Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Bali May 1-5, 2024

Yoga Dance Music Healing

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Rajastani Sufis Brought Hundreds to Their Feet in Celebration

Next comes Samandar Khanand from Rajastan, in full attire of reds and blacks. The crowd is well warmed up, and readies itself for the oncoming show as the group settles on the stage, cross-legged. There is an air of simplicity about, no fan fare, no electric instruments.

They begin with Anurag Verma doing a Kathak dance, originating from Jaipur Gharana.

What appears to be easy natural form in movement belies the hours of practice it must have taken to perfect this faultless dance. Each individual inflection has meaning and tells a part of a story, and the contained elegance of flow has a tension that calls for attention. Anurag’s elegance and power is a beautiful sight.

As we move into their second song I ask my neighbor what he made of it ‘So simple, so authentic! Just to enjoy and be involved’, as he swayed gently in rhythm.

Again the slowness of the beginning lulls the body back into motion, and then with a couple of tight riffs on the tabla, the pace is set anew, and they are off. Within seconds the crowd is awakened, leaps to its feet as if released from a cage, and dances in celebration as the voices wail their secrets – and the percussion setting the challenge of pace, as if only half a step ahead of a pursuer.

One could sense thoughts shake loose to fly away, and trance become familiar, bouncing and skipping on the pulse of Sufi rythms.

And in the aftermath? ‘No one knew what he was gonna do, he hit the drums twice and the whole room erupted!’ she said panting. Spirit again in a different form, yet so formidable.

Written by : Anthony Dunkley


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