Sufi artistes Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad made their debut in Coke Studio’s season 4 with ‘Kangna’, which eventually found its way to The Reluctant Fundamentalist’s soundtrack. Ever since then, the duo’s fan following in the country has grown considerably and their on-and-off appearances on Coke Studio’s following seasons have remained a highlight.
The duo is now all set to cross borders and perform at India’s first international qawwali festival, Taali Ho, to be held in February 2016. And while the singers are among the few who are taking forward the legacy of classical qawwali in Pakistan, they feel that their style of singing is essentially Indian. “There are two styles of qawwali prevalent in Pakistan — Hindustani and Punjabi made popular by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I must say that our style is unmistakably Indian,” Mohammed told The Hindu in an interview. “We have been given so much love by people in Pakistan but we haven’t changed our style. We have stayed rooted to the original.”
Believing firmly in the classical style of qawwali, it comes as no surprise that the duo is concerned whether competing groups will do justice to the genre for Indian cinema has had a major influence in diluting the musical form. “Since we are sticklers for tradition, I am a little concerned about what other groups are going to sing and how,” Mohammed added. “The organizers will have to be strict on that because this international qawwali festival is a unique platform and can prove to be immensely helpful if shaped the right way.”
The Taali Ho festival will take place between Feb 12 and 14 in New Delhi and, apart from Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammed, will showcase Nizami brothers of Delhi, Warsi brothers of Hyderabad, Hamza Akram and Taimoor Akram from Pakistan, Tahir Hussain Faridi Qawwal from USA and Ahmed Sham Sufi Qawwal from Afganistan