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Singing from the soul

Singer Kailash Kher speaks to SHAMEEL about initial struggles and supporting social causes

Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

FOLK FASCINATION Kailash Kher

Life had never been a piece of cake for Kailash Kher. Born in Meerut to a temple priest and raised in Delhi in a modest environment, the sensational singer has come a long a way, triumphing the odds with utter dedication toward his passion — singing. Kailash has revolutionised the Sufi style of singing and fusion music in the country. The singer was recently in the Capital, attending the premier of MTV Coke Studio. Excerpts from the interview:

How did your career start?

I come from a very humble background and I left home early in search of my bread and butter. After initially struggling in the handicraft export business, I came to Mumbai and took a shot at singing.

It was just by chance that I got an audition with Salim-Sulaiman, Ram Sampat and Rajat Dholakia. They really liked my singing and the word spread. Later on, along with Naresh and Paresh Kamath, I formed the band Kailasa.

You are, by large, into folk singing.

I am very passionate about folk songs. My father (Pandit Meher Singh Kher) was an amateur singer who used to sing folk songs. I think it is from this that the seed (of folk singing) was born. I am inclined towards Nirgun (Sufi) sangeet.

About fusion music, don't you think, the form is derogatory to pure and traditional music forms?

No, I don't think so. Combining two different forms of music only creates an entirely different and new form of music. It is in no way injurious to pre-existing forms (of music).

Why ‘Kailasa'?

I am very much enchanted by the word (Kailasa). It means ‘divine' or ‘heavenly'. I find myself very much in touch with God and humanity. My songs focus on the feelings and love towards humanity.

Recently, you also composed a song for the Anna Hazare campaign?

I composed the song because I felt there was a need to support strongly causes and initiatives like this. I performed live at Azad Maidan and gathered supporters for the cause. We all should come forward for causes noble in nature. ‘Amber tak naad gunjega' is dedicated to people who fight for what is right.

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