Sufi music in Bollywood

Bollywood has one of the most productive film industries in the world, with more than 1000 productions per year, surpassing the American cinema. It had its origins a little more than a century ago in India, more specifically in former Bombay (Known today as Mumbai).

The rhythms, colors, and exoticism of Bollywood productions have made their way into the Western culture and served as samples to be adapted into different musical forms, ranging from pop, rap, and hip-hop, some of the most famous artists who have been attracted to these rhythms are Britney Spears, Black Eyed Peas, Jay-Z and others.

Although the culture of Bollywood enjoys greater preponderance at an international level, it has allowed itself to feed also on the cultural exchange not only with the West but also with the oriental world.

Let’s talk a little about Sufism:

Sufism is an ancient healing practice used in Islam; this practice uses music as a primary element along with dance accompanied by hymns and recitations. The great Sufi masters resort to this practice since they consider it as a way of healing psychic illnesses, through this manifestation the patients manage to empty themselves from the states of restlessness or agitation reducing the pressure of different unconscious emotions helping them to recover calm and alleviate the symptoms that these negative unconscious emotions generate, this would be something similar to what we know in the West as music or dance therapy.

The purpose of the Sufi musical technique is to synchronize the vibration frequencies of people, to harmonize and unify the body with emotion, mind, and soul, pursuing a connection with the spiritual. Its musical construction bases on makams, which offer several benefits in different parts of the body and mind.

The Sufi culture achieves a space within the Bollywood music by lending distinctive poetic and melodic elements that offer a mixture that results in a delightful purity and mysticism that marks a differentiation from the rest of the Hindi music. The films used Sufism for a decade known before as “qawwali” which was one of the preferred forms by the public.

Different musical forms have also been affected by Sufism as a result of the popularity that it has gained over time, not only with the traditional Bollywood forms (qawwali as mentioned above, majazi, haqiqi, etc.) but it has also become mixed with pop, rock music, and more modern forms like trance and EDM.

Without a doubt, Sufi music from Bollywood has a different effect full of romanticism and spirituality that makes it quite distinctive and is perceived almost immediately upon being listened to.

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