Sufi Rock..Want to Swig at SWIG, Pune

12112016_662017670607978_7717934610508553404_nRemember Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan‘s song Afreen Afreen featuring Lisa Ray..Of Course no teenager in the 1990s can ever forget the legendary singer with one of the most beautiful women to have engrossed the whole nation with her ravishing beauty and dazzling eyes. More about it later..Other prominent Sufi singers have been Abida Parveen, Rabbi Shergill,Harshdeep Kaur, Ghulam Ali to name a few.  

Today I visited Swig, a lounge bar near my place. Swig is an offshoot of Prems and is situated next to Kotak Mahindra Bank opposite Lane no. 3, North Main Road. I got to know about Sufi and Classic rock live music and i had to attend since it had been ages since I had gone to a lounge bar and it was time for a change.

I made a very good decision to go to the place. First a bit of Sufism and Sufi music. Sufism which is the mystical part of Islam that gave a lot of emphasis on devotional songs. Sufism arose from within Islam in the 8th-9th centuries C.E. as an ascetic movement. The movement encouraged devotional songs as a mode of reaching out truth and Sufi saints lead a life of detachment including vows of celibacy. Sufism relied on hymns and poetry which delves into music of devotion and also had its influence on Sikhism which we will discuss at a later date.

Over the years this would take the form of  Qawwali  and ghazals. The music developed in Pakistan especially in the Punjab province which has language very similar to the Punjab region in India.

12140624_662017703941308_604633557591618004_nSwig has both outdoors and indoors space with an indoor bar. I ordered a sprite, reasonably priced at Rs 55 while the place was crowded by mostly youngster listening to Sufi music. Livewire with Vibhas as Vocals & Lead, Troy on Guitars and Albert on Bass were singing Sufi songs backed by fantastic rhythms on guitars. Vibhas has been playing music for the past 10 to 15 years and originally comes from Lucknow. The place was very vibrant with an eclectic mix of people predominantly in their 20s. It was a refreshing change from the regular bollywood or pop music played in India.

The music was riveting especially for people who want to avoid clubs or discotheques and want to hear live music. Pune during my 20s was the hub of rock music in India and traditionally being the educational capital of India along with technology hub next to Bangalore, has a very cosmopolitan crowd including expats.

12112174_662017633941315_8831252554734714088_nThe music was the modern version of Sufi music to suit the palate of modern generation and changed to  classic rock with songs from George Michael and others before ending with an evergreen Sufi song.  12106960_662026837273728_794437560556167489_n

In between the group played an amazing rift to make the transition from Sufi to Hard rock absolutely smooth.  Game board on your right to give a more variety something which reminds me of bars in Shanghai.

Recordings of the music by Livewire.

The music was soulful and well placed with Vibhas at his best. The best part of the group is that they were able to shift from Sufi to Classic rock with effortless ease as a metaphor to an amalgamation of honey and milk.  Both Troy and Albert were brilliant and supported Vibhas all the way. All in all, great music, ambience and fantastic crowd.

The group got a resounding applause from everyone with many people urging the group to play one last song. It reminiscent of my earlier days when we all used to urge the group for one last song. Its always the same, it’s never enough.  Remember Yeh Dil Maange More!!  Pepsi Na..No Sufi Music and Classic rock. 

The music had started at 9.30 pm and got over at 11am and was a very entertaining. Sweet Home Alabama playing, it was time for me to wind up. More about Livewire would be coming up..

To wrap up,  Swig is  a very nice lounge bar especially if you visit it on Tuesday when they have live band. Lounge bars are very popular since they are on the middle path when compared to restaurants on one side and clubs/ discotheques on the other. It is  a place where you can take your girlfriend/wife or chill out with friends.  Its is very nice that Pune now has a very varied genre of music something which was missing during earlier years.  As someone you has been in and out of Pune, I have seen Pune evolve from the days of Black Cadillac, a very popular discotheque during the late 90s to lounge bars across Koregaon Park.

Coming back to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s epic song featuring Lisa Ray. Lisa Ray who was a sex symbol in the 90’s whose spellbinding eyes actually launched another great model Aishwarya Rai in Pepsi ad. (Remember Aamir Khan ad with the stunning Mahima Chaudhary) Maybe that was not the right choice baby..

It’s very sad India lost a great women in Lisa Ray who went on to act in Hollywood movies. More about Lisa Ray later. Let’s watch the video and sleep tight..

One advice from a veteran, please go light on your drinks. You will slowly realise that you will enjoy better without drinks since they serve as a very powerful stimulant and magnify imagination..

But It’s alright alright alright as long as you do not vomit or maybe not..

The best part of my SWIG visit was when an acquaintance whom I had met a few months could not recognize me and in his words ” You looked very fit, I couldn’t recognize you” I think it is great compliment and shows gym and yoga are helping. Thanks Prashant


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