I first heard this lovely song in the TEDxGateway event in 2014. It was sung by Sonam Kalra & The Sufi Gospel Project. It was only much later did I look up the song on YouTube and was surprised to see the innumerable versions of this one out there. Sonam had produced and released a video of her version on 2 Oct which is Gandhi Jayanti. This hymn was one of his personal favorites and Sonam’s rendition of it is one of mine!
This hymn was created way back in 1847 by Henry Lyte but the most popular versions is sung to Eventide composed by William Monk. An article I read about it in The Telegraph says that this was one of the most popular songs sung in the war trenches during WW1. It has also made it to many movies and played at ‘Ground Zero’ during the commemoration of the September 11 attacks. I am really not qualified enough to interpret this song for you but the essence of this song is a prayer to god to be with us (abide) during these trying times. I have shared the link of the article below where the lyrics of this beautiful hymn are available.
Sonam’s version is a more complete composition from my perspective, as she not only stays true to the original hymn but adds Kabir’s poetry to it with her unique fusion music. This poetry is the divinity’s response to the seeker’s pleas. It says, why do you seek me everywhere around when I am right here within you, near you. This song has stayed with me during these trying times of life. Hearing it always leaves me over whelmed but hopeful.
Thank you Sonam Kalra & the sufi gospel project for creating this magic. Here is the link to the song as well as some more links on the song as well as a lovely article on Sonam!
Sources which might interest you:
About Sonam Kalra
About the hymn:
The original hymn sung by Emeli Sande