Sufi Music

Sufism is the inner mystical dimension of Islam. Sufi’s believe it is possible to bring oneself close to God in the present life, as well as after death. Music plays a central role in the Sufi tradition and provides a valuable way of getting closer to God. Today whether it is being sung in devotion at a religious shrine, pumping out of a car radio, blasting out of a nightclub sound-system or is being danced to under the stars at a music festival, the Sufi sound is alive and kicking across the globe.

The renowned Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was, until his death, unarguably the most famous Sufi singer in the world. His unfathomable on-stage energy and intensely dexterous vocals brought qawwali music to the world stage. On this Rough Guide the ‘Elvis of the East’ is remixed and reinvented by London-based dub and electronica producer Gaudi. Also hailing from Pakistan, Sain Zahoor is a holy minstrel who rose to fame via word-of-mouth recommendations that eventually led to his performance at a festival of Sufi music in London. Two tracks featured on this album are the product of the popular Coke Studios project in Pakistan. The TV series features live performances and aims to inspire fusions of traditional and contemporary Pakistani music. The track ‘Manzil-e-Sufi’ by Sindhi devotional singer Sanam Marvi is taken from the Coke Studios album. As is the hugely popular Punjabi folk and rock inspired track, ‘Alif Allah Chambey Di Booty’, by Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi.

The engimatic dread-locked singer Cheikh Lo, is a member of the Baye Fall, a Sufi Mouride sect. Cheikh Lo is based in Senegal and his music is infused with Sufi sensibilities and infectious reggae vibes. Also from Senegal Mdou Gaye is a Sufi Jazz singer and player of the hang, a metallic percussion instrument physically related to the steelpan. A track by the London-based collective, Transglobal Underground features their work with singer Natacha Atlas and the Rajasthan gypsy group, Musafir.

The bonus CD presents The Rough Guide To Sufi Fakirs of Bengal. The music on this album has not been released outside of India until now.