'We should not dissect music'

Sufi style

'We should not dissect music'

Carrying on a rich legacy can be difficult at times. However, Sufi singer Zila Khan has not only carved a niche in the music fraternity, but is also carrying on the legacy of seven generations of musicians with aplomb.

Although she is the only one from her family to take up Sufi music, she is enjoying every bit of what she is doing.

She considers having a sitar maestro like Ustad Vilayat Khan as her father as a blessing. Her eyes sparkle as she talks about the good old days when he was her mentor.
“Being Ustad Vilayat Khan’s daughter is a huge privilege. The important thing that he taught me was to retain my own essence.

Because of that, I was able to hold my stead as an artiste. It made the process very easy for me,” she says.

“I did not get intimidated by the fact that I am the daughter of this gharana. Rather than being overtly conscious about it, it just added to who I am,” she notes.

She says that her father’s music lives on. He has trained her in a manner that has not only developed her voice but has also humbled her as a human being. “The riyaz sessions with the Ustad were not easy. I used to practise for at least 14 to 16 hours a day. He had started teaching me when I was very young. Formal training started at the age of 12,” she says.

“I feel that being blessed with a good voice is different, being blessed with a good teacher is different while what do you do with your voice and how much time you spend with it is a completely different ball game. Since my interest is humongous, spending 14 to 16 hours has never been a problem,” she adds. She feels that the recent association of Sufi music with Bollywood has been adding an element of mysticism to the music of films.
“It is good for a film to be associated with Sufi music. Any film, which wants to be associated with Sufi music, might want to swim in the bigger sea as this genre is huge. I am very happy about it. We should not dissect music but try and amalgamate different styles  as long as the quality is good,” she says.

“Youngsters are doing a wonderful job but they should not label the songs in the wrong way. Label your genre correctly. Sufi songs have an enlightening message. I have preserved different genres of music. If this is not done, children will not distinguish between Sufi music and pop music,” she adds.

She notes that the audience in Bangalore love different types of music. “It is always great to perform here as people here are extremely expressive and enjoy being at a concert. I feel it’s not about having a good audience, it’s about your artistry being
able to elevate the audience to your heights and your connectivity with God,” she sums up.

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