Label: ARC MUSIC
Format: COMPACT DISC
Baldi, Paolo; Khan, Rais; Khan, Shafqat Ali; McKeehan, Douglas; Gale, Dick; Brussell, Ben; Eakle, Matt; Michos, Richard; Brooks, George
Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam. The Sufi strives for a direct connection with God. The rapture of music and dance is frequently used to create a transcendental experience in which the ego falls away, allowing direct experience of the divine. There is a saying: ‘If a man claims to be a Sufi, he is not, and any true Sufi will never claim to be one’. To call a music ‘Sufi’ is to thereby bring into question its authenticity. If we claim this is Sufi music, it therefore must not be. What we can say, though, is that Shafqat Ali Khan’s music is thoroughly rooted in the Sufi tradition. Many of the songs are ghazals, a poetic musical form in which the singer, taking the woman’s perspective, longs for the return of her lover. This longing, expressed in a romantic form, is understood to be a metaphor for the soul’s longing to be connected with the divine. The spiritual expression of Sufi music is robust and intensely emotional. This is no quiet background music for meditation, but deeply passionate music that wrestles with strong emotions, from melancholy and despair to rapturous ecstasy. By directly going into the emotion, in a way somewhat akin to how an American blues or gospel singer might, we find transcendence. The music takes us on a journey, and we emerge somehow changed.