If God exists, how does God look? There may never be an answer to this question, but if one had to guess, God must look like music. And if God looks like music, God’s angels must look like whirling dervishes. If music connects you with the divine, Sufi music lives for the sake of the divine. In praise of the divine, one with the divine, Sufi verses, as if, resurrect a lifeless soul.
Sufi music is the ‘form’ in which ‘the formless’ seems to manifest effortlessly. The singing of a Sufi singer washes over the soul, soothes every wound and makes you whole again. If her voice carries an ode to the divine, her eyes bear a glimpse of the divinity. This singer rouses fervent devotion and passion with her songs because she doesn’t just sing the verses, she feels and lives them.
This true passion of a Sufi singer comes alive in the voice of Harshdeep Kaur, fondly known as ‘Sufi Sultana’. In an exclusive conversation with Soulveda, the vibrant, turban-clad artiste talks about her connection with music, the divine in every note, and the gratitude that fills her heart as she goes about her life armed with the magic of music.
Your interaction with music began at age six. How does such exposure impact an artiste’s journey?
Things that you learn at an early age always stay with you. I started learning Indian classical music when I was six. I’m deeply thankful to my parents who recognised my talent and encouraged me to take formal training in music. My training helped me become what I am today.
You inherited music from your father. How did it influence the parent-child relationship between you two?
My father and I share a very special bond. I’m his little princess. I have always seen him working hard towards making my dreams come true. But at the same time, he has always taught me to lead a normal life. He made sure I completed my education, went to college and enjoyed regular college life like any other girl would have.
Sufi music has been the foundation of your musical journey. How did your initial interaction with Sufi music begin?
My first introduction to Sufi music was through Gurbani. My mom used to recite Shabads to me when I was little. During my teens, I started listening to a lot of music by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Reshma, Abida Parveen, and Wadali Brothers. I immediately fell in love with the mystical quality of the songs they sang.
Sufism is one of the purest connections with the divine. What has this connection done for you as an artiste?
I feel God is everywhere, in every particle, and music is the best way to connect to God. Whenever I sing Sufi kalaams I feel a certain connection with the almighty.
Listening to a lot of spiritual music has also made me calm. You start seeing the positive in every situation. It has also taught me to be grateful for everything.
I have learnt that to be a good artiste you also need to be a good human being. The goodness of the soul reflects in the voice.