Jaswinder Singh Regales Washington with Ghazal Tribute


April 10, 2012

Special By Geeta Goindi

Vienna, VA, April 6 – Some 500 music connoisseurs congregated at the Tysons Sheraton Premiere, Friday evening, to hear young ghazal maestro Jaswinder Singh perform in a concert, ‘Ishq 2012', billed as a tribute to the legend Jagjit Singh.

April 10, 2012

Special By Geeta Goindi

Vienna, VA, April 6 – Some 500 music connoisseurs congregated at the Tysons Sheraton Premiere, Friday evening, to hear young ghazal maestro Jaswinder Singh perform in a concert, ‘Ishq 2012', billed as a tribute to the legend Jagjit Singh.

At a press conference, April 4, with India’s most promising young ghazal maestro Jaswinder Singh, at the Diya restaurant & banquet facility in Tysons Corner, are seen from left to right: Karl Kalra, national promoter of the concert tour titled ‘Ishq 2012'; Jaswinder Singh; Lavika Bhagat Singh and Vikram Kansal, co-promoters and co-organizers of the Washington show.

The Washington show was part of a 14-city US tour which began on March 14 and will run until April 22.  It was organized by Lavika Bhagat Singh and Vikram Kansal of One Entertainment, with Karl Kalra at the helm as the national promoter. In an interview with EXPRESS INDIA / INDIA THIS WEEK, Jaswinder said, “This is my first solo concert tour, but the third time I will be performing in the US.  Earlier, I was part of a musical play with Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar, ‘Kaifi Aur Main’.  We did 12 shows in the US, including Washington”.

He was visibly delighted about the appreciation from audiences everywhere.  “I’m getting a very good response”, he informed us.  “People are loving it!  Everything is going very well”.

Jaswinder stressed that he hails from a musical family and is eternally grateful for being guided by his father Mr Kuldip Singh, a gifted music director in his own right who has composed scores for such timeless numbers as “Tumko dekha toh yeh khayaal aaya” (Saath Saath) and “Itni shakti hame dena daata” (Ankush).

Under his father’s tutelage, he has made singing his full-time career.  “I only sing”, he told us.  I don’t know anything else besides music.  Music is my bread and butter.  Music is for my soul”!

Accompanying Jaswinder on stage were a team of talented musicians: Vishal Dhumal, among the fastest keyboard players in India; Ojas Adhiya, listed in the Indian-origin Limca Book of Records as the youngest tabla player; Harshvardhan, among the most sought-after percussionists in India; and Pandit Ramesh Misra, a senior sarangi player.

The concert began on a reverent note with a 30-second silence in memory of Jagjit Singh.  His young successor then proceeded with a heartfelt tribute to the legend by rendering a number of his timeless ghazals, beginning with “Jaane woh kaun sa desh jahan tum chale gaye”.  This was followed by “Pyaar ka pehla khat”, “Tumko dekha toh yeh khayaal aaya”, “Hoton se choo lo tum”, “Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho”, “Kal chaudvin ki raat thi”, “Tera chehra kitna suhana lagta hai”, “Sarakti jaaye hai rukh se naqaab” and “Baat niklegi toh”.

In our interview, Jaswinder spoke of his association with Jagjit Singh.  “When I started learning music, when I decided that I have to sing ghazals, my father, Mr. Kuldip Singh, who is my first guru, suggested that I should meet the ‘Badshah’ (king) of ghazals, Jagjit ji.  He told me to spend some time with him, get some guidance and tips from him.  So, for nearly 4-5 years, almost every alternate day, I used to be at his home from 10:00 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m.  Jagjit ji, Chitra ji and I would practice the ‘palta’, ‘sargam’, ‘alaap’.  Jagjit ji always told me, ‘Jaswinder, you are very talented.  You have an extremely melodious voice.  You have to do one thing in life – make your own way, make your own style.  Whether you sing your own ghazals or mine or anybody else’s, always sing in your own style.  Put your own emotions, improvisations in that ghazal so it sounds as if you are singing your own ghazal.  You should not sound like a copycat’.  That is what I have learnt from him.  Jagjit ji was a great performer, besides being a great singer.  I have learnt those nuances from him by observing him …  I try to entertain my audience with my music, with my poetry, with my songs”, he said.

