Songs of the Sufi: The Untold Story of Classical Qawwali

Katherine Butler Schofield (Producer), Kamran Anwar (Producer), Shahrukh Waheed (Other)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


In an unbroken chain spanning over 800 years, a form of music has inspired, entranced & enlightened people. Songs of the Sufi takes viewers on a musical and artistic journey that catalogues traditional “Qawwali”, the mystical music tradition of the Indian Subcontinent associated with 13th-century Sufi seminaries, which is enjoyed globally today.

The story is told from the lens of two families—A Qawwali lover who grew up with Qawwali around him, his mother a Sufi disciple who reminisces about her listening experiences as a teenager in India; and Qawwali singers who have been paying homage to this genre for 25 generations. Live performances of various Qawwalis, the use of secret syllables and odes written in the 13th century blend with modern Qawwalis to create a meditative visual and listening experience. Dr. Katherine Schofield, a renowned musicologist shares her scholarly insights. The film explores the history, culture, etiquette, and the universal message of love that Qawwali embodies.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2023


  • Sufism
  • Music
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Qawwali


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