I have been listening to Kabir Cafe’s songs since close to 2 years now and i was waiting for a chance to hear them live and feel the magic. I did listen to Indian Ocean and other similar bands earlier but this band struck a special chord with me. I finally got that fantabulous experience here at prestigious Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, London on 1st of September 2018.
The beauty of Kabir Cafe is the conviction with which they perform Kabir Doha’s. You can instantly connect to their purity and integrity. The concert is not only a philosophical treat but it is also a musical ones. They play extremely soulful music which not only engages you for the entire duration they are on stage but it takes you through very enjoyable yet soul searching journey at the same time with their classic songs like Chadariya Jhini re Jhini, Moh ko kaha dhunde re bande, Mat kar maya ko ahankaar, Fakiri, Bhala hua mori maala tuti and many more. My all time favorite is Moh ko kaha dhunde re bande. When i first listened to this song, i didn’t know what was coming in the last line of the third para and by then i was completely into the song and the mood and the full mystic conscience and then came the last line and i was taken aback and tears started rolling without me noticing it. May be this would be too much for many people to take, but honestly this is a true account of what that song did to me. And from then on i just started searching for each and every song, concert of kabir cafe available on the net. I listened to all of them and couldnt stop till date. Now not only our entire family listens to kabir cafe songs, including my 6 year old daughter but we have also introduced this to whosoever is interested in such soulful music with deep connect, be it friends, family, colleagues etc.
This staurday has been really special, as not only did i experience the routine Kabir Cafe songs but couple of new ones and those new ones were absolute bliss to the ears and intellect. The new ones were Tut gaya pinjara udd gayi muniya, Ghat Ghat me panchi bolta hai, Amritwaani, Charkha.
I also got to meet and talk to all the band members personally, namely Neeraj Arya (lead singer), Raman Iyer (Mandolinist), Mukund Ramaswamy (Violinist), Britto KC (Bass Guitarist) and Viren Solanki (Percussionis). And all of them seem to follow what they sing and perform on stage. By this i mean, they are the same onstage and offstage. Though they have been so popular, their feet are still rooted deep in the ground and their heads still without the iota of arrogance and pride. It is very difficult to embark on a such less traveled road and pursue what you really believe in. Though they sing Kabir but i cannot stop myself from quoting Amir Khusro here, whose doha they are literally living today and that goes like this:
Khusrao darya prem ka, Ulti waki dhaar
Jo ubara so doob gaya, Jo dooba so paar
Prem here refers to a metaphor which you can replace it with any passion that you follow, your beliefs etc. The meaning, if i could translate it correctly, is, “the sea of passion (love here) has a strange, peculiar behavior, it will drown the one who lifts its head out but strangely enough, it would save the one who would stay immersed in”
Metaphorically it means, if you flicker your attention from your aim, you might not get it but if you continue to pursue it relentlessly, you would swim across to your desired destination. I think the band members of Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Cafe are literally the living example of this doha from Amir Khusro.
Coming back to Kabir cafe, one more interesting thing about this band is, they would not just sing Kabir Doha’s, which at times are pretty difficult to decrypt and understand, but will also explain the meaning of it in English and Hindi. Especially the explanation which Raman Iyer gives before Bhala hua mori maala tuti and the explanation which Neeraj Arya gives while performing Moh ko kaha dhunde re bande is just thought provoking and exemplary. I really wish Kabir Cafe all the success they deserve and wish they come up with new songs and decode Kabir musically and philosophically to all of us in future. Before i end this post, some photos from the concert:
I would strongly recommend all those reading this blog, if you have ear for music and if you have that special philosophical, mystic liking in the deep corners of your mind then definitely Kabir Cafe is for you and i am sure you wont regret it..!!