Muscat: Omani singer Nadeem Al Balushi was chosen by the Art of Living organisation to perform at World Culture Festival 2016, which was held on the banks of the Yamuna River in New Delhi, India from March 13 to 15.
The festival marked the 35th anniversary of the organisation, which was started by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Nadeem was first contacted by Kamal Khimji, head of the Art of Living organisation in Oman, about participating in the festival. “Kamal Khimji called me to discuss performing in a show at the Al Falaj Hotel to celebrate 35 years as a representative of Art of Living, and then she offered me the chance to join the big celebration, which she said would happen in India, and said I would be representing Oman in India. I was very excited about the opportunity and agreed. I was also supported by friends Hassan, Jagdip and Dipti in this.”
At the festival, Nadeem sang a song with two other singers from Jordan, who were supported by a chorus, and said that it was an experience of a lifetime.
“I could only see the first row in the audience, after which it was hard to see because there were so many people. It was a very colorful event, with an audience of thousands of people, including Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, himself. From the Middle East and the Arab world there were singers representing Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE and Morocco.”
Participants and audiences from 155 countries were present at the festival, which is said to have been attended by 3.5 million people from around the world, along with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. “The celebration continued for three days, and I performed on the second day. On the first and third days I was in the audience, and it was great to see people from so many different countries at the venue. It rained over the three days, except for when it was time for our show. We were blessed.”
Apart from Nadeem, there were two other Omanis in the chorus.
“I was amazed at the number of people, and when I first held the microphone there I was about to cry because I was so overwhelmed. I think there were about 200 performances from within India, itself.”
Nadeem also said he was delighted when he had the chance to take pictures with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. “After our performance I went back to the stage, and a security guard for Sri Sri asked me if I wanted to join them. I was happy about it, so when I met him we took lots of pictures,” recalled Nadeem.
After launching his album and music videos in India, Nadeem is now working on releasing two more videos this year, he added.