Music for Peace, a beautiful musical tribute for the benefit of the Indian armed forces left audiences mesmerized with its soulful sounds and deep reaching message. The Indian Embassy auditorium was packed with an audience that graciously attended not only to enjoy the music but also to support a noble cause. The eclectic crowd comprised of dignitaries such as the Ambassadors of India and Malta alongside a number of high ranking individuals from the business and professional fields in Kuwait.
In a heartfelt address at the beginning of the concert, member of the organizing committee, Ravi Kohli said “We feel proud of our defense personnel, the Army, Navy and the Air Force, who sacrifice their lives to protect us, our property and our peace of mind. They face all the hardships and mostly stay at our borders areas, at times in extreme conditions, just to preserve our country’s sovereignty and protect the citizens. It’s our duty to try and help the families of those who sacrificed their lives in the endeavor to help us.”
Following his address, H E Sunil Jain, the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait also gave a speech during which he appreciated the efforts of the organizing committee including Andrew Thomas, Vijay Kapur, Rajul Batra, Rajpal Tyagi, E.D. Titus, Reaven D’Souza, Shiamak Soonawalla, Shabbir Qamar, Sunil Menon, Avinash Manan, Ashfaque Khan, Minoo Patel and Digant Kapoor.
The artists for the evening – Sonam Kalra & the Sufi Gospel Project kept the audience enthralled with their collection of beautiful songs made up of Sufi poems and gospel music amidst a fusion of international melodies like Jazz and Irish with a smattering of Punjabi and Persian lyrics. Khusrau blended with Amazing Grace as Kabir shared the stage with Abide with Me and Bulleh Shah’s voice was heard within a mix of English and Gaelic texts.
Accompanying vocalist, Ahsan Ali also playing a two hundred year old sarangi, Tarit Pal on the cajone and drums, Manish Sahariya on the keyboard, Brennon Denfer on the guitar and Amaan Ali Khan on the drums were the perfect combination to musically back up Sonam’s beautiful voice and heartwarming interludes.
Formally trained in Indian classical music under Shubha Mudgal and Sarathi Chatterji, Sonam has also studied various genres of Western music including Gospel, Jazz and Opera under Hur Chul Yung and Ashley Clement.
She has been recognized internationally and is a popular choice at prestigious music festivals around the world. Having shared the stage with legendary musicians such as Sir Bob Geldof, and Abida Parveen, Sonam has also performed at the Indo African Summit for the Indian Prime Minister, President of India and 52 heads of African states.
The Sufi Gospel Project, conceived by Sonam Kalra comprises by chance, of a group of mixed faith musicians each excelling in his own arena. Their unique style blends the many voices of faith, through poetry, prayer and music to create one universal voice of faith.
They have performed at renowned platforms such as Tina Brown's Women in the World Summit, the Coke Studio, the World Sufi Peace festival at the Pyramids and at the International Faiz Festival for peace in Pakistan.
At the Music for Peace concert, her rendition of the patriotic Ae Mere Pyaare Watan left the audience in tears. She ended her selection with a powerful presentation of her song Bol based on Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry, urging each and every one of us to speak up to make a difference in this world. A rough translation reads - "Speak, for your lips are free. Speak, for your tongue is still yours, your body is still yours and your life is still yours."
The evening ended with the group singing the Indian National anthem and Nita Bhatkar Chogle, the anchorperson for the evening thanked everyone present for their overwhelming support in making the event a success.