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Pop / Rock 03/03/2005

The Beat of Sufi Music Concert Goes House Full

NEW YORK ( - On the 13th of February, the day of Basant Panchami, something startling happened. The warm day brought a ray of hope for thousands of practitioners of folk music who are scattered across the landscape of India.

More than 1200 people turned up to hear an artiste who they had neither heard nor even heard of before. The outdoor venue of New Delhi's India Habitat Center was festooned with yellow kites in keeping with the traditions of kite-flying on Basant Panchami. People started getting their seats a long time before the show was even scheduled to begin and by the time it began, people were on the carpets, on the ground, on ledges and on their feet. Yes... this does happen sometimes... but it happens for shows of international stars, Bollywood stars or at best Punjabi pop stars. The artistes performing that evening, Swarn Noora and her team, fit none of those bills; they sing the Sufiana Kalam, they sing the folk music of Punjab. It is rare now-a-days to come across traditional Punjabi music that has not been remixed or converted to a more pop form and clubbed under the umbrella term of Bhangra. Swarn Noora along with her sons, sings without synthesizers and octo-pads that seem to have become the norm, she sings with the minimal accompaniment of a Dholak and a Harmonium.

The concert was the first live show of Beat of after five years of hard work traveling to the most remote corners of India in search of the finest folk musicians and bringing their music to a global audience in the form of CD, Cassette and DVD titles and on the comprehensive portal

At the event, former Prime Minister of India, Mr. I.K. Gujral launched the 3 new albums of Beat of of the series, Gudti Punjab Di, literally, the first taste of Punjab. The album Noora, a golden voice has music of the magnificent artistes performing at the concert, Swarn Noora and her family.

Swarn Noora's family belonged to Lyallpur in present day Pakistan but they moved to India at the time of partition. Her musical training came from her mother, Bibi Nooran, a nationally acclaimed singer of her time. An amalgam of the Sufiana Kalam and Qawwali, Swarn Noora's style and voice epitomizes poignancy & the album, Noora, A golden voice, is her first mainstream release.

This event has given a big fillip to these artistes who have been struggling to eke out a living in the last few years. They have already begun doing more private programs even in the city of Delhi amongst audiences that loves this genre of music. Many family members who had taken up alternative professions might now be motivated to come back to their family tradition.

Through the evening of the concert, as people clapped, cheered and got completely immersed in the mood of the music, it became clear that folk music always was and continues to be a part of people's lives and that this music, people's own music, will survive against all odds till the people of this land do.

The two other albums launched at the concert are Wah Rangiya, Passionate Punjab featuring Swarn Noora's son Dilbahar & Mehar Chand Mastana and Bol Ni Chakkiye, the singing wheel of life featuring Mundri Lal, Sohan Nath Sapera, Desh Raj Lachkani & Harpal Singh Pala.

The music can be downloaded and purchased from

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