The singer, who recently performed during the Pondicherry chapter of ‘Beyond Serendipity’, an initiative by Serendipity Arts, maybe teaching many foreigners who come to stay with him, and over video calls, says he is worried whether many in his tribe will take up the tradition and continue singing…writes Sukant Deepak
In Kabir, he not only finds answers but a path that promises solace. Whenever he sings his poetry, serpentine labyrinths open into never-before horizons.
“There is a peculiar state of calm. Kabir’s simplicity answers the most complex questions effortlessly. Every time I give a voice to his words, there is something new to be discovered — about the poet, about myself,” Sufi singer Mir Mukhtiyar Ali tells.
Known for blending the Rajasthani folk idiom with refined classicism to sing the poetry of Kabir, Mira and Sufi poets such as Bulleh Shah, Ali hails from a semi-nomadic community called the ‘Mirasis’ from the Thar desert area in Rajasthan, and happens to be the 26th generation of Sufi musicians who are successfully keeping the ‘Sufiana Qalam’ alive.
The singer, who recently performed during the Pondicherry chapter of ‘Beyond Serendipity’, an initiative by Serendipity Arts, maybe teaching many foreigners who come to stay with him, and over video calls, says he is worried whether many in his tribe will take up the tradition and continue singing.
“I do not have to elaborate about the struggle associated with keeping a tradition alive. It would not be fair to blame the youngsters if they seek to take up more stable employment opportunities. But yes, there are still some people from my tribe who want to take forward what our forefathers were committed to.”
Stressing that in order to ascertain that the traditional arts do not vanish, it is paramount that the state comes forward to help, Ali laments that despite repeated pleas to successive state and Central governments no concrete steps have been taken by them.
“In fact, it is the private sector that is realising its responsibility towards the arts and is proactively helping us. Not just platforms, many organisations are providing scholarships and grants too. I have performed at the Serendipity Arts Festival multiple times in front of different audiences,” he adds.
Currently busy holding workshops with children across the country in different schools, the singer says that it is always interesting to work with children.
“I am a strong advocate of introducing children to our music and other arts. Schools can play a very important role in that. Children ensure a very different energy, they can sometimes ask the most complex of questions and challenge you in unpredictable ways.”
Ali, who was awarded the GiMA Award for Best Music Debut for the song ‘Fanny Re’ in the movie ‘Finding Fanny’ may have sung in multiple films but decided to leave Mumbai and come back to his village.
Remembering that it was tough for him to be far from his traditional singing, he adds, “Of course, I still do projects if they work for me. However, I know the space that owns me and cannot be far away from it for long,” he concludes.