Australia's popular Sufi singer Farhan Shah and his ensemble Udan Khatola have recently been awarded Adelaide UNESCO City of Music Award for Best International Collaboration.
The ensemble received the award for their Sufi song “Maula Ya Ali” which is a plea to the Universal Master to help during difficult times.
"This goes to show Australia has true regard and appreciation of such music," Farhan Shah said.
- Farhan Shah and his ensemble Udan Khatola awarded the prestigious Adelaide UNESCO City of Music Award
- 'There is an appreciation and desire to understand ethnic genres of music in Australia,' says Farhan.
- Farhan and his band internationally known for their Thumri, "Saawan".
Talking about his feelings on receiving the award, Farhan Shah says, “For me to be nominated was a great thrill in itself and when I actually received the award I was overwhelmed.”
“I have been in Australia for the last four years and when I received the award my journey of the past four years rewound itself through my mind. I was more than convinced that Australia and its people appreciate and want to understand Sufi music, and there’s a place over here for our music and for us as well.”
Often referred to as the South Asian Pavarotti, Farhan says he feels humbled by the reference and is nowhere close to the great maestro.
He says, “I was given that appellation by a local paper after I won an award at the Adelaide fringe festival.”
Besides the Sufi "Maula Ya Ali", Farhan Shah’s Thumri composition “Saavan” has also won him and his band a lot of accolades.
This is a collaboration with Ustad Islamuddin Meer sahib.
To the Thumri they have added and blended their own style.
“Saavan” includes the traditional musical instruments like the sitar, and tabla but has blended in the violin which has been used to imitate a mixture of a sarangi and violin. The composition also includes the base guitar, electronic guitar and drums.
This is an international collaboration with Nureen Sumar, who provided a choral arrangement from Canada, and classical dancer Shereen Ladha from Toronto who collaborated for the project.
Farhan is currently working on various collaborations after he received a Government of Australia grant for music development for an audio project.
“Upcoming is 'Tajalli Lounge', a collaboration with a Qawwali group, and Maqam Station.”
“This album includes a fun song about truck drivers, who are essential workers and have suffered neglect during the pandemic,” Shah says.