Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
By virtue of being a member of the celebrated Manganiar community of musicians, Kulta Khan grew up seeing his father and other family members practicing music. Learning music is a tradition with those belonging to the Manganiar community, and Khan was no different. Not that he minded it. As against that, he simply loved music, ,more so the folk music. Inspired by his father, he kept rising the ladder of learning, and success. “I always want to be recognised as a folk musician. I will keep trying to make good music the whole of my life,” says this hardcore Jaisalmer lover. “I was born in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and this is the place I want to live forever,” smiles the singer basking the success of his recently-released song Jhirmir, a performance video single.
“Love and longing are best expressed in music and poetry. I had heard this track in community gatherings as a child and I always liked it. A couple of years ago, while I was jamming with a few friends and it started to rain outside, and I was reminded of this song. It was at that moment that I decided to document this,” says Khan. Excerpts from an interview:
Tell us more about Jhirmir.
Jhirmir is a monsoon special release. It talks about rain and carries the emotions of a wife missing her husband who is away this monsoon season. It is a beautiful blend of traditional Rajasthan folk and Indian electronica.
Jhirmir came after a long wait of three years. We were planning the release of the full album and a few others singles as well. This is very special to me as it’s the first song of my album and the result of our collective efforts is going good. There has been enough rain in the Rajasthan region this time, which is not really something that we see very often… And that’s what makes it even more special in the song as well. It feels good to see that people are loving our song.
How has been the journey so far?
Quite satisfying till now. By allah/God’s grace I received so much love from music lovers and friends. Travelling for shows all around the globe has added more richness to my experiences in life and motivated me towards improving my craft. I am still learning about music and want to always keep learning.
You have collaborated with a number of reputed artistes. Any favourite?
Tough to decide who is a favourite!! All of those artists I collaborated with are best in their work. Working with AR Rahman sir for the Param Sundari song was a dream come true, he is everyone’s favourite. I always love to collaborate with the ace Electronica artists “Midival Punditz” Gaurav (Raina) sir and Tapan (Raj) sir are my favourites to collaborate with on stage or off stage. In fact, Jhirmir and my upcoming album has been produced by Gaurav Sir only.
One artiste you will want to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Ustad Zakir Hussein and Ustad Dildar Hussein saab if I get a chance.
Do folk artistes get the recognition they deserve as we have heard numerous stories of them living in penury after a brief period of fame and money?
I would say that your good work always brings you good recognition, money, fame etc. I agree that there is less stability in a folk artists life but good management of things and balanced plans and most importantly education can help folk artists to avoid penury like situations to come. Hearing such stories is so unfortunate and painful.
How much support does the government, at the state and Centre levels, extend to folk artistes?
I am not really aware about the details or new updates on this subject but I keep hearing some or the other news on regular intervals about the government helping artistes with funds. From my limited knowledge on the subject, I feel that state governments can definitely do more efforts to help folk artistes. It will be the best, if the government can help in educating artistes along with their music. On other hand Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) which comes under central government is doing remarkable things for folk artistes. Many artistes are working with ICCR.
In which country do you get the most receptive audience, the people who enjoy music passionately?
This happens only in India (smiles) but also I would say our music is loved in Europe, and especially French people engage very well with our music/performances. Our folk/Indian music is good and good music is loved everywhere.
Through which medium do you prefer releasing your music and reaching out to more and more listeners?
Nowadays streaming platforms and social media are the best platforms to release music and get good listeners.
What are your plans for future?
My priorities are to release my new songs which are ready and to travel with my band for the upcoming season of shows. And of course taking care of family.