• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Reviews

Superb Royal Albert Show redefines Sufi music

ORCHESTRAL QAWWALI PROJECT

By: Asjad Nazir

THERE are special history-making concerts where everything comes together to create a perfect moment in time. One of those occurrences happened at the Royal Albert Hall in London recently.  

The UK’s leading live music venue saw a melting pot of contrasting influences come together as a beautiful ball of energy that radiated power in the most spectacular way.  

It was all built around arguably the most exciting British Asian music act, right now. Orchestral Qawwali Project presented Sufi classics in a way that crossed cultures, generations and musical barriers. 

 The giant heartbeat of it all was the incredible vocals of Abi Sampa and the arrangements of incredibly talented musician Rushil Ranjan.  

They painted much-loved Sufi classics on a giant canvas that included the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Choir. There were also leading south Asian musicians and performances from some of the UK’s finest dance talents.  

A major highlight was a hypnotic rendition of Man Kunto Maula, combining the emotion-filled vocals of Sampa with a stunning dance performance from Vidya Patel. There was an equally affecting rendition of the song Ghar Aa, with a performance by the dynamic Aakash Odedra Dance Company, which ended in the most spectacular and colourful way.  

There were also sombre moments in a show that captivated audiences. It all led towards a rousing finale with a sold out audience on their feet for revered classic Mast Qalandar, which included an explosive percussion solo. 

 The show finally concluded with a stripped back emotion filled slower number, which was performed beautifully by Sampa and Ranjan.  

Both confirmed themselves as one of the most exciting musical dreams in world music, with a show that will be remembered for many years to come. Those present will likely carry memories of that perfect night forever.  

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