Riding high on music

Riding high on music

SOULFUL SONGSTER

On October 11, The International Day of the Girl Child, a video went viral on the internet. With simple lyrics and uncomplicated tune, the song titled Baap Wali Baat sung by Delhi-boy Kabul Rishi as UNICEF India Anthem for the girl child, garnered quite a few reactions from internet users.

 But what attracted Metrolife was the voice of the 28-year-old singer who is also the lead vocalist of the city-based band Rock Veda.  

Born to a father who is a doctor by profession and singer at heart, Rishi took to singing quite early in his life. “But my parents used to keep saying ki beta padhlo...,” says the crooner informing how he chose to become a commercial pilot. 

“At the time I passed my XII Boards, aviation was a booming sector. So I took up my training for a Commercial Pilot Licence and went to Madrid, Spain to get trained in flying airbus.” By the time he returned, the industry was slumping. 

“Though I had started giving interviews for a job in airlines, something pulled me back to pursue my interest in music. My parents never discouraged me for music. Infact, when I was young, my father used to make me stand among the guests and sing the song they requested. At times I felt like a radio which could be switched on whenever desired, he says laughing about his memories.
“They always wanted me to have a back-up plan. And since I had now completed my education, there was nothing to stop me.”

Rishi started his training in Indian classical music under Ustad Ghulam Sabir Khan Saheb and the band Rock Veda soon came into existence. 

“When I met my guruji’s son Fateh Ali Khan, who is also a sitar player, our discussions often drifted towards the issue of younger generation’s lack of awareness about our rich traditional compositions. When we started jamming together, the band took shape. We gave western sounds to two of our old Indian compositions then and today we have about 16 compositions of our own,” says the lead vocalist whose band has won awards at Artist Aloud. 

“Of course the thought of being criticised by classical singers jolt us, but we stuck to our basic guideline of not changing the original composition at all,” he says, adding, “We just gave them a western feel with a different arrangement of music, so that it appeals to both the young and the old.”

The fusion of the Indian with the Western has won them accolades, especially for popular numbers such as Chhaap Tilak. Most of their music is inspired from Sufi poetry and classical bandish compositions blended with old thumris. These have worked so well for Rishi that he has got a chance to share the stage with stalwarts like Shankar Mahadevan, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Raghu Dixit, Wadali Brothers and Shibani Kashyap.

But like everyone, his ultimate motive too is Bollywood. “Who doesn’t want to try?” he questions while informing that he has already recorded a scratch for a known filmmmaker without divulging many details. Hope the industry norms won’t hold him long and music aficionados will get to know about his new projects soon!    

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