• Maulud

    Maulud is a Sindhi sufi genre performed by the Jat community in Kutch, Gujarat. It is a communal act of praise for the Prophet Muhammad and is sung on Mondays, Thursdays, and on weddings, births etc. The compositions are based on the 'surs' of Shah Abdul Latif.

    Track Information : 'Pakhi pakhian mein kekra' : Hussain Shah Qalam
    Performer(s) : Men of the Fakirani Jat community in Gunav village, Kutch, Gujarat.
    Collection : Soorvani Collection


    Wai is a genre of Sufi song associated with the Bhitai fakirs. Created by the Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, wai is performed by members of the Jat community in Kutch, Gujarat. Wai performers use a distinct harmonic style of singing alternating between high notes (bachi) and medium-low notes (garyam). The singing is accompanied by the playing of a five-string drone instrument called dhamburo. Every wai composition is sung in a particular sur.There are 36 such surs, each associated with a particular time of the day when it is to be performed.

    Track Information : An episode from the epic 'Sassi Punnuh' performed in Hussaini Sur.
    Performer(s) : Mitha Khan and Sumar Khan
    Collection : Soorvani Collection


    Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, as well as in Hyderabad, Delhi and other parts of India. Qawwalis tend to begin gently and build steadily to a very high energy level in order to induce hypnotic states both among the musicians and within the audience. Originally it was performed mainly at Sufi shrines or dargahs.

    Track Information :
    Performer(s) : Meraj Ahmed
    Collection : Claire Devos

    Rifai Ratib of Sri Lanka

    Ratib is a Muslim devotional performance that celebrates the lives and miracles of the popular saints. The performance is staged by two opposing rows of seated men, each with a tambourine (daf), under the leadership of a Kalifa who sings the opening lines and prompts the seated men to respond. This distinctive genre of Sufi singing has been introduced from the Andorath Island in Lakshadweep by travelling Rifai 'tangals' who have initiated many followers in Sri Lanka over the past 150 years.

    Track Information :
    Performer(s) : Various Artists
    Collection : Dennis McGilvray
  • Sufiana Qalam

    The devotional Sufiana Qalam is a mystical genre of poetry typically sung by a solo musician to minimal instrumentation. Unlike Qawwali, Sufiana Qalam is sung in a monologue and requires less rigid training. Deriving from folk oral melodies, the performers sing in vernacular languages to simple stringed instruments such as the tambur and ektara. Sufiana Qalam aspires toward a spiritual experience not only through the semantic content of the texts but also by generating rhythmic cadences within the body.

    Track Information : Sallo Alah- Sufiana Qalam by Namtahali Group at Delhi.
    Performer(s) : Namtahali Group
    Collection : Umashankar