INTERVIEWS

It’s Folk time with Shankar Mahadevan

At the grand finale of Canara HSBC Life Insurance Company’s Season 5 of its flagship initiative #MeForMyCity where some of the finest music performances by folk singers from across the country came together. We got an opportunity to meet legendary singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan who was the lead mentor of the Talent hunt and share his views on 5 Q’s from R2R.

R2R: What are your views on the show “Me for My City?

SM: Normally, you have these talent hunts where it’s only about Bollywood music, youngsters, old people just singing, you know, regular film music. But here, along with spotting the talent which is the essence of that particular zone, that particular city, that particular state like Rajasthan, Bengal, UP, Andhra Pradesh, each have – you know – our country has got music for every state and for every occasion. A child is born, there’s music. Somebody dies, there’s music. Harvesting, there’s music. Music everywhere! So, all this is tied up with folk music. According to me, folk music is the original form of music in our country. Not even classical music, folk music is something very natural. And the fact that ‘Me for My City’ is promoting folk music, it’s a great thing.

R2R: What would be SM’s way of highlighting India’s musical treasures and cultural variety?

SM: See, you know what, surprisingly I myself have a show which is called ‘My Country, My Music’ which is about featuring folk music across pan India. You know, from Kashmir to Bengal to UP to Rajasthan or Maharashtra – I have folk artists from everywhere! I am already doing it. The fact that I got the chance to tie up with this (Me for My City) is like sone pe suhaga. And I’m so happy to meet all these youngsters from these various zones. And I’m excited to hear them sing. And it’s not about who wins and who doesn’t win. It’s about the fact that they have participated and they’re contributing. Because this is a platform that, at the end of the day, it is promoting the music of our country.

R2R: What is your most favorite folk song? 

SM: Oh, very difficult to say that because I’m a Tamilian who’s born in Maharashtra and I’m doing Bollywood music and, you know, I sing in 10 different languages myself so each and every state – see, that’s what – I’m so used to singing in multiple languages, I know the folk music of every state, you know, and I know the beauty of – how can you compare a Heer to a Rajasthani Kesariya, you can’t compare that! You can’t compare a ‘ekla chalo re’ to another from Rajasthan. You can’t do that. Each one has got it’s own beauty, it’s own [music]

R2R: And what can we expect from you next in the upcoming months? 

SM: My academy is in 88 countries now so it’s expanding. Today, as we speak, in the morning 650 students from my academy, who are from the underprivileged sectors, performed today at Shanmukhananda Hall, I’m coming from there only. So, they’re all, like, children from Dharavi and Dombivali and we teach them. We had their performance called ‘Inspire India.

R2R: What does SM like to do in his free time?

SM: There never seems to be there anytime but I enjoy my yoga, cooking, travelling with my family when that is possible.

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