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Updated: November 12, 2010 21:00 IST

Soulful tribute to Mehdi Hassan

Vinaya Deshpande
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LABOUR OF LOVE: Srinivas and A.R. Rahman.
LABOUR OF LOVE: Srinivas and A.R. Rahman.

Launch of ‘Timeless Classics by Srinivas', where the singer recreates the ghazals of Mehdi Hassan

Nearly 16 years in the music industry and a 1,000 songs later, singer Srinivas has come out with an album, recreating seven classic ghazals.

Dedicating the album, brought out by Saregama India, to the famous Pakistani ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan, Srinivas said the experience had been most satisfying. The album is a fusion of tradition and technology — soulful ghazals presented in a contemporary form.

Talking about his musical journey, Srinivas recalled his early days in Mumbai when he first heard Mehdi. “Twenty-five years ago, when I was studying in Mumbai, I heard his ghazals and got hooked on to them. I am still in awe of him. His ghazals become a part of your soul. The album is my loving tribute to my inspiration.”

A.R. Rahman, who launched the album, couldn't agree more. “If ghazal had a face, it would be Mehdi Hassan. It is not easy to replicate him. But, Srini has,” said Rahman.

Talking about Srinivas' early days in the industry, Rahman said he felt burdened after Srinivas gave up his career for music, while recording for “Roja”.

Srinivas then shared memories of his association with Rahman. “When I was making this album, I recorded a few ghazals and sent them to him. Because he was busy, he didn't respond for a very long time. Then, one day, I suddenly got a message from him at 5 a.m. saying, ‘Amazing vocals. Please come tomorrow. I have jotted down some points.' I was touched. And, we made all the changes he suggested.”

When asked what was different about the album, Srinivas said that he had experimented with the music.

“I did not want to come up with a ghazal album using just the harmonium and tabla. In fact, I have used the veena, an instrument which is never used in this form, in one ghazal. There are not many electronic instruments; I have used acoustic instruments,” he added, thanking Hentry Kuruvila for the innovative arrangements.

Despite the contemporary sound, Srinivas said he hasn't tampered with the essence of the ghazal. “The album is the labour of my love for ghazals,” he concluded.

Keywords: Musical tribute

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