I do research on Sindhi-language Sufi (Islamic mystical) poetry performance (song and recitation) in Kachchh, Gujarat (western India), a region on the border with Pakistan and on the coast of the Arabian Sea. I'm a PhD student in ethnomusicology, and have spent the past two summers (2014 and 2015) in Kachchh, and will return for about a year in late 2016. I've spent a lot of time in India since 2005, studying languages and music. In my current research, I'm particularly interested in how poetry performance (especially poetry by Shāh Abdul Latīf Bhiṭāī [1689-1752 CE]) has served as a means for the transmission of ethical and spiritual teachings in Muslim communities in Kachchh. In other words, I want to study how poetry performance has served, and continues to serve, as a potent pedagogical tool for conveying teachings about how to become, and remain, a moral human being.
People often ask how it is that I came to be interested in South Asia. I usually give the slightly tongue-in-cheek but truthful answer "The Beatles." And what about such a specific research topic? In this case, I'll just give the simple answer that I found Sindhi songs extremely compelling since I first heard an album of songs by the incredible Pakistani singer Abida Parveen in 2004—but it took me about a decade to know what it was that I was listening to. Below are some videos I've made over the past two summers of my musician friends in Kachchh who perform Sindhi poetry. See what you think for yourself, and feel free to drop me a line if you'd like to know more: brianbondmusic AT gmail DOT com.