He came, he sang, he conquered. Genre-defying singer Hariharan wowed Ranchi at TT Symphony in association with BASIL & VAN VRINDABAN powered by ERIL at Mega Sports Complex, Hotwar, on February 9. Arti S. Sahuliyar caught up with the versatile virtuoso and discovered his inspiration — Mehdi, Messi & movies!
How does it feel to be a Tam Bram with a ponytail who sings ghazals and pronounces Urdu so flawlessly?
(Laughs) It feels like Hariharan!
Straddling the many worlds of Bollywood, South Indian film music, rock, ghazals, Carnatic music — how does one vocalist do it all? What’s your forte?
If one knows the language of music and tries to absorb various styles, one can definitely attempt various genres easily. I feel all kinds of music can be adapted easily with meditation and training
Apart from Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Malayalam, are there any other languages in which you sing?
Of course yes! I sing in Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Marathi and English for my fans spread across the globe. Music knows no borders
That’s what seemed evident at TT Symphony. For nearly three hours, the crowd lapped up everything…your enunciation, presentation, singing, choice of songs from your mind-boggling range and your interaction with the audience!
Yes, Ranchi is really cool. I am carrying back fond memories of the city and of music lovers here who enjoyed my concert. Overall, crowd response was really good, really heart-warming
Your songs in Roja and Bombay are all-time favourites, cult classics. Are you working with A.R. Rahman now?
We last worked together in Guru in 2007. Right now, we are not working on any particular song. And yes, I myself love Tu hi re from Bombay. All these years later, I still listen to it. It’s one of my personal favourites
What’s happening on Colonial Cousins front?
After an 11-year-long hiatus (last album was Aatma in 2001), we (singer-composer Leslie Lezz Lewis) came together to release a new album Once More (released by Universal) in 2012-end
You have collaborated with everyone, from percussion artiste Sivamani, bhangra superstar Daler Mehndi, Pakistani band Strings and many more. Any creative partnerships?
After 15 years, I am going to release my album Hazir with (tabla maestro) Ustad Zakir Hussain this spring. So, yes, evergreen collaborations continue
Many people around the globe listen to you and unwind. Which are your favourite songs?
My all-time favourite is (Pakistani legend) Mehdi Hassan. I can listen to his ghazals for hours (Hassan, also called King of Ghazals, passed away in June 2012 in Karachi aged 84)
What kind of music excites you the most — jazz, Sufi, rock, pop, Hindustami classical, Carnatic music, world or Indian film music?
What do I say? Music flows in my blood. I love so many different kinds of music…let’s leave it at that
You are often seen as a musical reality show judge on national and regional channels. What is you advice to aspiring playback singers?
I only say and feel one thing. You should learn music with full devotion. Everything else comes later
How does the musicmaker relax outside sur and taal? Any hobby in which you take immense interest?
I like doing a lot many things. I watch films and football with equal gusto. My favourite soccer player is Lionel Messi. And I love travelling
You seemed to take interest in the state’s handicraft. Today you visited the Jharcraft showroom
This was a lifetime opportunity for me. I’m glad I did. I love tribal jewellery and artefacts. Jharcraft showcases the state’s tribal and ethnic heritage beautifully. I’d heard so many things about Jharkhand’s tribal art forms….reality surpassed expectations!