It is no surprise that Kailash Kher’s Kailasa chose to hop onto a houseboat on Dal Lake to shoot their latest video. The track, Yaadaan Teriyan… is from the Kashmiri artiste’s upcoming album, Rangeele, which he hopes will help keep the memories of his village alive. "The songs are all part of the world I grew up in. Daaro Na Rang… was written almost seven years ago, when I was travelling unreserved in a train," Kher recalls.
Others like Katha Gaan…, a storytelling experiment, are Kher’s way of piecing together stories from childhood memory. "My grandmother would tell us stories about gypsies, princesses and sorcerers," he says.
Kailasa, comprising seven other members — Naresh and Paresh Kamath, Sameer Chiplunkar, Kurt Peters, Sanket Naik, Sankarshan Kini and Tejasvi Rao — follows suit from its previous three endeavours, in blending Indian folk, Sufi with western rhythms for its latest outing, Rangeele. "All our songs explore the different aspects of love," says Kher, before taking the cue for Babaji…, a Sufi masterpiece that he composed for his son, Kabir, when he was in the womb.
The album will also see Kher rap for the first time. "I realised village kids have been rapping long before American rappers became cool," he laughs. Talking about his song, "Hud Kaan Maan Bitti Bitti…, Kher breaks into a Shankar Mahadevan-esque breathless mode. "The song is based on a game we played as kids. The loser in a game of gilli-danda would have to piggy-back ride the winner, and the rider would run around that way chanting the words "Hud Kaan Maan Bitti, Bitti, Bitti, Bitti, Bitti… until he ran out of breath," he explains.
Rangeele is also the first album the group will release under their own independent label, Kailasa Records. "With our label, we wish to offer transparency to the artiste, something that the industry lacks as of now," Kher says.
Out later this month
Slated to release on November 25, Kailasa plans a country tour to reach out to fans. Kher has also launched his band’s YouTube channel and iPhone app and is now working on other platforms too. "For Rangeele, we plan to release 10 videos from the 12-song album. From the song name to what they would like to see, we are constantly in touch with them through the social network," Kher says, signing off.