Kochi: Ghazals are often associated with pangs of human souls. They tell the tales of love unconditional and pain unhealed. Nevertheless, the genre played the role of a healer for a number of patients at the General hospital here as its leading Kerala exponent Umbai performed before them on Wednesday.
The recital held as part of the Kochi Biennale Foundation’s weekly Arts and Medicine programme showcased not just how the celebrated Malayali vocalist has enriched the music form that has Sufi origins in ancient Arabia but also its healing quality yet another time.
“From time immemorial, human beings are aware of the fact that art and music can heal both mind and body. Knowingly or unknowingly, music has become an integral part of every one’s life,” the middle-aged vocalist told a packed audience at the hospital where the Kochi Biennale Foundation organised the show in association with the Mehboob Memorial Orchestra.
Umbai rendered some of the most famous Ghazals immortalized by renowned singers like Jagjit Singh, Ustad Ghulam Ali and Mehdi Hassan in his soothing and mellifluous voice.
Mattancherry-born Umbai, also known for recreating many old film songs in his own style of rendering, also sang some of the famous songs composed by M S Baburaj, including Oru Pushpam Mathramen and Thamsamenthe Varuvan. He also enthralled the listeners by rendering some of the old hits of playback singer and musician Mehboob such as Cheruppathil Nammal and Annoru raavil.
The musical support was provided by some of the noted names in the field including composer Berny, percussionist George Kutty, tablist Jeetu Oommen Thomas and guitarist Sameer, son of Umbai.