Music by this duo is nothing more than just a mediator between the almighty and our world.
Safeer is a duo of independent music comprising of two indigenous musicians (and travelers) from Shantiniketan (West Bengal). Presenting their respective artistry through their art forms, Murshid provides vocals and poetry while Neel Sarkar tugs at heartstrings, literally. Persian Sitar, Dotara or even a Guitar beautifully captures the magic of Safeer.
Together, they represent the ethnic writings of famous ancient poets with their own musical trajectories.
In ancient urdu, Safeer means the” ambassador” and about the meaning behind this name, Murshid states, “the whole idea is to create a bridge between him (God) and the audience and this is purely ethnic and spiritual music where we are singing the kalaams of poetry by great poets like Amir Khusrow , Bulleh Shah and we are also recording a few traditional folk songs.”
Murshid was just 7 years old when he left his home to learn with his “ustad”. It has been 17 years now and according to him, music is all he knows. Murshid continues, “there was no particular point of time where I realized I wanted to do music, it has happened very organically for both of us.”
Neel has been an Indian classical guitarist, learning intricately delicate things about it. His prowess can be marveled at by his ability to play Dotara and the Persian Sitar so well. From Sufi ‘kalaams’ to traditional ‘kajri’ from Uttar Pradesh, anything that they like or anything that is subtle authentic music is their genre.
As a part of his band called “The Murshidabadi Project”, Murshid has won some music competitions, including one organized by the NCPA. He used to create music for the theatre too. Having worked at Prithvi theatre and performed with Indian Ocean are just other achievements under Murshid’s belt. Neel has been playing at all the major jazz festivals across the country, so yeah; they have been kinda busy with their own work and art.
With The Murshidabadi Project, Murshid and his band have performed at many gigs at Tuning Fork, blueFROG and BalconyTV, but he wanted to experiment with the soundscape and the music which resulted in “Safeer”. Their inspirations include “everyone and no one in particular”. To ignite a spark in budding artists, their biggest advice encompasses music and travel mixed into each other.
Murshid says, ” I would like to tell the upcoming musicians that travelling is fun, it has its own effect on your music. When you meet people and listen to people’s stories is what you will see, reshapes your soundscape. I remember when I was in Dubai for a year, I heard a few local musicians would be playing nearby and I went up to them, talked to them and learnt to play their songs with them. It was a very informative experience.”
Bengali culture has had a big influence on this duo. As elaborated by Murshid, “You will see some instrument lying in the house even if there are no professional musicians. So, Kolkata’s vibe and my Dad’s support had a great influence on me.”