World Sacred Spirit Festival


Madan Gopal Singh - Chaaryaar
Spirit Songs and Tales

The group Chaar Yaar came into existence about twelve years ago. As the name suggests, it comprises four musicians – namely, the elderly composer, vocalist and poet Madan Gopal Singh; the ace guitarist and banjo player Deepak Castelino; the young and soulful sarod player Pritam Ghosal and an equally young and energetic multiple persussionist Amjad Khan.

Initially, the group traversed the path of Sufi texts dating back to the 12-13th century beginning with Baba

Farid and Rumi and ending with Khwaja GhulamFarid of the late 19th c. Very soon, however, the group started looking at the cultural bridges across continents. This involved experimenting with songs and poetry spread across various cultures globally and across different timelines. It led to the incorporation of music and poetry as diverse as that of Brecht, Lorca, Tagore, Puran Singh, Hikmet, Hamzatov, Faiz, Nagarjun on the one hand and the making of musical bridges, to give but one example, between Rumi, John Lennon, Kabir and Bulle Shah in the same song. This also saw the group musically following original translations by MadanGopal Singh. An indigenous Baramaah in Punjabi, for example, could now be sung with Simon and Garfunkel’s canticle “Scarborough Fair’ or John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ as ‘Socho Zara’ or Beatles ‘Because’ with Iqbal’s ‘Ye Gumbad-e-Minai’. The project has since continued to grow and the group has travelled all over the world several times over performing with many internationally celebrated groups such as All Star Bang on a Can of New York; the neo-Jazz vocalist Theo Bleckmann; David Hykes’ Harmonic Choir and many more.

In 2016, Chaar Yaar was invited to perform for former President of India Honorable Dr. Pranab Mukherjee at the impressive Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi. In 2017. Chaar Yaar completed their second tour of select American, Canadian and British Universities in a series of concerts on love, separation and peace. In addition, Chaar Yaar also performed at the “Transform” World Music Festival held in Trondheim, Norway.

Madan Gopal Singh:-
Madan Gopal Singh taught literature in an evening college affiliated to the University of Delhi for over 40 years. He has written and lectured extensively on cinema, art and cultural history. Somewhere along his association with friends from the fields of cinema, theatre, writing and fine arts, he found himself graduating from a reluctant amateur singer to a professional one. He has continued to remain seriously engaged with cinema - writing scripts (Rasayatra, Name of a River), dialogues (Name of a River, Qissa) and lyrics (Idiot, Name of a River, Qissa) and occasionally singing (Khayalgatha, Kasba, Idiot, Paradise on the River of Hell) and composing music (Paradise on the River of Hell, KhamoshPani)for largely art-house cinema. He is also a prolific translator of poetry besides being a poet himself. Madan Gopal Singh has actively participate in international music residencies in numerous countries and lectured extensively on Sufi music.

Deepak Castelino (Guitar, banjo):-
Deepak is an accomplished guitarist and banjo player who has been performing on stage for over thirty-five years. Essentially trained in the western tradition, Deepak has composed and recorded original music for English and Hindi films (“Electric Moon,” “In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones,””Khamosh Paani,””Milk and Opium,” and ”I Am Kalaam”), theatre and television commercials. Deepak has participated in international music residencies and performed on stage for over 23 years with renowned Sufi music exponent and academician Dr. Madan Gopal Singh in Pakistan (2001 and 2006), Switzerland (2004), Italy (2005), Germany (2006), Belgium (2006), Nepal (2010 and 2013), United Kingdom (2011,2016 and 2017), Australia (2011), Turkey (2014), Canada (2014 and 2017) and the United States (2014 and 2017).

Pritam Ghosal (Sarod):-
Pritam is one of India’s finest classical sarod players who has regaled his audiences extensively in India and abroad. A student of Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan, Pritam’s mastery of the instrument and high level of maturity in his craft has elicited effusive praise. Pritam has performed with Dr. Madan Gopal Singh extensively and is actively involved with several other performing artists’ ensembles too. Pritam has participated in international music residencies and performed on stage with renowned Sufi scholar and singer Dr. Madan Gopal Singh in Switzerland (2004), Italy (2005), Germany (2006), Belgium (2006), Denmark (2009), Nepal (2010 and 2013), United Kingdom (2011, 2016 and 2017), Australia (2011)m, Turkey (2014), Canada (2014), Turkey (2014), Canada (2014 and 2017) and the United States (2014 and 2017). In the recent past he has played for "Coke Studio" Mumbai. Pritam is a sarod player, full of energy and a modern approach towards his music. In addition, Pritam Ghosal has performed extensively in Cape Town,South Africa.

Amjad Khan (Percussion):-
Amjad Khan is a mature and extremely professional percussionist who is at ease with all types of rhythm playing. He has accompanied leading popular Indian classical and fusion music artists in a variety of genres and due to his amazing skill, dexterity, and temperament is always a big draw at performances Amjad has performed on stage with renowned Sufi scholar and singer Dr. Madan Gopal Singh extensively and is also a percussion trainer, who is in constant demand with a variety of educational institutions. An asset to any musical group, Amjad’s solid rhythmic backing and precise playing drives the music forward in a most befitting manner. He also performs regularly with sitar maestro Ustaad Shujjat Khan and has travelled extensively with him in India and abroad.