Resurrection Through Voice

Akriti Jamwal. Updated: 6/21/2017 9:13:21 PM

Aabha’s mother, being a trained Hindustani classical singer who could not pursue music, naturally became the first mentor, who trained her by making Aabha sing Lata Mangeshkar’s songs while she would be cooking in the kitchen in scorching summers; she would make her practice until Aabha would get the notes, pronunciation and other things correct. Her first ever tryst with formal training in music happened when she was about eight years old, under the guidance of Late Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, whom, like every other student, she used to fondly call ‘Bau Ji’. Being keen to learn, Aabha would sit down in the senior batch to learn advanced ragas, even after her class was done. Her music class used to be in Kachi Chawni, while she used to live in Karan Nagar; she used to walk both ways singing & rehearsing the ‘Sargams’ & ‘Taans’.

Aabha says, “There is something about the enthusiasm a good teacher can bring about in someone who is keen to learn. I really enjoyed that phase and that induced me to practice Music seriously.” But after her teacher passed away, the school was never the same and eventually her enthusiasm also faded away. The turning Point of Aabha’s life came when she auditioned and not only got through but made it to the finals in Indian Idol Season 2. Since then, she has been singing professionally. A few years later, she started training under Neecia Majolly, under whose guidance she has been learning western pop vocals. From thereon, according to Aabha, her enthusiasm of being a student of music forever has returned.

Raised in Jammu and having studied in Army School Ratnuchak till 10th standard and thereafter, at Saint Peters School till 12th standard, Aabha says her fondest memories are the years of growing up in Jammu. She expresses that every little nook and corner of the city holds an incalculably special place in her heart and her heart fills up with nostalgic emotions, each time she visits home from her tours all across the globe.

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'We The Women' reached out to Aabha on the occasion of her new release 'Hukus Bukus'( which you can watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA9UPOSh3Ws&t=14s) to know more about her journey, thoughts and opinions as well as the story behind the song. Here is the detailed conversation that followed with this singing sensation from the state:

Akriti Jamwal: From being an employee in corporate world to being a contestant in ‘Indian Idol’ to becoming a professional Singer, how would you describe your journey?
Aabha Hanjura: It has been a very interesting one to say the least; the collective experience of every little thing I have come across or done in life has made me who I am today. Indian Idol gave me a huge platform and to a large extent, acted as a confidence builder at that time for me, as it strengthened my faith in my singing abilities being one of the few finalists when hundreds of thousands of people auditioned, a big deal back then for me. But my corporate career made me the person that I am today. Thanks to my tryst in the media & the entertainment business, I learnt the greatest lessons of life about people, survival, professionalism and other finer aspects. My music continues to make me a better human being every day and has enriched me from within.

AJ: Would you share with us something about your ongoing projects? Tell us about your new release.
AH: ‘Hukus Bukus’ is my latest release, which happens to be a single from my forthcoming album ‘Aabha Hanjura & the Sound of Kashmir’. It is a song immensely close to my heart as my grandmother used to sing it for me. There were many other rhymes like ‘Bisht Bisht Brarryo’ which we used to sing as kids, which I have tried to turn into songs. ‘Hukus Bukus’ is a song that fills my heart with happy memories, that’s why I’ve tried to create it as a song that instantly makes you happy & would surely cheer you up!

AJ: You brought in the term ‘Sufistication’. Please shed some light on it.
AH: Sufistication is the name of one of the bands I have been ‘featured’ in. As an artist, the genres closest to my heart are Sufi, Folk and Ghazals. I wanted to perform music of these genres because this is the kind of music that speaks to me as an artist, but as a band we believe when we perform a show, we leave our audience feeling a special part of the energy of our music which is soulful, groovy, happy and trancy at the same time; that is Sufistication. As Sufi music takes you to deep levels of trance and then also makes you dance.

AJ: What, according to you, have been your major achievements so far?
AH: I personally don’t like to measure success or achievement as I believe you need to keep your focus on working, and on your love for your pursuit rather than focusing on results. So, I cannot list out achievements per se, as I believe, I have a long way to go. All I wish is to enjoy the journey more than worrying about the destination. But, here I can recount some enriching experiences like singing the national anthem in a jam packed stadium. Also when (Late) Dr. Abdul Kalam, unveiled my first single and met me, I was awestruck.

AJ: What is most cherished compliment you have ever received and by whom?
AH: So many people write to me saying that my music has brought them closer to their culture and they are able to appreciate their language; I feel blessed to be someone who could catalyze that feeling.

AJ: You got married last year. How would you contrast the life before and after marriage? Has it been challenging, especially considering your profession?
AH: Yes I did. There hasn’t been much changes besides the fact that I miss my parents as I cannot spend as much time with them as I used to, but at the same time it is also a bliss as I have the most supportive partner, who is my pillar of strength; he is truly the wind beneath my wings! It’s not easy to be married to an artist, as our lives are not straightforward, but my husband is the calm in my otherwise rocky life.

AJ: What is your ideology behind your professional and personal life?
AH: Dream Big and Believe that You Can Do It!

AJ: Most of the youngsters do not have the privilege to choose a career which their heart desires, music is one such field. In a society like ours, most of the parents would abhor the fact that their kid would pick any artistic career. What would you say to all those whose heart lies in something which they are not permitted to pursue?
AH: If you really want to do something, nothing in the world can stop you. I don’t think parents want to disturb a child’s desires. Their concerns are usually about security, survival, money etc which are also genuine. However, I strongly believe what you are seeking is seeking you, so if you work on your passion hard enough, without bothering about success or results, you’ll find a way to do it and be good at it. If you are good, success usually follows.

AJ: What are your future plans and what is the strategy to go about it? What is that one thing that keeps you going on; that makes you do what you are doing?
AH: I am planning to work on as many songs as possible, and hopefully put out the whole album, which will happen if I have enough continued support of my listeners. I plan to perform extensively, specifically for few new markets, with my live acts that present an ethnic Kashmiri folk ensemble. There are talks of performing internationally, so I am hoping something exciting on that front should happen soon. I am also planning to collaborate with some very interesting and talented musicians, and I am excited about that as well!

AJ: Speaking about women of J&K in field of music, what is the status, according to you? Where do you see things going in this direction, in our state?
AH: There is no dearth of talent, but I feel Jammu and Kashmir and our languages are, however, not represented enough outside the state. I hope to change that and see more people work on interesting careers in arts.

AJ: You got empowered through your skills and art. Can you tell our readers how they can make the best of their inherent talent?
AH: Practice anything that you like to do, as much as possible. Spend as much time as possible on developing your skill, be open to feedback & criticism, be prepared to fail again and again and make thousands of sacrifices for the sake of your passion.

AJ: Where do you see women of Jammu & Kashmir few years from now? Any message for women out there?
AH: I see the women of Jammu and Kashmir taking the world by storm! There is rich talent in the state and very enterprising individuals in various fields that are already making the state proud! I am confident it will only go onwards and upwards from here. And I would like to tell them to have faith in themselves. Work hard and everything should work out alright from there.

Updated On 6/22/2017 9:19:09 PM
Updated On 6/24/2017 3:16:09 PM


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