Various Artists – The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (Volume 2)

January 01, 1970

(World Music Network)

There is no such thing as Sufi music. That is, Sufi musicians reflect the
styles of their native regions — and, these days, sometimes reach far beyond
them. This two-CD set begins with a plaintive solo on the ney (a sort of flute
that’s been played for nearly five millennia) by a member of Turkey’s Mevlevi Sufis (aka the
“whirling dervishes.”) But subsequent tracks travel beyond the Middle
East and South Asia, adding reggae,
electronica and West African elements. Women’s voices, banned by fundamentalist
mullahs, are heard on several selections.

Sufism is “the most accessible, liberal and pluralistic aspect of
Islam,” notes William Dalrymple, a New-Delhi-based British travel writer
and the compilation’s curator. Although some Sufi sects’ music is meditative,
much of it expresses sheer joy. Indo-Pakistani qawwali — represented here in
part by Sain Zahoor’s spirited “Allah Hoo” and Gaudi’s dubby remix of
a track by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan — features love lyrics that can be
heard as either romantic or spiritual. So it’s not incongruous that Arif Lohar
and Meesha Shafi’s “Alif Allah Chambey Di Booty,” an exuberant
call-and-response number, sounds like something a troupe of male dancers might
sing to a lovestruck young couple in a Bollywood musical.

Other highlights include two songs from Senegal, Cheikh Lo’s keening
“Zikr” and Modou Gaye’s stark but propulsive “Sindidi,”
both of which meld African and Arab traditions. Of the ethno-techno stuff,
which includes relatively unmodernized mashups by Transglobal Underground and
DJ Cheb i Sabbah, the standout is Sanam Marvi’s “Manzil-E-Sufi,”
which slips from devotional chant into Cocteau-Twins-like glossolalia.

The set’s bonus disc, entirely performed by Sufi Fakirs of Bengal, is for
listeners who prefer their world music uncut and stylistically unified. These
nine tunes, none previously released outside India, features multiple voices,
accompanied by dancing drums, flute and dotara (a four-string lute). If the
music is less diverse than on the first CD, but no less intoxicating 

DOWNLOAD: “Alif Allah Chambey
Di Booty,” “Manzil-E-Sufi,” “Allah Hoo” MARK JENKINS

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