We queried Jaswinder about his albums, ‘Ishq Nahin Aasan’, ‘Yours Truly’ and ‘Dilkash’.  “I represent the younger generation of ghazal singers”, he said.  “All my songs, my albums, are very simple!  They have a simple melody and they are all very romantic.  I promote love; I promote ‘Ishq’; I promote ‘mohabbat’.  That is the message I am conveying.  I personally feel that there is only one thing that is fading away in our lives, and that is love.  Once we have love in our hearts, in ourselves, for fellow human-beings, then the world will be a peaceful place.  I always mention this ‘sher’ (poem) of Jigar Muradabadi: ‘Unka jo kaam hai, Ahal-e-Siyasat woh jaane, mera paigam hai mohabbat, jaha tak pahunche’.  We have come with a message of love.  That is the message conveyed by all my albums”.

At a press conference held a couple of days prior to his concert, at the Diya restaurant in Tysons Corner, Jaswinder stressed, “Most of the ghazals in my concert are romantic.  When you hear me, you will feel romantic, peppy, you will feel good!  Whatever I sing, I sing from my heart”.

On asking, “Have you been in love”?  Jaswinder replied, “Of course, I have been in love.  If you don’t feel love, how can you express it?  So, I have been in love with my work, my people, my friends, my family and with all of you!  Ghazal means conversation with your beloved.  For an artiste, the beloved is his listener.  When I am on stage, I am in love with my audience … At the moment, I am a very romantic person.  I don’t know about later on.  At the moment, it’s all about romance”!

Much to the delight of the press corps, Jaswinder sang a few lines from one of his super-hit ghazals, “Jo kissi par fida nahin hota, shayad uska Khuda nahin hota” (Ishq Nahin Aasan).

Querying further, asking the young ghazal maestro about his ‘Khwaishein’ (desires) which he would like fulfilled.  Jaswinder quoted from the immortal poetry of Mirza Ghalib, sung in the soulful voice of Jagjit Singh: ‘Hazaron khwaishein aisi ki har khwaish pe dam nikle, bahut nikle mere armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikle’.

“I haven’t achieved much”, he said.  “I consider myself a student.  I have a lot to learn”!

Speaking to EXPRESS INDIA / INDIA THIS WEEK, Karl Kalra, the Chicago-based national promoter of Ishq 2012, emphasized that “this is Jaswinder’s solo tour in the US.  People should know the successor to Jagjit Singh”.  We asked him about his association with the young ghazal maestro and learnt that Karl attended one of his concerts, in Mumbai, in 2009, was duly impressed and approached him for a concert tour, here in the US.  Added Jaswinder, “We became friends, more like brothers.  Nobody wants to take a risk by promoting ghazals.  He is doing a very big thing”.

On stage, Jaswinder was in full form: an entertainer, performer, artiste, born to sing!  He regaled the audience with ghazals, geet and fast-paced Punjabi numbers.  He has three albums to his credit: ‘Yours Truly’, ‘Dilkash’ and ‘Ishq Nahin Aasan’.  From these albums, he rendered romantic ghazals: “Yun toh kya kya nazar nahin aata, koi tumsa nazar nahin aata”; “Dil ko thaama unka daaman thaam ke, Mere dono haath nikle kaam ke”; and “Jo kiissi par fida nahin hota”.

Young ghazal maestro Jaswinder Singh is flanked by (from left): Deepa Shahani, Kay Bal, and Violet Fernandes, at the Tysons Sheraton Premiere, April 6, where he performed live in concert.

“Ghazal is my passion”, he declared, at the press meet.  “I love ghazals.  People have the impression that ghazals are very slow, always sad, always about separation.  It’s not like that.  The daiyra (depth) of a ghazal is very vast.  Ghazal expresses every emotion of life, every feeling of the heart”.

We asked him how he views the future of ghazals.  “I think the future of ghazals is very bright”, he replied.  “Till we have listeners like you and singers like me, the future is very bright”!