Mumbai: At 84, singing legend Lata Mangeshkar has released her first Sufi songs album and has credited her nephew nephew Baijnath, who has composed the numbers and sung a duet in `Ya Rabba` with her, for trying out the genre.
"If it wasn`t for him, I wouldn`t have attempted the genre. But Baijnath is so shy... I had to virtually coax him into doing the album," she said.
You do go all out for your family, don`t you?
"It isn`t as if they ever ask me to do anything for them...My family is too self-respecting to seek favours from anyone, including me. Like I said, I took the initiative for the album because I wanted Baijnatha`s efforts to be heard," she added.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Your new album coincides with your father Dinanath Mangeshkar`s death anniversary?
A: Yes. We released my new album on my father`s death anniversary on April 24 for my label LM Music. It`s called "Ya Rabba". For the first time I`ve sung Sufi devotional songs. They are very much the trend these days, but I`ve never gone by what the market wants. I`ve always followed my heart.
Q: So what made you do a Sufi album?
A: My nephew Baijnath. He has composed the numbers and sung a duet in the album with me. If it wasn`t for him, I wouldn`t have attempted the genre. But Baijnath is so shy, he doesn`t even say anything beyond a hello and a bye to even me. I had to virtually coax him into doing the album.
Q: You do go all out for your family, don`t you?
A: It isn`t as if they ever ask me to do anything for them. My brother Hridaynath, whom I consider one of the most talented musicians in this country, never asked me to recommend him to my producers. My family is too self-respecting to seek favours from anyone including me. Like I said, I took the initiative for the album because I wanted Baijnatha`s efforts to be heard.
Q: You`ve sung duets with everyone from Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar to Kumar Sanu and Adnan Sami. What was it like singing with your own nephew?
A: When I am standing in front of the microphone, I forget who`s singing with me. I become one with the song. And when it`s a devotional number I am even more immersed in the words and the feelings. In fact, the reason I launched my label LM Music was to be able to sing devotional music. You`ll notice all my albums on the label are spiritual or devotional.
Q: The words have always been very important to your singing.
A: Yes, poet-lyricists like Pradeep and Bharat Vyas would write their lyrics with the tune. Music is an integral part of poetry.
Q: You`ve sung in Punjabi in your new album?
A: Yes. But it isn`t the first time. I`ve sung in Punjabi many times in the past. In fact I`ve sung in nearly every Indian language and also in English. Let`s see how my efforts are liked this time. Nowadays music hardly sells off the shelf. It`s all on the internet or the I Pod. LM Music has tied up with Saregama to ensure my new album reaches out as far far and wide as possible.
Q: You recorded your new album "Ya Rabba" at your own studio?
A: Yes, when we launched our label we also opened our own recording studio in Andheri(Mumbai). It`s a very small.
Q: After more than 65 years of singing you continue to be our national treasure. What summits remain for you to conquer?
A: (Laughs) It`s difficult to put fullstops to an artiste`s goals and achievements. Speaking for myself as a singer, new destinations have appeared during the journey of life. One needs an incentive to keep moving forward. The day an artiste feels she has done it all she`s finished. Whether it`s a writer, actor or a star he or she should never feel I`ve nothing more to achieve.