In a first of its kind recording in the world, the city of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, an elite 80 member outfit, has joined hands with India?s leading vocalist, Sonu Niigaam, to create a unique first of its kind album, ?Rafi Resurrected??
The album originated from a discussion that composer / arranger for the Orchestra, Tim Pottier had with an Indian friend over two years ago. This got Tim interested in Indian film music and Mohammad Rafi in particular and over the course of the next one year, Pottier listened to dozens of Rafi songs in search of material that would work when played by a symphony orchestra. He finally chose the 18 songs that appear on this album and these were performed at a show in Birmingham early April, last year.
The CBSO then approached Sa Re Ga Ma with the vision of releasing an album. The company took the concept a step further by requesting the one person who does the best rendition of Mohammad Rafi and considers him his ?spiritual Guru?, to bring his magic to the album ? Sonu Niigaam, the singer who has a karmic connection with ?His? Rafi Saab.
The CBSO parts were recorded in Birmingham and Sonu will now dub the resultant tracks Mumbai from April 18, at Empire Studios.
Sonu is as enthusiastic about the project as Sa Re Ga Ma, despite having refused to cover songs by Mohammad Rafi on several occasions in the recent past. ?I share Sa Re Ga Ma?s vision of taking Indian music to a higher platform through endeavors like this,? says Sonu. ?It is time due recognition was given to Rafi Saab who is like my unseen father in the Heavens and whom I revere like a son does?.
Pottier is equally enthusiastic about having Sonu being the voice of the project. ?He is an astonishingly talented singer,? he says. ?I heard him sing two of the songs in 15 minutes flat when I visited Mumbai recently and was absolutely blown away. He is unbelievable!!?
?Rafi Resurrected...? is an 18 song extravaganza that for the first time combines a symphonic interpretation of Indian film music. The songs included such gems as the 1963 ?Yaad Na Jaaye Beete Dinon Ki? from the film ?Dil Ek Mandir?, the ever popular ?Tareef Karoo Kya Uski? from the film ?Kashmir Ki Kali?, ?Pathar Ke Sanam? from the film of the same name to the absolutely brilliant ?Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho? from the film ?Hanste Zakhm? which was composed by Madan Mohan and written by Kaifi Azmi.
Sa Re Ga Ma feels that the album could be the start of a series of Indian music collaborations between artists of different styles and help to put Indian music on the global platform. ?Rafi Resurrected...? is scheduled for worldwide release in July this year.