Sama, an Arabic word meaning 'to listen', is used to describe the Sufi practice which helps attain spiritual ecstasy through song, music and dance. The pain of separation from the Creator is at the core of Sufi lyrics and music; and hence the longing to dissolve the physical realm and transcend in to the spiritual universe with the practice of listening to music, chanting and whirling. The NCPA curates and presents its annual three-day Sufi music Festival - Sama'a: The Mystic Ecstasy, in November every year. Inaugurated in 2009, it seeks to showcse Sufi music traditions from regions and cultures across the world through myriad poetic forms and musical genres.
Sama'a has featured performances by Shujaat Khan who presented Sufi compositions by Amir Khusrau Dehlavi and Sant Kabira group of Langa and Manganiyar musicians from Western Rajasthan and Qawwali by Salim Mohammad Chishti and group; a documentary on the life of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Sufi Gospel Presentation by Sonam Kalra; a recital by Wadali Brothers and Sama Ayins: Whirling Prayer Ceremonies by Konya Turkish Tasawwuf ensemble from Turkey. The festival has also featured presentations by Kabir Bedi, Nuba Awamrya from Tunisia, Haji Aslam Sabri and group, Roopkumar and Sunali Rathod.