In 1992, after a concert at the city’s Nehru Centre, singer Hariharan received an unlikely request from a teenage stranger who came to meet him in his green room. The excited fan asked if he could teach her music. A decline from him brought about instant waterworks.
“I started crying because I was taken aback. I couldn’t believe that someone I idolised had said ‘no’ to me,” says singer and veteran radio jockey Lavanya, recalling the incident. Hariharan, on his part justifies, “I used to be very busy, so I declined. However, I told her that she could learn from my guru, Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.”
She followed his advice and trained under Khan, even as Hariharan served as a mentor. Now, after two decades, Lavanya has released her debut album Maahi, which has been composed by Hariharan. “It’s extremely kind of him to put together this album for me,” she says.
Maahi, released by Universal Music, features seven songs, with elements of pop, blues and even electronic dance music. Two of the tracks, ‘Maahi’ and ‘Roop tu rang tu’ are collaborations between Lavanya and Hariharan.
“A couple of years ago, Hariji suggested that we work on an album. And in a span of two-three hours, he came up with all these tunes. I was just amazed,” she recalls.
Talking about the album, Hariharan says, “In terms of genres, there is great variety in the album and Lavanya has sung very well. Also, with music labels choosing to support independent artistes like her, the scene looks very promising.”