Tina Sani's ghazal concert at The Hindu ‘Friday Review' November Fest extracted the true beauty of music

In times when cacophony passes off as music, the muse from Pakistan redefined real music to us. Tina Sani confirmed that music, and more so ghazal in its true form, is capable of creating climatic change within the four walls of a concrete auditorium. The ebb and flow of her voice as she gently swept us across the stream of her repertoire had the rocking effect of a cradle — as soothing as it was subdued with a subtle touch of the spiritual within the being. She aptly titled them as ‘Songs of Hope and Healing'. Not just that, her ghazals redefined the parameters under which they took shape and expression.

It was like dewdrops dripping from the heavens on parched urban souls as one lovely song made way to another till it drenched us in sublime joy. Not hyperbolic in the least! Be it a kaalam or a nazm or a sher or even a Kabir doha, Tina vested each of her pieces with a pull at the heart strings. She showered us with the choicest ghazals, lacing them with lively elucidation to enable one to experience the romanticism inherent in the genre. Raath yunhi dil mey koyi huyi conjured a vast expanse of a starlit open sky that evoked feelings of yearning with Aap ki yaad aati rahi raat bhar and Mujh se pehle mohabbat. Then you move on for companionship in solitude with Koyi baat karo koyi suhaani baat karo. Nostalgia enveloped as Barson ke baad ek shakhs dilruba sa (Ahmed Faraaz) shifted to a Deccani kuch pehele in aakhon aage which folds up with a couplet.

Mellowed mood moved into more placid adoration of creation and the creator. Spring, the gift of nature, bloomed in Bahaar aayi, evoking hope from the dreary winters and autumns of life. Rabba sacchiya, a Punjabi invocation to a saint, set the tone for a heart-rending hamri araz suno. The wonderful optimism rang out in the piece nahi nighahen manzil to justhajoo hi sahi, where negation leads to positivity. The philosophy underlying these lines brings Bahadur Shah Zafar's Umre daraaz maang kar laaye do char din to mind.

Kabir's popular kalaam on jaisi karni vaisi bharni paved the way to the ultimate in Sufi Rumi's masnavi — a highly spiritual piece on man's outer cover (body) being a lute whose life force is derived from the breath of the almighty. The Urdu interpretation Zindagi ki leher useeke dam se hai by Tina was able to catch the soul of the farsi original in more than one sense.

Veteran Abid Hussain on the tabla and Altaf Hussain on the sarangi were a treat to watch. She obliged the audience by rendering a ghazal or two of their choice like the Dashte tanhaayi but when she really called it a day, none of us were willing to say ‘shabba khair!'