When the rhythm tingles your soul and the heart goes pitter patter, the feet thump and the body sways, you know that the magic of music has wrapped you in a soft cocoon. Here are some performances that moved us in 2017.

  1. The Manganiyar troupe under Mehboob Khan in Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Music resonated in the darkest of nights. The stars above and the troupe singing folk and Sufi songs for over three hours, it was an irreplicable experience. The magic just doesn’t happen anywhere else. The ambience, the people and the live singing by this troupe changed the way we saw the stars. (Manganiyars are skilled folk musicians belonging to the Thar desert).
  2. Can anyone in India not know the Wadali brothers from Amritsar, Punjab? Their fame for Sufi and folk music has taken them across the world. But we got to hear the youngest in the lineage, Lakhwinder Singh Wadali, live at Noida’s DLF Mall of India.
  3. Then at Justa Lake Palace, Nahargarh, Rajasthan, during their annual Chitrashala (the art residency programme), the Barmer Boys closed the programme with the liveliest of times. The hall was packed as the boys played their folk instruments and the music simply couldn’t stop anyone from dancing. Their music has taken them across continents.
  4. Music is sacred. It changes the soul’s energy and this happened at the Jaipur ghat around Pushkar Sarovar in Rajasthan. The little town of Pushkar houses the world’s only Brahma temple and every year in December a music festival brings the town alive. Organised by Shree Cement and executed by Teamwork Arts, the third edition of The Sacred Pushkar 2017 was a feast for the heart. Like all other times, this year’s line-up included some eminent names such as Bhanvari Devi, Kavita Seth, Rashmi Agrawal and more.
  5. It sizzled, it seduced and it rocked the auditorium. The performance by the Paso Latino Dance Company from Colombia was something jazzy and snazzy for the Indian audience. Founded by dancers Caterine Estrada Neira and Nicolás Carreño Cruz in 2005, Paso Latino has dedicated itself to enchancing the elegant dance form—Salsa. They have performed across the globe and came to India as part of the Indian Council of Cultural Relation’s programme on Latin America.
  6. Another different rhythm was the concert by Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bartsch. The Zurich-based artiste has a keen interest in philosophy and music and the combination on piano simply took us on another level. The concert was held at the Embassy of Switzerland in Delhi. 
  7. When the body was happy for the classical music simply melted away the city woes. It was a treat to listen to the Varsovia Piano Trio from Poland. Organized by the Polish Institute, New Delhi, the trio performed works by Ludomir Rozycki, Andrez Panufnik, Grzegorz Fitelberg, Karol Szymanowski. For the uninitiated like me, this was a treasure and a pleasure.