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‘Voices should tell a story’

‘Voices should tell a story’
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Sonam Kalra, the gifted musician blends gospel numbers with hints of sufi music . The Sufi Gospel Project that took off last year is one such creation that perfectly presents this concept. She believes that the music they (the six members of the project) create transcends religions and faiths. We got talking to the vocalist and tried to know more about her. Read on...

How would you define your musical philosophy?
Musically, I think what appeals to me about voices is that they should be big voices and tell a story - that to me is what a voice should do, sing yes, but also speak, tell you a story without necessarily spelling it out.  Shobha Gurtu, Begum Akhtar and Ella Fitzgerald’s voices were like that- filled with stories that made you want to keep listening to them, for that one glimpse into their hearts,
their souls.
What/Who inspires you?
My greatest inspiration has been my parents, Aneeta and Surjit Kalra. I sing for them. I sing for God. It’s that simple.

In our country, how easy (or difficult) is it to make a mark in the music scene? What do you think about the main issues are?
Honestly, I think it’s a great time in India to be in  the field of music, there are so many live music venues and audiences as well as festivals. And technology and social media have made it so easy to put your music out there so really, I have no complaints.

Tell us about your best tracks
Asking me to tell you what my best track would be like asking a mother to choose which child she loves more, each one of the songs is something I have created with my musicians so how can I choose? I love each of them.

What songs top your playlist right now?
What I am listening to right now is Hum Dekhenge a composition sung by Iqbal Bano based on an  Urdu Nazmwritten by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, with a revolutionary theme. I recently composed a song for women’s rights (for One Billion Rising) based on another poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz so I have been researching a lot of Faiz lately.

What suggestions/advice would you have for newbies in music?
The only advice I can give to anyone in life is that you should be true to yourself and what you believe in. Take risks, don’t imitate. Be the best you that you can be. You have to work hard, whatever you do, not just in the field of music. 
 
How did you guys come together/
start off?
I first conceived of this project when I was asked to sing gospel music to commemorate the birth centenary of the Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan at the Inayat Khan Dargah in Delhi. I had sung gospel in churches and at other music venues but for the Urz of Inayat Khan, I wanted to create a sound that blended the faiths. I belong to the Sikh religion and am often asked why I sing gospel. My answer is always the same - because God has no religion. It’s not a band but a genre of music that I have created. The Sufi Gospel Project is a genre of music that blends together the many voices of faith, through song and music.
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