Music is one of the greatest things that people have created

Shefali Saxena Saturday 07th May 2022 03:41 EDT

The Canticle of the Sun (translated as Praise of the Creatures) is an Umbrian prayer written by St Francis of Assisi in 1224 celebrating the unity of nature, from the sun to the creatures that live beneath it. Inspired by this ancient text, British-Asian clarinettist, composer and music educator Arun Ghosh reimagines it through spiritual music from across the world. Deploying the range of an eight piece band, this World Premiere harnesses the intensely evocative sounds of qawwali, meditative mantras, Ethiopian Mezmur, Gregorian chants and spiritual jazz.

 Here's his exclusive interview with Asian Voice. 

Please talk about your latest composition. 

The latest composition is called The Canticle of the Sun. It is an ancient poem by the revered St. Francis of Assisi. 

The poetry is in praise of God’s creations: the Sun, moon and the stars, wind, water, fire and the earth. Very beautiful.

I have set this to music, working with South Asian, jazz and classical musicians.


What according to you is the current importance and future of spiritual music? Has the pandemic impacted the way people perceive it?

Music can open our minds and panting peace, love and understanding. Playing and listening to music can bring a sense of comfort and belonging to people, and togetherness to the community and society. It can help us feel a part of the world we are in.

I truly believe that music is one of the greatest things that people have created. It is an instinct and practice as old as humanity.


How can South Asians who have never visited India or have not travelled enough to South Asia, learn more and correctly about varied kinds of music?

There is so much great music that can be found online…people love to share music.

And there are always new works being created. If interested in South Asian music, there are also many books and online tutorials. This is a time of great musical creativity in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh…and it has had a fantastic impact on Global sounds.


Could you elaborate on what Gregorian chants and spiritual jazz are? For our readers?

Gregorian Chants are ancient Christian vocals that were sung in churches in Medieval times. They sound very pure, noble and graceful.

Spiritual Jazz is a form of jazz music that tries to use sound, melody, improvisation and rhythm to express love for creation and to connect players and listeners with the Divine.

This is our aim…but it is simply music, lovingly created.

I have tried to bring these musical worlds together in The Canticle of the Sun.


 If someone were to acquaint themselves with Qawwali, what could be the first [five] qawwalis they must hear?

I would always recommend the master, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, whose skill, virtuosity, innovation and emotional power has resonated with generations of music lovers across the world.

Secondly, Abida Parveen is a great vocalist, with wonderful range and iconic style. She has revolutionised Qawwali performance and inspired millions of people.

All their recordings and many excellent concerts can be found online.

Arun Ghosh will perform The Canticle of the Sun at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival on 21st May. The Norfolk & Norwich Festival runs from 13-29 May 2022. For more information visit

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