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Kiran Ahluwalia - JPop.com
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Kiran Ahluwalia

Kiran Ahluwalia

Kiran Ahluwalia


It took many years for Kiran Ahluwalia to find one of the last living masters of ghazal, a form of sung poetry that dates back to 14th century India. When she met Vithal Rao, her teacher and the last living court musician of the king of Hyderabad, she was exposed to a bygone era, a time before Indian independence when princes and kings employed court musicians to put music to ghazal poetry. In a twist of fate, Kiran is now a bridge to this colorful past and has emerged as one of the most preeminent composers of contemporary ghazals. Read more on Last.fm
It took many years for Kiran Ahluwalia to find one of the last living masters of ghazal, a form of sung poetry that dates back to 14th century India. When she met Vithal Rao, her teacher and the last living court musician of the king of Hyderabad, she was exposed to a bygone era, a time before Indian independence when princes and kings employed court musicians to put music to ghazal poetry. In a twist of fate, Kiran is now a bridge to this colorful past and has emerged as one of the most preeminent composers of contemporary ghazals. Because there is such a vast repertoire of this music today, there are very few ghazal composers.

Singers usually stick to the true classics. But Kiran has long been on a path to mastery so that she could one day compose for the sensual and highly literary poetic form. She started her training as a young girl. “When I was growing up in India, very few people had recordings of any kind,” Kiran recalls.

“We would listen to the radio, and when a song came on that I wanted to learn, my mother would quickly write down the lyrics for me.” Kiran studied Indian music from the time she was seven, first in India and then in Canada where she immigrated with her parents. She learned music part time alongside high school and university studies. After finishing her university degree in Toronto, she decided to go back to India to further pursue ghazal and Indian music on a full time basis. Her parents were dismayed.

“Doors were slammed and tears were shed,” recalls Kiran. “But they saw that I was adamant and this was what I needed to do. Before I boarded the plane for India, I had their support.” Kiran spent many years in Bombay, Hyderabad and Punjab studying Indian classical music, ghazals and Punjabi folk songs. Ten years after, she returned to Toronto to record her first commercial CD.

This CD was nominated for Canada1s highest musical honour - the JUNO Award. In the ten years that Kiran was away -- Toronto had changed and quite a surprise was in store for her. She found poets writing beautiful lyrics in the poetic form of ghazals. “A huge door opened up for me”, says Kiran, “Imagine how ecstatic I felt; I sing in a genre that emerged in India in the 14th century, and here we were in the present day; I was composing music in this genre and I could find lyrics to compose to right here in Canada.” Soon, Kiran started composing these poems, recording them and singing them in concert in Canada, India and Pakistan.

Kiran's bi-cultural life experience has made her adept at reaching new audiences, something evident in her approach to composition and arrangements and in her thoughtful and modern explanations when performing on stage. To one recent audience, she explained that ghazals explore the many moods of love, from the ecstatic to the despondent, from pursuing the beloved to feeling the restlessness of unrequited love, and summarized by describing a ghazal as a “highly-literate pick up line.” Kiran earned a JUNO Award in 2004 for her second CD, BEYOND BOUNDARIES. Her self-titled, international debut CD was released on Triloka/Artemis in April 2005. She is currently recording her next CD to be released on Times Square records in North America and World Connection in Europe in the spring of 2007.

Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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