Mame Khan, the voice behind Mirzya, on the need to reinvent Manganiyar music
Months after Roysten Abel presented his most popular show The Manganiyar Seduction, the main vocalist of the show returns to Chennai for a long-awaited performance. Mame Khan, the soulful voice behind the title track of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Mirzya, first played in Chennai with his father a long time ago. He now returns to the city, at a time when audiences there are more open to different genres of music than ever before. “The people in Chennai are true listeners, so I am looking forward to play once again there,” says one of the most recognisable faces in folk/sufi music in the country. “I will try to take them on a musical journey to Rajasthan. They will get to hear a fine blend of Rajasthani folk-sufi fusion and surely I will not leave the stage without playing my evergreen Coke Studio hit, Chaudhary,” he assures.
Stating that there is a growing demand for his kind of music, he is happy to see the change in approach towards the Manganiyars. “If you look 10 to 15 years back in time, people were talking about it as a dying art when mentioning our Manganiyar musical heritage. A lot of folk artistes and producers have since put a lot of effort and time into re-inventing our musical genre, and now we see more and more platforms that have come up to showcase our art,” says Khan, in an obvious reference to series like Coke Studio.
His confidence in people’s reception to his work is seen from the fact that he is working on a new video single. “It will launch early next year. It is going to be all about folk-fusion, travelling to the roots of our music with focus on flamenco and modern elements as well,” he shares, adding that despite the current obsession with fusion music among many, it is essential to learn the roots before employing technology and tapping into fusion. “I learn something new everyday. Musical hunger and the inner drive to perfection keep me going,” he says, adding that he has full faith in the next generation of folk artistes in India.
Today at Phoenix MarketCity, Chennai. 7 pm. Entry free. Details: eventshigh.com