Bringing the timeless music back

Singers are breaking the shackles and re-introducing traditional Kashmiri music to the people it belongs to. Tanveen Kawoosa tells the story of one such singer, Waheed Jeelani …

Tanveen Kawoosa

Waheed-06Kashmiri music is back, pushing its way through frenzy of Bollywood numbers that have been dominating Kashmir markets for the past two decades.

Credit goes to acclaimed Kashmiri singers for re-introducing the timeless Kashmiri music to the market that now reaches remotest corners of the valley through CDs and Cassettes besides the ever popular radio.

So when you think of famous, Doyekhar korus…, you think of Waheed Jeelani. Whether it is the romantic ditty Karfali hama loo gulaboo loo…. or melancholy number
Doyekhar korus….., he has touched millions of hearts with the magic of his voice, word, diction and delivery.

Most of his releases make it to shops and several recordings especially Ronee daaman and Szekar yaad payemy have reached the best seller list. Waheed is all set to release his new album, Talaash, with popular actor-writer, Bashir Dada. The album is an elegiac tribute to disappeared persons in Kashmir.

Waheed has not only lent his voice to poetry, he has composed an array of spell binding melodies. While blending traditional and western music, Kashmiri musicians have constantly experimented with different styles of composition and orchestration. This way they have forged a new style while still keeping tradition alive. Waheed too is open to experimentation.

“I use  guitar, synthesizer besides local Rabab and Santoor. It is important to experiment so that you grow as a musician. It is also important to keep your form intact so that you do not get cut off from your roots,” Waheed says. The leading singer looks forward to his next album to be released in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art culture and Languages. He will score tunes to the verses of eminent poet Rahman Rahi. “My music video will be released on Venus or T-series. We have selected six simple ghazals of Rahi Sahib,” says Waheed.

Presently busy with the recording of Talaash in Mumbai, Waheed regrets that Art has never got its due in Kashmir. “In absence of state of the art studios, Kashmiri musicians have to record their songs in Mumbai.” Waheed hasn’t just lend his voice to Kashmiri songs, he has sung for the a Hindi movie Payar Ka Safar too. A maiden singer then, Waheed was introduced to famous filmmaker Dilip Dutta by his brother. He believes big breaks don’t happen by accident, they are “nudged into existence”.

Film director Dutta selected Waheed from a horde of singers for his movie. “I sang yeh hawa yeh raat yeh chandini as a solo as well as duet with Udit Narayan,” he reminisces.  Despite that, Waheed hasn’t left the Kashmiri music behind. In an attempt to rope in new crop of budding singers to exhibit their talent, he organizes talent hunt programmes like Kashur Sa Re raai Ga Ma, and Miley Sur telecast on different channels. Waheed feels strongly that such programmes can promote local talent at national and international level.


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