Kavita Seth: Want to be the bridge between poets and listeners of music
Kavita Seth on taking further her music series that celebrates poets, with Amrita Pritam
After reviving the works of Urdu poet Wasim Barelvi, Kavita Seth has trained her focus on the late Punjabi poet, Amrita Pritam to further her music series, Main Kavita Hoon. The passion project evolved from a web series, to live concerts, and finally, a line-up of albums, all of which, she says, have been well-appreciated, "with or without promotional nudges".
The success recipe, she suggests, lies in selecting songs that first boast of their lyricism instead of their ability to make for good compositions. "I started this series with the aim of promoting good poetry. The criterion for selecting any poem is hence the lyrics; we think about the composition later. I recall that the album based on Wasim ji's works enjoyed good streaming numbers, even though there was no promotional work involved. That's because good lyrics always find takers. It's also the lack of promising lyricism that has reduced the shelf-life of today's songs," she says, asserting that she even taps into the works of the less celebrated, if their verses have had an impact on her. "I am not promoting only the famous. I am also reviving the works of the less popular so that their poems are not restricted to books alone."
For Pritam's poetry, she recalls being challenged while composing the eight tracks that comprise her latest album. "While [her poems] have rhythm, there are many free verses as well. Composing for them was hence hard. I had her book in hand 24 hours a day, and would even sleep with it under my pillow. Once, I woke up with a tune at 2 am and began to work on it. She had a specific way of writing that was unique to her. The manner in which she describes her relationship in Main Tenu Phir Milangi is something only she could do."
Working on Dr Bashir Badr's poetry, on the other hand, was simpler because "the way he wrote was simple". The Urdu poet's collection will be part of Seth's forthcoming album that eyes a release after two months. "We enjoyed practising for the recording of his poem, Kaun Aaya Raste Aaina. But when we took the song into the studio for the live recording, we enjoyed it even more," she says when prodded about her most memorable numbers. "I'm proud that I've grown up listening to such material from our artistes. So, I want to be the bridge between poets and listeners of music."
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