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The Mirs of Rajasthan are reviving the lore of Sufi Kalam

Folk music gems like Kinna sona tenu rab ne banaya to Rajasthan’s most popular folk number, Kesariya balam padharo mhare desh have been on the playlists of fans for eons. From the late Nusret Fateh Ali Khan to Coke Studio, musicians and music aficionados remember these earthy tunes for their originality. These tunes and many such unforgettable songs will be rendered live on stage in Bengaluru at the Farida, Thuriya Thuriya Jaa performance by the Mirs of Rajasthan.

Meeting them in Cubbon Park was an experience in itself. They had scattered their instruments — a tabla, two harmoniums and a tambourine — on the lawns. “Our instruments too need sunlight, just like everything else in nature. These are made of leather and without sunlight the leather stiffens,” explains the 65-year-old Nazru Khan, the oldest member.

Though they express happiness at being able to travel across India presenting their art, it hasn’t been an easy journey. “There was a time when most of us had quit singing and were doing odd jobs at petrol pumps, a few of us took up farming and others became lorry drivers,” says 43-year-old Abdul Jabbar Basu Khan, the leader of the group. But since they received the India Foundation for the Arts grant in 2015, they have been travelling all across India, singing and touching hearts with their music.

Talking about the upcoming show in Bengaluru, Basu Khan says, “We will be presenting different songs in Saraiki (a dialect of West Punjab which has a strong affinity with Sindhi and Punjabi). We will sing kalams (verses) by Baba Sheikh Farid, Bulleh Shah, Hazrat Shah Hussain, Khwaja Ghulam Farid and vanis (songs) of Kabir and Mira Bai.”

Entry Free. On January 23. At Freedom Park. Details: 23414681

— Ayesha Tabassum

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