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Gaga over ghazals

When we asked singer composer Hariharan if he's heard Lady Gaga, he said, "No, I haven't heard her as yet, but I like her sense of style. In fact, I love her glares, they're quite funky." Hariharan, who's known for his soulful voice and fusion album and his style, is going to perform tomorrow at a free concert dedicated to the late ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh at Nehru Centre. He talks to CS about his bond with the late singer, love for ghazals and football:


Who: Hariharan
What: Talks about his love for ghazals and football
Where: At his Chandivali residence


A musical bond
I knew Jagjitbhai from the 1980s. He was a wonderful human being and a very encouraging person. Work-wise, he was a perfectionist to the core. He would rehearse for hours on end till he achieved his desired result. I recently sang the Gurbaani for him, which he truly appreciated. He also had a great sense of humour. Once, a couple of young singers and I were sitting at his home. I was playing some particularly difficult notes on my harmonium, hearing which Jagjitji quipped, "Bachon ko dara rahe ho kya?". On another occasion, I heard his ghazal 'Saamne Hai Jo Use Log Bura Kehte Hain' from his album Beyond Time, and I instantly called him, I was so bowled over by his rendition. I said, "Jagjitbhai, aapki ghazal suni, bardasht nahi hua." He retorted saying, "Kyun, itni buri thi kya?"

Moods and melody
If you ask me about the future of ghazals in India, I won't be able to give you a definite answer. After the death of Jagjitji, an era is over, but there are still many talented ghazal singers around. An average music listener starts enjoying ghazals only after he crosses the age of 25. That's because ghazals talk about different shades of relationships that people can't understand until they reach some level of maturity. I spent my childhood in Mumbai and grew up listening to ghazals. In fact, I also considered Mehdi Hassan to be my Ruhani (spiritual) guru. I also love Ghulam Ali's ghazals. When I am in a romantic mood, I like singing ghazals for my wife Lalitha.

Sonny feet
My son, Akshay, and I are working together on an album. I am very excited about it. He is more into modern music like trance and club. In classical, he loves Khayal from Hindustani music. It's going to be a fusion album. And, not only music, but we share a love for football too. We spend most of our free time watching football matches. While our tastes in music differ at times, we support the same football teamĀ -- Barcelona and we love Lionel Messi.

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