Qawwalis, sufi music win foreigner's hearts in Pushkar

Pushkar (Rajasthan), Feb 16 (IANS) Music knows no boundary, nor language - and going by the performances and response at the ongoing Blue Lotus Music Festival here, it holds true as foreign tourists flocked to the town, and swayed and grooved to the tunes of qawwali and sufi music.

The five-day fest, which began Feb 13, is aimed at promoting all kinds of music - nomad singing to qawwali, sufi to sindhi - and foreigners were seen lapping it up Friday night.

Charlie Cloujimans, 47, is here from Holland, and she is loving every bit of the experience - especially the mix of music and unexpected rains.

"I thought it was wonderful! The rains seemed like a blessing in disguise. The music was wonderful and we could be a part of the interaction between audience and artists," said Cloujimans, who is accompanied by a couple of her friends in this Rajasthan town.

Another foreigner, a youngster named Marck from Polland loved watching sufi singer Bijal Khan perform as much as he was regaled by qawwali artists Gurmej Raja and his group.

"I think it was amazing. I enjoyed tremendously and I was a little envious of the (local) audience because they got to understand the words," Marck told IANS.

The fest presents a melange of music artists from across the length and breadth of the country, with a focus on the dynamic talent.

"The theme is Indian culture and dynamism of Indian culture. We had to show the diversity, and after going through a lot of research it was a tough call to bring just 40 artists from a list of 400 people," Himanshu Dugar, festival organiser, told IANS.

"The general perception of everyone is that if you play folk, then no one would listen. We have people coming from all over the world and those who made efforts to come here and enjoy the folk music. The kind of response we are getting from audience is amazing. These people are extremely passionate," he added.

This is the first edition of the fest in India, and "hopefully it will grow and become an annual affair."

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