Online edition of India's National NewspaperThursday, Jul 01, 2004
A new experience in music
`THE SOUL of Anamika in Black & White,' is no ordinary music album. If you pick it up hoping to enjoy a quiet hour of melody, you are in for a rude jolt. For, this audio cassette contains not only songs, but a whole soundtrack of voices and effects, interspersed with songs and clippings from well-known singers. Or, a `cassette collage,' as its production team claims.
Conceived and composed by the young ghazal singer, Shahabaz Aman, `Soul of Anamika...,' is an experimental project in creating a sort of collage of music. `It's the end result of a five-year-old dream,' says Shahabaz.
The cassette contains seven songs written and composed by Shahabaz himself. A collage of sounds flows out in between them, acting as a kind of link. With the sudden presence of jarring and shrieking notes, listening becomes an entirely different experience here.
But, what makes this young singer go in for such an unprecedented idea, instead of merely presenting a collection of songs created and sung by him ? "Because, it is non-conforming, like my own bearing," says Shahabaz. His life too has taken such a non-conforming way.
Born in Malappuram district, Shahabaz had no inkling during childhood that his career lay in music. His early schooling was steeped in religious education, but Shahabaz broke out of the regimen later. The first introduction to the world of music came from a local music club, when he was almost 20 years old. "I had not even seen a harmonium till then," he remembers. For a few years, he was actively involved with the local orchestra troupes. He also got associated with the Reshmi Film Society in Malappuram, which introduced him to newer circles. For the past five years, Shahabaz had been giving ghazal concerts all over the State.
"The entire project materialised only with the support from a big network of friends," says Shahabaz. "The use of everyday sounds is a novel concept in India, though it had already been tried out in the West through the songs of Jim Reeves, Pink Floyd and many others," he points out.
The everlasting Saigal song, `Sojaa Rajakumari.....,' has become almost the `theme song,' for this album. Shahabaz explains: "At many junctures in my life, `Sojaa Rajakumari...' had given the ultimate healing touch. It is not just a lullaby, not just something to make you fall asleep. It could be also be a wakening call, a call to all human hearts to wake up against all the strifes and calamities tearing us apart. That is why I put a group of singers into my interpretation of the song, to give the voices of many..."
Brief clippings of maestros, including Ustad Bismillah Khan, Beethovan (from the `Moonlight Sonata,'), Dagar Brothers, Njeralathu Rama Poduval, Amjad Ali Khan, Nusreth Fateh Ali Khan and the original voices of Mehdi Hassan, Talat Mahmood and M.S. Baburaj have been used along with the songs. A poem by A. Ayyappan has been quoted in a song.
The singers include Chitra Iyer, Sreeram, Jyotsna, Hari Govindan, Pushpa, Juvani, V.T. Murali and many others, apart from Shahabaz himself.
He has many dreams. Like bringing out an English album, containing poems of Kahlil Gibran, for the youth.
However, for the time being, Shahabaz is getting ready to do music for two films, `Mist,' directed by C.S. Suresh, and `Athu Mandarappovalla,' Priyanandanan's attempt to visualise M.T. Vasudevan Nair's famous short story, `Ajnjathante Uyaratha Smarakam.'
By Renu Ramanath