Bathed in moonlight and the magic of soulful Sufi music, the Quli Qutub Shahi Tombs will come alive as part of the Times Sufi Nights.
Renowned classical musician Vidya Shah, who will performing tonight, says she couldn't be more excited. "Sufi music has the potential to create a beautiful atmosphere. It is magical and that's why I enjoy performing it very much," says Vidya, who loves coming back to Hyderabad.
"This is my fourth time in the city in three years and I totally love Hyderabad. It's beautiful and so rich — architecturally, musically and foodwise. I've performed at the Qutub Shahi Tombs, Durgam Cheruvu and there's something about this place that just transports you back in time," she says.
Vidya, a trained classical singer, who was born into a family with a rich musical heritage, says that Hyderbadis can look forward to a tirbute to the Sufi greats tonight. "I like to bring in a lot of rhythm and percussion into my performance. I will be singing the works of Baba Bulle Shah and Shah Hussain. I also I plan to croon a Kaafiya which is sung by a lot of Sufi saints in Pakistan."
The musician is thrilled with the new trend of Sufi music reaching out to more people than ever, thanks to popular music projects in Pakistan and India. "I think it is a fantastic thing to have happened. These kind of cross-cultural music projects create an opportunity to synergize cultures and musical genres. And that's exactly what the idea of Sufism is all about. Currently, I'm working on a crossover project with jazz musicians in Europe. We are using saxophones, electronic sounds, tabla and sufi lyrics — it's all so exciting," says the musician, who has trained in Carnatic music and went on to study khayal, thumri, dadra and ghazal gayaki. "I can never stop learning. It's like getting a dose of vitamin everyday. You just keep going," quips Vidya, who has studied under the tutelage of Shubha Mudgal and Shanti Hiranand.
Even when she is playing the part of a social activist, Vidya uses music as a medium of change. "I feel, culture is a very important vehicle of spreading peace, love and it connects people together like nothing else. And what could be more powerful and poignant than singing these messages," says Vidya, who aims to do just that with Times Sufi Nights.
"I think a festival like this reaches out to diverse audiences. It's a lovely way of bringing people together. After all, there is some truth in the cliché — music transcends all boundaries."