“Kaifi aur Main” and the talented Ghazal Maestro Jaswinder Singh

By Manju Mittal

An extremely talented young Ghazal and Sufi singer Jaswinder Singh has established himself as a versatile performer through a varied range of ghazals and sufi songs. He has been awarded “The young Ghazal Maestro” by Indian Music Academy. The title was presented by Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia in the presence of the former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Jaswinder has performed over five hundred live concerts all over the globe. Jaswinder’s subtle command on the grammar of the raga, the melodic structures the rhythmic disciplines and the distinctive technique of voice with its demands makes it a pleasant experience for the audience.

Jaswinder is the son of the famous legendary composer Kuldeep Singh, composer of ghazals such as ”˜Tumko dekha to ye khayal aaya’ from the movie ”˜Saath Saath’ and soulful prayer ”˜Itni Shakti hame dena data’ from ”˜Ankush’. Jaswinder has proven himself as an artist, he has three albums to his credit: “Ishq nahi asaan’, “Yours truly” and “Dilkash”.  The talented singer also performs a unique theatrical concert titled “Kaifi aur Main” along with Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar.

I caught up with Jaswinder Singh during his solo concert “Justujoo” in Mumbai recently. My moments with him felt precious when talented ghazal maestro shared his passion for music, his personal musical journey and views about his stage show “Kaifi aur Main” as we touched many other aspects of his busy life.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what age did you start singing?

From my childhood I have been intensely involved in music under the guidance of my father. I belong to a musical family and grew up in the environment of classical music and poetry. My father Kuldeep Singh who is also my guru and composer of the evergreen melodies in Bollywood, who taught me the nuances of ghazal gayaki and he plays a major role and is a great influence on my life.  I have also learnt Indian classical music from Dr. Sushila Pohankar and Pt. Ajay Pohankar. I am fascinated by poetry and sufi music which I feel is a way of expressing yourself through words.

How do you feel about your upcoming “Kaifi aur Main” tour to Australia and New Zealand in March? Can you tell us about “Kaifi aur Main”?

“Kaifi aur Main” is actually a play but we call it a theatrical presentation as it is very unique combination of renowned Urdu poet and film lyricist Kaifi Azmi’s life and works seen through the eyes of his wife, noted theatre and film actress Shaukat Kaifi, brought to life by his daughter Shabana Azmi and son-in-law Javed Akhtar. This theatrical collage has received standing ovations and rave reviews in India and across the world.

I am extremely happy after a successful tour of various countries ”˜Kaifi aur Main’ is coming to the Australia and NZ in March. This is a great pride for all of us to bring this unique musical play to Australia and NZ audience. “Kaifi aur Main” is a sophisticated play where the emotions are conveyed by the dialogue delivery and subtle acting. I am sure ”˜Kaifi aur Main’ will take audience on a journey back in time.

Jaswinder ji, can you share your experience working with two legendary iconic actors Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar?

Undoubtedly “Kaifi aur Main” has been an amazing journey for me and I have been extremely fortunate to work with two living legends. Working with them has been great process of learning and exploring all the time. It’s absolutely delight to work with them and I consider myself lucky to be part of “Kaifi aur Main”.

Is there a particular song that is close to your heart?

All my songs were well received by music lovers and all my songs are close to my heart. But yes there is one special song “Sakht rahon main bhi aasaan safar lagta hai, yeh meri Maa ki duao ka asar lagta hai”. This song has always tugged at my heart and all times moistened my eyes.

What does music mean to you and who inspires you?

Music is my life; I don’t know anything else besides music. Music offers me relaxation from life challenges; I forget all my worries when I am lost in the music world.  I have been a great admirer of Mehndi Hasan saab and Jagjit Singh ji. I was very lucky to spend four years with the Ghazal samrat Jagjit ji and got motivated and encouraged by him. Jagjit Singh inspired me a lot.

Any plans for Bollywood?

Yes, Bollywood is a great medium to promote ghazals. Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas have sung ghazals and songs in films.  If I get such songs, I would definitely love to sing.

How would you describe yourself as a singer and any message to your friends and fans based in Australia and New Zealand?

I consider myself a light romantic singer with sizeable exposure to the musical Industry. I would like to thank all my listeners for all the love and affection they have showered on me.  I believe in Love, I promote Love, Ishq and Mohabbat, that is the message I am conveying, I personally feel that there is only one thing that is fading away in our lives, and that is love; Mera paigam ”˜Jigar Muradabadi’ ke ek sher ke zariye kehna chachta hu “Unka jo kaam hai ahal-e-siyasat woh jaane, mera paigam hai mohabbat jahan tak pahunche”.

It was pleasure interviewing Jaswinder Singh. We sincerely wish Jaswinder ji best of luck in all his future endeavours and looking forward to watch his live performance in March 2018 “Kaifi aur Main” Australia and NZ tour.


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