2 November 2008, New Delhi – the Kamani Auditorium came alive to the mesmerizing music of Zila Khan and our very own Sounds of Isha.
The fundraiser event, attended by a large number of Delhi’s music and Isha enthusiasts, filled the hall to capacity. From the moment Rini Simon, Master of Ceremonies for the evening, came onstage to welcome everyone till the last applause had faded away, everyone sat amidst what could only be a collective, joyous energy. Smiling faces all around, not a fidget or a cough, not even a cell-phone beep interrupted the spell…
Sadhguru wasn’t at Kamani, but yes, his presence was very much there. Zila sang like she does for Sadhguru – with all her heart and soul. In her welcome address, after introducing Isha Foundation, its work and offerings, and of course Sadhguru, Rina welcomed Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India as Chief Guest, and Congress Politician Mrs. Rama Pilot as Guest of Honor.
A brief verbal introduction about the musical journey of the band, and the sweet sound of the flute transported listeners to another plane imbued with a musical creativity which despite the nature of the art, aspires to ‘an element of internal silence’. The group started in a gently devout mood, carried through with the song, Ahista Ahista badta hai har saans tumari dasha… The drums, percussion, guitar, and harmonium – all came alive in the quintessential and upbeat sound of the Sounds of Isha in the next number which fused western, middle-eastern and Indian strains. We wanted more.
A short and uplifting film on Isha and activities on Action for Rural Rejuvenation was screened, followed by information shared with the audience about the upcoming public talk by Sadhguru and the Inner Engineering program.
Zila Khan, the pièce de résistance of the evening, was next, resplendent in wine red and white, a woman who at first glance belies the wonderful power within her, a power which leaves listeners (and indeed, viewers) “no choice but to stop and listen.” Hailing from a line of legendary musicians and yet, independent of their legacy and that of her father, Ustad Vilayat Khan Sahib, Zila has experimented with Sufi, fusion, classical, Arabic, Persian and other styles and forms of music. She doesn’t define her music or herself, choosing instead to invite her audience to “a musical journey with me.” “See me through your ears,” is what she says, and yes, you end up seeing the many kaleidoscopic facets through your ears.
Dr. Sama invited Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Zila Khan to launch the new book Joy 24 x 7 by Sadhguru and Isha meditator Jeetendra Jain.
Once Zila’s talented musicians had been introduced, she launched forth with the first piece – Mera sar aur tera astha hai. This was followed by the carefree Marta hai koi aap pe, mar jaane deejiye, punctuated by comments revealing Zila’s pure and child-like love for Sadhguru and the beauty she sees in him. Every Isha meditator and anyone who has interacted with Sadhguru could relate immediately. A kalaam of Shaikh Saalim came next – Jab tak biki na thi, to koi poochta na tha / sarkar ne khareed ke anmol kar diya.
The audience was hypnotized. And Zila was in form. All it needed was a message from Sadhguru to Zila which arrived right then and was read out by Rini onstage. Sadhguru recognized the talent and amazing power of Zila’s music which could reach out to embrace and enlighten people, and sent her his blessings. There were tears in many eyes and certainly those of joy in Zila’s, who needed a break for a few moments to collect herself. What followed was a spontaneous breaking out into a vibrating rendition of the Guru Pooja, with the musicians of Sounds of Isha accompanying Zila and her team on their instruments. She sprang up and walked around to each one of them as she sang and threw herself whole-heartedly into the music and the words. The evening closed with a gentle, revealing piece – Sar a pav soz hai ay dil, sar a pav noor ho jaayen. Words are not enough to describe Zila or her music – one has to experience both.
Dr. Sama wrapped up this magical evening with gifts and flowers for the artists and a vote of thanks to all the sponsors, partners and associates, and of course to Sounds of Isha and Zila Khan who sang from the depth of her heart and soul and made the concert a spectacular success for Isha.
All funds raised in this concert through corporate and individual donations go towards the outreach projects of Isha Foundation.