasoned performer, his vocal acrobatics resulted in an impeccable rendition.

Playing the harmonium was his father Sarfaraz Sabri, dholak (Moula Hussain), tabla (Qadir), banjo (Mubarak) and vocal support (Ameer Shola).

On popular demand, the Saharanpur boy improvised some raag and sur.

The programme reached a crescendo with salaam, which captivated the audience.

Jyoti Nair, joint secretary, Amir Khusro Sangeet Academy introduced the artist to the audience. Munna Shoakath Ali, president of the academy, honoured the chief guest Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali. Sangam Foundation and Aahaa 360 were the joint organisers.

Hailing after the Sabri family (most widely recognised qawwali artists of the subcontinent) Emraan showcased well the sufi tradition of mysticism and asceticism. He has the potential to join the pantheons in future.

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