Celebrated singer Papon recalled one of his early days when he performed an open act at a live gig for KK and how the late singer inspired the Assamese singing sensation to become a better artiste.
Unspooling his recollections in an interview, Papon said: “I am still very emotional about the whole incident; I mean I am in shock, so I am sorry I think I can’t really articulate what’s going on in my mind.”
And then the thoughts just came out in a torrent. “You know his voice was not just a wonderful voice we all admired, generation after generation, but there was something divine about it,” Papon said. “You see, he was also performing yesterday, in front of so many fans, singing along … that madness, that love from fans. For us artistes, the stage is like our home. Where there is a live audience, we just feel some magic in it.”
He then recalled that early gig where he met KK. “I remember one of my earlier gigs, it was in a huge stadium,” Papon said. “My band and I did the opening act and after us, KK was supposed to perform.”
He continued: “I was young and very nervous … I mean it was KK! It was after ‘Pal’, so obviously, we youngsters were very nervous. But backstage he and his band met us and he was so calm and composed, with his vivid smile! Pura tension chala gaya and we felt so comfortable around him.
“After our act, we sat in the audience and closely watched him live. I realised why KK is KK. I tried to imbibe some of his qualities, but he was a unique artiste, his voice, his personality had a healing touch!”
Papon said that even though like many music lovers he also admired KK, he observed how the artist used to protect his spiritual self and perhaps that is why KK’s voice was intact all throughout his career as a singer.
“He would not hang out or party too much, he was a private person, a family man. Kalyan Barua designed his first album ‘Pal’ and I am close to Kalyan da. So yes, I am still very close to his band, we are still in touch. His voice was aging like wine, the depth in his voice was growing with each passing day. There was so much music in him … kal sab bas khatam ho gaya.”
Papon concluded by saying: “When I am talking right now also, my memory of that concert is just coming back, stadium full of people, stage … lights, sab saath mein gaa rahe the ‘Pal … ye hai pyaar ke pal’ And I, as a budding singer in the audience, was also singing. It’s heartbreaking!”