Checking out posters while travelling is a great way to find unique one-of-a-kind events wherever you happen to be.
Here is the poster I discovered at Jaipur’s famous Elephant Festival, which was advertising a World Sufi Music Festival a few days later.
I had no idea what Sufi music was but the poster looked interesting, and I took a photo of it to remember the details.
Caroline, one of the other guests staying at the Atithi, told us she loved Sufi music and asked if she could tag along on our musical adventure.
After a magnificent dinner at Mohan’s, Caroline kept raving that the evening had been ‘meant’ to happen.
To prove her point, just outside the restaurant an auto-rickshaw big enough for three happened to be waiting. This was one of the first I’d seen – usually they were a tad cramped even with just the two of us.
And the driver knew where ‘Central Park’ was, another first – a driver who knew where something was and actually took us there! Caroline kept going on, “I knew this evening was meant…”
And then he only wanted 50R for the ride – another first, we didn’t even have to bargain!
Central Park was a grassy expanse lined with large trees spot-lit in coloured lights. It appeared to be plucked out of central London on a balmy summer’s night. I could not believe we were in India. There weren’t even any mosquitos!
A ‘green carpet’ bordered with tea candles, each one set in a circle of pink and yellow flower petals, led to the venue, all set up with chairs and a stage with a heavy-duty film crew standing by.
Like the Elephant Festival it was late to start, as again we were all waiting for the Minister of Tourism to show up. Then, of course, there had to be the usual self-congratulatory speeches, followed by a long story of Sufi in Hindi, and finally at eight (an hour late), the magic began.
In the low light our cameras didn’t function but I have tiny dark videos of the event which at least captures the sound which I love. There was two groups playing Sufi music, Samandar Khan from Rajasthan in India, and Sanam Marvi from Pakistan. I have added a YouTube video of Sanam Marvi, one of the performers that night, done with substantially better filming equipment.
The only photo I have of the event is actually a pieced-together screen grab from my tiny videos, showing the Whirling Dervish Tanmoura Troupe from Egypt – swirling their heavy layered skirts to the hypnotic Sufi Music – the first time I had ever seen this amazing dance. (Combining two screen grabs in Photoshop)More of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: One Image, One Story.