“My journey is still ongoing,” says folk singer Mame Khan who is best known for songs such as Saawan, Badri Badariya, Kesariya Balam and others. The Manganiyar singer, who embarked on his musical journey from a village named Satto near Jaisalmer, takes great inspiration from by his late father Shri Rana Khan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb.
Popular for his wide repertoire of traditional Folk and Sufi songs, Khan has performed on several national and International platforms. Reminiscing his journey, he says, “ Main bas gaa raha hoon. Apna kaam kar raha hoon. Maine un logo ko sun sun ke bada hua hoon aur unko sun ke seekh hoon main. Phir log jaane lage. Movies mein kaam kiya. Coke Studio ke baad aur log jaane lage. Abhi kafi saara safar baaki hai. (I am just singing and doing my work. I have grown up listening and learning from the maestros. My fame increased multifold after performing in Coke Studio. My journey is still ongoing.)
Folk music is all about joy, he says, “Ek khushi ka music hota hai. It is full of joy. Isme mausam ke upar gaane hote hai. Lok sangeet is by the people and for the people. Hum isko logo ka music bolte hai. Isme mein jo seekhte hai woh sun ke aur dekh ke seekhte hai, likha hua nahi. Main kisi school mein seekhne nahi gaya.”( Folk music is about spreading happiness. We have learned it by observing and hearing. I have not acquired my music skills in a school.)
Lauding music composer Amit Trivedi’s work, with whom he has collaborated with in the past, Khan says, “Unke saath gaane kiye hai maine.Woh bahut suljhe hue director hai. Apne har music mein nayapan dalte hai. (He is a very sorted music director. I like that he works with great finesse and always thrives to work with new ideas.)
Khan believes that folk music will only thrive if the folk musicians are encouraged to lend their voice to more songs. “Agar koi lok sangeet se milta hua gaana hai, use lok sangeetkar se ho gavana chahiye. The nuances are best captured by a folk singer. Agar copyright ka problem hota hai. Toh aap folk singer se gavao nah. Gaane toh aap le rahe ho lekin unka credit Folk singer ko ha jaana chahiye. Taaki Folk music aura age bade.Unka maan nah mare, ki Bollywood hamare gaane leh raha hai. But they are not giving chance to any folk singers.”(If a folk song is being used in Bollywood, a folk singer should be encouraged to sing that song. They should be given their due credit. Folk singers should not feel that Bollywood is using our songs but not giving them their due credit.)
According to the singer, the situation is changing, the folk musicians are getting more opportunities now. He says: “Yeh achi baat hai ki Bollywood mein lok sangeet ko chance mil raha hai. Rajasthan, Punjab ya Bengal ka. My first song in Bollywood was Baawre in Luck By Chance,” says Khan who has lent his voice to some sound track for an upcoming film directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. (The scenario has improved. I am glad that folk musicians are getting their due credit and opportunities are now galore to sing in Bollywood.)
Khan who performed in Gurgaon at Cyberhub recently, says, “I enjoy both, but I most like performing live. Jo live mein maza hai audience ke aamne saamne, woh recording mein nahin hai.”
Ask him about his recent visit,and he shares that the traffic jam during his last visit to the city left a bad taste. “It’s good that Gurgaon is progressing and developing. This was during the rains. From airport to our hotel, it took us 3.5 hours which is not normal. Yeh bahut achi baat hai ki mall ban rahe hai, but proper city planning should be taken into consideration as well. Jo paani nikalna chaihye, woh nahi nikal raha hai.”(It’s great that malls are coming up, but a proper drainage system is important too.)
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