Shabnam Virmani is a filmmaker, singer and artist in residence at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. Stung by the religious riots of Gujarat in 2002, she initiated the Kabir Project journeys in quest of the 15th century mystic Kabir, exploring how his poetry intersects with ideas of identity, religion, nationalism, impermanence and orality. Inspired by the spirit of Bhakti, Sufi and Baul oral traditions, the Kabir Project team has now been engaged for over 15 years in curating and re-expressing the power of this poetry through documentary films, music CDs, books, urban festivals, rural yatras, school workshops and a web archive called Ajab Shahar. Shabnam is currently working on two upcoming books on Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and Kabir.
Inspired by the inclusive spirit of folk music, she took up playing the 5-stringed tambura herself and now performs a wide repertoire of folk songs of Kabir and other mystic poets.