Singer-composer Zubeen Garg released his new album, “Pakeeza”, recently. A combination of folk and Indian classical music, it is his first as a Hindi lyricist. Here he talks about what he put into the project and also shares his views on the music culture of India and, particularly, Assam. Excerpts from the interview:
Could you acquaint us with “Pakeeza”?
This is a conceptual album with a lot of importance given to the lyrics. I have written a Hindi song for the first time and I have collaborated with extremely accomplished lyricists for this album, such as Vimal Kashyap, Ajay Jhingran, Ritushree and others. The music has been captured from many genres, ranging from Assamese folk to Indian classical and Sufi music. It is an experimental concept.
It took me six years to complete this album. I have worked with fusion music in this collection. For this reason, there were a lot of expectations from this compilation. I have received very good personal reviews, so I am quite satisfied with the response.
With popular Hindi music becoming synonymous with Bollywood music nowadays, has artistes’ scope become limited?
Yes. Albums are not doing well these days. This was not the case some time back. Albums are a way for artistes to express freely their dreams, attitudes and beliefs. They give artistes more space to create soulful music.
With a successful career in Bollywood as a playback singer, why did you choose to create an album in the genres of folk, Sufi and Indian classical music?
I want to bring back the culture of albums in India. They are an integral part of Indian music. They should be given due importance and scope for a wider audience.
Do you think modernisation has affected Assamese music culture? How has it affected your music?
I don’t think Assamese music has been affected by it at all, the primary reason being that the culture is very different from mainstream Indian culture. It is closer to the South-East Asian culture of tribal communities. As far as my music goes, I have been a part of 300 albums based on the traditional and folk culture of Assam, where I have been brought up. So modernisation doesn’t reflect in my music either.
What are your future endeavours?
I will be releasing a very special compilation of folk music very soon. All songs for the collection are ready, but the date of release has not been finalised.