BENGALURU: Sufi folk artiste Aabha Hanjura’s latest single, Nundbane, speaks of the beauty of Kashmir, her home which her family had to flee in 1990. Drawing inspiration from the folklores of the region, the single is the fifth in her upcoming six-track album, Sound of Kashmir. While her previous single, Hukus Bukus, portrayed childhood nostalgia, spiritual philosophy and the works of Kashmiri saint and mystic poet Lal Ded, Nundbane is her modern touch to the words of yesteryear poet Mahmud Gami.
“This song pays an ode to love, and when you think of Kashmir, a similar feeling arises. A lot of the folklore in the Valley revolves around love and out of the long list of works by poets, Nundbane has been a favourite. While the melodic content speaks to me, the visual metaphors drawn by Mahmud Gami are beautiful and I wanted to add my touch to it,” says the 31-year-old Bengaluru-based musician. Hanjura, a former media professional, revived her passion for music seven years ago, after she visited her house in Srinagar.
Retaining the words of the poet, Hanjura’s version showcases a dense instrument arrangement with traditional Kashmiri instruments like rabab, tumbaknaer (goblet drum) and santoor, topped off by guitar and drum parts. “I aim to put the listener into a space which showcases the coming together of rustic folk elements with a modern and contemporary touch. I want the listener to feel the soul of the song but to also experience the fresh elements,” she says.
Ask her if her songwriting heavily borrows inspiration from the Valley’s history and culture, and she joyfully agrees. “I have always emphasised that in terms of songwriting, Kashmir has been my muse, specifically in this album. Even when I write in Hindi, my Kashmiri roots seep into my music. I am very inspired by the history, culture and musical richness, all of which I have tried to showcase in the upcoming album,” says Hanjura.
While the ongoing pandemic has brought its own set of challenges, the singer-songwriter looks to release the complete album in the near future. “While this album has been in the pipeline for a while now, there is more material which I had recorded prior to the lockdown which will drop very soon. Although the pandemic has put a halt to my live performances, the rest of my music will continue,” she concludes.