An evening of folk music

Karan Singh enthralled music lovers with his singing talent

Delhiites got an unusual dose of music when Karan Singh, president of Indian Council of Cultural Relations and a veteran politician revealed another side of his versatile personality and rendered a selection of light classical and devotional songs as part of the ICCR’s ‘Horizon Culture’ series.

Karan, who belongs to the former royal family of Jammu and Kashmir, is the first president of ICCR to sing at a council’s official soiree. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gurcharan Kaur was also present during the event that saw a mix of genre like ghazal, classical and dogri music and geet.

“Music has been a major and magnificent input into my consciousness from a very early age. I first heard my mother sing dogri folk songs and devotional hymns when I was very young. Subsequently I learnt Indian classical music for several years, and continue my practice till the present day,” said Karan.

 “There is indeed a certain divine quality in music that is found in no other form of artistic expression, and this is true of the rich majesty of classical and folk music the world over. India particularly, with its wide spectrum of language and tradition, has a rich store of folk music to which every region has made its contribution,” he shared.
 Suresh K Goel, director general, ICCR said after the mesmerising act, “Very few know that he is also an accomplished singer with his repertoire including geet, bhajan, ghazal and dogri. His musical talent was revealed to the public when he inaugurated the ‘International Jazz Festival’ last year by playing an old Bollywood tune on the piano. I decided to make him sing this time for music lovers and I am delighted that he agreed to my request.”

Describing himself as an amateur musician, Karan makes it a point to sing once a week. “Music plays an important role in my life. I am fond of listening to not only Indian classical music but also Western pop. In fact, I am a big fan of Whitney Houston who died recently. I also admire singer Billy Joel,” he shared.
Karan was given lessons in music by Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma, father of santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma. “He was my teacher in Kashmir. As ICCR is the hub of cultural activities, I decided to sing and hope people liked it,” said Karan.

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