Original folk music struggles for significance

first_imgOriginal folk music struggles for significance in an era dominated by multiple genres, according to Sindhi Sarangi legend Lakha Khan who strives to keep alive the traditional music of his Manganiyar community.Khan is the seventh generation in a family of musicians who have been carrying forward the tradition of Rajasthani folk and sufi music whose legacy is said to date back ‘almost 400 years.’ The maestro says the current generation is less enthusiastic about taking up the art. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“The zeal to learn folk music isn’t what it used to be earlier. Folk music is something which requires a lot of dedication and hard work and sometimes it gets difficult to learn. That’s why our younger generation is not serious about it,” says Khan.The 68-year-old musician and vocalist reminisces of an era when he began his journey into folk music at a mere age of six by learning Rajasthani folk music from his father and mentor, Tharu Khan.“Artists from our community (Manganiyar) used to play at functions for kings and emperors. My father was also one of them, I used to accompany him to these performances and that’s when I developed interest and it all started for me,” says the musician. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixInspiration, says the musician one of the last living exponents of the Sindhi Sarangi, is derived from following his father’s teachings and demeanour during performances and songs.“I remember all his mannerisms and the bhajans he used to sing, I have imbibed all that, on the whole it gives a unique tinge and that altogether comes out in the performance,” he adds.In the initial stages Khan was introduced to ‘Surili’ (a folk instrument) by his father before he began training in vocals and perfecting the art of playing the ‘Sarangi’. In his late sixties, the maestro now opines that youngsters should take up folk music as it helps in building up music knowledge.“The current generation of audience and artists is very confused and distracted as there’s a lot of variety now. They often tend to take up easier forms of music.“The authentic music of our country is traditional folk, it has it’s own unique flavor and glimpse of our rich culture and that shouldn’t?t be ignored. Each music genre has its own place and originality,” he says.A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Lakha Khan is amongst the last remaining in the Manganiyars lineage to have mastered the Sindhi sarangi. .Khan released Lakha Khan: Live in Nashville this year in collaboration with Amarras Records. The music album features sets from his Nashville concert from his debut US tour in 2013 where he played 10 concerts in 98 cities.Renditions of popular folk classics such as Kesariya Balam and Mast Qalandar along with Sufi kalaams by Ghulam Farid and Bulleh Shah apart from Kabir bhajans and classical ragas comprise the album. Khan performed in the city recently as part of an ongoing countrywide multi city tour where he teamed up with African folk artist and ‘Kora’ player Madou Sidiki Diabate. Both the artists share the same love for folk music and both have a legacy spanning back generations.last_img read more