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Bring back the Ghazal

Just months after the release of his previous album, which was an anthology of Ghazals, singer Pankaj Udhas is back with his new album, Dastkhat. The album features a collection of ghazals by poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and he will be launching the album at a concert at Sophia Bhabha Auditorium. Excerpts from an interview with Udhas:


Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas

What is the highlight of your upcoming concert?
Though I have concerts at regular intervals in Mumbai, this is special as I am performing at the Sophia Bhabha Auditorium after almost two decades; I have wonderful memories of the launch of my second Ghazal album here, titled Mukarrar, by Shashi Kapoor in the presence of Sharmila Tagore and the Nawab of Pataudi. At this concert, I will be introducing Ghazals from my new album, a few old favourites and a nazm Dukh Sukh, which has become a rage among Ghazal lovers.

What can the audiences look forward to in the album Dastkhat?
This album is dedicated to famous poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. I opted to call this album Dastkhat (or signature) because it consists of Faiz’s signature style of writing. No one could replicate or write in his lehja (style). Musically, it’s a traditional Ghazal album comprising Raaga-based Ghazals but the sound is very contemporary.

How was it collaborating with Singapore based composer Amarjeet Bajwa?
Amarjeet Bajwa, who is a third-generation Singaporean and an education consultant, composed this album. He lives in Singapore and composes Ghazal music as a hobby. He had earlier worked with me on the album Shaayar, the poetry of Daagh Dehlvi in 2010. I mostly compose all my albums but working with Amarjeet gives new dimension and character to verses.

What is the current state of Ghazal, as a form of music?
I have been doing more concerts than I did five years back. The urge and demand for listening to this kind of music is growing by leaps and bounds. Music lovers across the globe are looking for an alternative. Audiences want to forget the hustle and bustle and slip into three hours of bliss and nerve-soothing experience. Little wonder than that this genre has been around for 400 years; it’s a permanent part of our cultural life and music. I appeal to young singers to take up Ghazal singing and carry on this
tradition.

Could you share with us a few anecdotes during the making of the album?
For the first time, I followed a different routine to record an album. We recorded the Ghazals in my voice first and later, created music around it. The back-up and the musical arrangement were done by Sameer Nichani, a young musician; the end result is amazing because we have been able to capture the mood of each Ghazal, musically, and its meaning. While recording the track, Yun Saja Chand, I kept on humming a tune that Sameer recorded on his mobile phone — it made for an outstanding theme for the same Ghazal. He played it on flute, violin and guitar and eventually, made me hum the same tune; it sounds awesome.

On: October 26, 7.30 pm
At: Sophia College Campus, B Desai Road, Breach Candy.
tickets Available at Sophia Bhabha Auditorium, Rhythm House, and bookmyshow.com  

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