“The relationship of Sufi music to the more popular Qawwali is almost similar to that of traditional Gospel music to traditional R&B music as pioneered by Ray Charles.” These liner notes from the album give a little background as to the importance of Sufi music in Bollywood.
Defined as “the inner, mystical dimension of Islam,” Sufism is a sect of Islam with an important and prolific history across many centuries and continents. But what this lengthy double-disc album is looking to highlight (in almost three full hours of music) is the importance and prolificity of Sufi music over the last 50 years of Bollywood music.
The first album covers the ’50s through the ’70s, starting with the well-known 1958 “Humen To Loot Liya” from the less well-known film Al-hilal. and seeing listeners through the 1979 track “Ashiq Ho To Aisa Ho” with a vast array of music in between, including a stop-off for the ever-popular Lata Mangeshkar (from the 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam).
The second album picks up where the first leaves off, continuing through the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, wrapping up with the poppy, pensive “Moula Mere Moula” from the 2007 film Anwar. The slow transition from bouncy ’50s Bollywood to the anthemic “Moula Mere Moula” is a pretty incredible one, especially for those who may not be familiar with Sufi music to begin with. For those who are, this compilation presents a compressed history of an important subset of music in the Bollywood world.
Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: A musical history lesson
Stay Away if: You have no interest in Bollywood, much less a Bollywood subset
To purchase Sufis at the Cinema, visit Amazon