The Grace of God that Gifted him Music – Girish SadhwaniAnisha Nandan
Indian Sufi singer Girish Sadhwani is a well-known musician who was raised in Mumbai. He is a disciple of Sufi Saint Hazrat Sufi Jalaluddin Basafa Aasvi. His captivating voice infuses the space with a delightful air that transforms the audience’s experience into a fantastic one. Girish is proficient at creating a spiritual connection with his listeners. His contribution to the spread of Sufi music is notable and admirable. As a musician and artist, Girish Sadhwani shares his thoughts and experiences with Swar Aalap Digital:
How did you get into singing and eventually become a Sufi singer?
I prefer to think of music as a gift that God has given me. Everyone in my family, be it maternal or paternal has had a lot of musical skills, but nobody chose it as a profession. I began expressing my interest in music when I was approximately seven years old, and eventually, I began learning it.
My father had a deep love for music he learned music in the forms of Vocals, Violin, tabla, and harmonium. He would bring out his musical instruments and play at home whenever he had the chance to do so. He particularly liked the raag “Shivranjini” and would often sing or play songs based on the same, one of them being ‘Jaane kahaan gaye wo Din’ from the movie ‘Mera naam Joker’.
One day, I & my father were the only people at home with me in one room and he was at his work desk in the other room when he suddenly heard someone play ‘Jaane kahaan gaye wo din’ on harmonium. He rushed to the room only to find that his seven-year-old child who had no musical training, played the melody. Thus, everything began from this point.
Besides being a vocalist, you also play the Harmonium, Violin, Tabla, Guitar, Keyboard, and various other instruments. What drew you to learn and master so many instruments?
I believe, God infused music in me before sending me to earth and that’s the reason I picked up multiple musical instruments in no time. While growing up with music, I felt that I should prioritize vocal music. Further, I realized that the ultimate calling of my soul is the Sufi genre.
Apart from Sufi kalams, which you enjoy singing in a variety of languages, are there any other forms of music that you enjoy while performing?
Oh yes and at the top of the list is ICM – Indian Classical Music. I have been fortunate enough to have trained under Late Pt. Askaran Sharma for twelve blessed years of my life. It was Guruji who along with ICM trained me to gain mastery over other genres and sub-genres of Indian music including Thumri & Ghazal.
You have performed all around the world, while doing so which was your best experience, and why?
Experiences vary from time to time and place to place and fortunately, each experience has its own flavor of enjoyment. But, amid all of them, an evening has been the most special to me and its effect endures. If I were to describe this in terms of Sufism, I began seeing my spiritual guru while singing. It seemed as if he was standing right in front of me. This incident occurred in April 2021, when the second phase of the lockdown was about to happen, and I was singing in Bangalore. This was a really emotional and incredible experience for me.
What does Sufi music mean to you? Why do you think it’s so crucial to you?
It is a long-held belief in our part of the world that “music helps you connect with God and brings you closer to the Almighty”. Every genre & sub-genre of Indian Music has some or the other and at times all the elements of the Navarasas which also are part of our own Indian culture.
One doesn’t need to travel anywhere physically to experience the same. One can obtain all the navarasa you need in one location. Sufi Poetry & Music help you in experiencing the same Nav-Rasas which eventually helps you realize that your “true love is God”. In the Sanatan Sanskriti, it is believed that despite living in the materialistic world one shouldn’t get attached to it. One’s focus should be on the final goal which is attaining Moksha and that’s exactly what Sufism talks about.
What is the biggest achievement for you?
When I was on a Bangalore tour, RJ Niki from Fever 104 FM requested me to sing two lines of Kalam during an interview. She expressed on Air, how emotional she has become listening to my singing. Most often, this occurs at concerts. One person from the audience approached me and said, “Yesterday, after hearing your kalam, I became very emotional, and now I’m waiting again for you to sing so that I may relive those emotions”. These are their blessings, and for me, it is my greatest achievement.