Bringing the sacred to the land of the maharajas

Bringing the sacred to the land of the maharajas

By PREETI SINGH | | 6 February, 2016
The Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur.

The much acclaimed Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and the Ahhichatragarh Fort in Nagaur open their doors to an extraordinary, sacred and historical, musical journey. For the ninth year in a row, the Mehrangarh Museum Trust will enchant the music aficionados of India with World Sacred Spirit Festival (WSSF). Known to present the most beautiful of sacred traditions from the Orient, the East and Africa, WSSF will take a step further in enchanting its guests with an impressive line-up of artists in a stunning royal setting. Lit by the sparkling radiance of a thousand candles, magnificent, inherited and spiritual arts will carry you to the very origins of a tradition linked to those pilgrims of the past, travelers of the spirit, who brought to civilization a sense of inspiration and meaning.

In this regard, Karni Singhji Jasol, the Director of Mehrangarh Museum Trust speaks to Guardian 20 about the upcoming musical festival.

He says, “World Sacred Spirit Festival (WSSF) is celebration of the diverse sacred music traditions from around the world and a confluence of global musical exponents presenting the sacred and devotional music and the most beautiful of revered traditions from the Orient, the East and Africa in addition to our rich Indian sacred dance and music traditions.”

He also says, “The event is in its ninth edition. What began in 2008 is now an event much sought after by International and Indian music lovers. Maharaja Gaj Singhji II of Marwar-Jodhpur and Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner Sting are the Chief Patrons of the Festival organized by Mehrangarh Museum Trust.”

“To compliment a unique festival such as World Sacred Spirit Festival, the venue should be equally exclusive, and the backdrop of the majestic Mehrangarh fort and the various locations within the fort manage to do this.”

Talking about the new elements expected in this year, he further says, “Some of the star attractions to set enchant the audience this year are as follows Amjad Ali Khan with Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan, Andres Marin (from Spain) with Divana, Daud Khan Sadozai (Afghanistan), Devadasi and Apsaras, Driss El Maloumi Oud, Epi, Maati Baani, Madan Gopal Singhji, Sardar Gurdayal Singh, Sheikh Yasin al-Tuhami, Stelios Petrakis Quartet (Greece), Tamango (France), Teratali, Yulduz Turdieva (Uzbekinstan) who will be performing. This edition shall be an enthralling experience for music lovers. We are expecting serious audiences who genuinely follow music. We are keen to develop an audience culture that cultivates a respect for the artist and for fellow audience members.”

Asked why the Mehrangarh fort was picked for this event  ,he answers, “To compliment a unique festival such as World Sacred Spirit Festival, the venue should be equally exclusive, and the backdrop of the majestic Mehrangarh fort and the various locations within the fort manage to do this. Illuminated by the sparkling incandescence of a thousand candles, the performances will carry one to the very origin of a tradition linked to those pilgrims of the past.”

Talking about how the footfall and demographics have been like in past editions of World Sacred Spirit Festival, he says that the response he is anticipating for this year’s edition is much greater than last year, “The response that we received in the last edition was very encouraging, positive and quite rewarding. A host of people have complimented us on putting together a festival like this in the historic setting of the Mehrangarh Fort. The number of visitors doubled last year in comparison to the previous editions with a registered footfall of 7000 visitors both domestic and international.”

What is the most unique aspect of the festival, considering it brings together so many different cultures and art forms from around the world to which he answers, “A confluence of global musical exponents presenting  sacred and devotional music is the uniqueness of the festival where the idea is to create a musical atmosphere. The most unique aspect is the backdrop of the majestic Mehrangarh fort and the various locations within the fort that compliments the musical performances by the artists.”

“In this festival we have performers from across the globe who bring with them a unique understanding of music, that is central to their very own experiences. With this, we seek to intermingle various musical practices to create a unique sound that is the soul of the entire festival.” He concludes.

World Sacred Spirit Festival would start from 26 february to 28 february in Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.

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