World music legend headlines spiritual concert tonight at Festival 2018

“…wildly original, passionate and dangerous. ★★★★★

– THE GUARDIAN, UK on Susheela Raman

“This is music that is full of vitality, intensity and sheer beauty; it communicates love and draws people into a kind of direct spiritual experience.

“We invite people to come along and enjoy the folk and spiritual trance music. These are the styles – like that of the Sufi Qawwals of the Punjab and the Mystic Baul singers of Bengal – that have captured the hearts of people across the world,” Ms Raman said.

Born in the UK to Tamil parents Susheela is a renowned singer and composer who draws on devotional songs from ancient Tamil culture. Featured artists also include Kalpana Patowary (Assam/India), Shafi Mondol (Bangladesh), Saman Lenin (Sri Lanka), Rizwan Muazzam Qawwals (Pakistan), Embar Kannan (India) and Vanessa Tomlinson (Australia).

In 2006 Susheela was nominated for the BBC World Music Awards.

“The third act of Festival 2018 Gold Coast is called Aspire, and Ecstatic shows what can happen when we unite through our diversity.

“What these musicians have in common is their passion for devotional music,” Mr Lifschitz said.

Birmingham Rapper Lady Sanity will also feature on the night, a film screening of ‘Sacred’ and a final performance by crowd favourites Mallakhambindia.

For full program details and more information on Festival 2018 visit

Images are available for download on Mediahub. Media can register for free and follow the folder links to Festival 2018.

Shot by more than 40 filmmaking teams around the world, the film immerses the viewer in the daily use of faith and spiritual practice. At a time when religious hatreds dominate the world’s headlines, this film explores faith as primary human experience, and how people turn to ritual and prayer to navigate the milestones and crises of private life.

Kalpana Patowary (Assamese) is an Indian playback and folk singer from Assam. She is a disciple of Ustad Gulam Mustafa Khan and has been influenced by the bard of Brahmaputra Bhupen Hazarika. She participated in the reality show Junoon – Kuchh Kar Dikhaane Ka (2008) on NDTV Imagine. Although she has many folk and popular songs to her credit, Bhojpuri music has been her most dedicated foray.

Saman Lenin (Sinhala) is a Sri Lankan vocalist, musician, and ethno-musicologist. He is considered by many to be one of the most talented folk artists in Sri Lanka as an exponent of Sri Lankan folk music and incorporates traditional folk tunes into his music.

The two brothers who lead and lend their name to the group, Rizwan Mujahid – Ali Khan and Muazzam Mujahid Ali Khan, come from a direct line of qawwali singers that can trace its family pedigree back over five centuries. Despite their extreme youth, they were determined that their group Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali should continue their uncle, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s pioneering efforts to transcend cultural, language and religious barrier; and to bring to the world the devotional but vibrant Qawwali vocal music of the Sufi mystics of the Islam religion.

Embar S. Kannan is an award-winning and pioneering violinist in the fields of Carnatic Music and Tamil Film Music. Trained in Carnatic as well as Western Classical methods, he is a Grade ‘A top’ artist of the All India Radio and is universally acclaimed as a soloist and an accompanist.

Acknowledged by Presto Classical as being a “percussion wizard”, Pirashanna Thevarajah is recognised by the world music and Indian classical community as being an extremely versatile percussionist, with great command over instruments such as Mridangam, Kanjira, Ghatam and Morsing, as well as being equally versed with the art of Konnakol (Indian spoken rhythm).

Bronwyn Bender: +61 481 907 056
Arts and Culture Communications and PR Specialist
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC)

Cassie Grace: +61 466 023 291
Arts and Culture Marketing and Communications Lead
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC)

/Public Release.