He is just back from the Global Fest in the US,where his performance received rave reviews from the press. Back home in Ahmedabad,Kailash Kher cast the same magic as a sufiana rendition does to an audience.
At the concluding evening of the Saptak Music Festival on Wednesday,Kher’s audience craved for more and more of his soulful songs right from “Allah ke bande,” whichshot him to fame,to one of his latest creations from the movie Dasvidaniya.
As he took to the stage with his band ‘Kailasa’,he announced: “Aaj ki shaam,aap sufi ke saath-saath kuch khatte-meethe,masti bhare geet bhi sunenge.”
And the audience gave him an uproarious welcome as he began with the number “Jana jogi de naal ni” from his album ‘Kailasa’. It followed “Teri diwani,naiharwa humka na bhave,the peppier “Tauba tauba” and “Dhol bajda” from the same album. He also rendered the more rustic “Joban chhalke”,and “Saiyyan” from the album ‘Kailasa Jhoomo Re’. Throughout the two-hour concert,’once more’ and ‘encore’ echoed though the packed auditorium almost after every song Kher delivered.
Kher drew the old and the young alike by interspersing some lighter chats with his audience in the concert the former was a bit restrained while the latter swayed and applauded throughout. Also gracing the occasion was maestro Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt,’Allah ke bande’ had the whole gathering sing together,while lehri from the album ‘Kailasa Jhoomo Re’ in Kher’s intense voice made the listeners go into raptures. Kher ended the concert by making the gathering dance to the foot-tapping number “Chak de phatte” from the film ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’.
Just before the concert,the singer said how important it was to be expressive in order to connect to an audience. “It is a steady process of action,reaction and connection,” he said.
Initially Kher,said sources,was reluctant to perform at Saptak due to its purely classical format,but “wherever there’s an emotional bond involved,you can’t afford to say no,” he said.
Kher,for whom sufi has become his forte,didn’t have any time-bound training in music,but he grew up taking lessons from his ‘guru of life’ his father Pt Meher Singh Kher and by listening to stalwarts like Kumar Gandharva,Pandit Gokulotsav Maharaj,Bhimsen Joshi,Mehndi Hasan,Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,Lata Mangeshkar et al. “I learnt music wherever and whenever I got an opportunity,” he said.
Kher said: “I had been listening to ‘Nirguni bhajan’ since I was of four years. In fact,that’s the very essence of sufi composition and is beyond form or shape. It is about purity and intensity.”
Kher pointed out that there is no genre called sufi music,but it is sufi poetry which is weaved in musical notes. The words in these compositions are of utmost important,for “every word has its intensity.”
“In the song Saiyyan’,for example,the words ‘tu jo chhoo le pyar se araam se mar jaun’ speaks of niravana of the soul.”
Kher is happy that people are slowly getting inclined towards spiritual music. “We,on our part,experimented with our album Kailasa and listeners have accepted it,more so because the fragrance of a sufi composition has the power to hold a listener,” he says.