Chhaap Tilak Sab Chheeni is a poem composed by Amir Khusro, a 14th-century Sufi mystic. The mystical charm of this poem has through the ages cast a spell on audiences through its adaptation into Qawwali music.
The most notable performances of Chaap Tilak have been by Pakistan’s Abida Parveen, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Richa Sharma, Kailash Kher and many other Indian artists.
Being fan of Middle Eastern poetry, I am not easily impressed with cover versions that are rehashed – however this is an exception. I have known South African Indian vocalist, Maithili Shome for over a decade and every performance that I have attended was a testament to her dedication to her craft.
Here is a version of Chaap Tilak performed by Maithili at The Sacred Festival in Pushkar last year with her band, Aafrind. This is the future of South African Indian music that we can hopefully expect to be showcased as proudly South African talent, the likes of broadcasters like LotusFM, Hindvani and others need to curate the works of artists like Shome.
Maithili Shome tutored by her mother, Monali Shome has grown from strength to strength and we can expect her career to only have one direction and that is onwards and upwards.