Remixes killing traditional music: Pankaj Udhas

The advent and popularity of remix music has sounded the death knell for traditional music forms, especially classical Indian music, among the youth, according to celebrated ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas.

But Udhas, who has always managed to reinvent himself to retain his popularity by adapting musical scores, remains one of the busiest artists in his genre.

"In fact, in the last three years, I am doing more work than I was, say about five years ago," Udhas told IANS shortly after arriving here Wednesday for a series of concerts in major South African cities.

"It's really been very, very hectic. I've just started playback singing again, and I think by the end of 2005, you'll hear a lot of songs from me."

Udhas, who will mark his 25th year in the music industry with this concert tour, ascribed his success to being able to innovate.

"You've got to move with the times. I've been able to manage that."

He has released an album of songs under his own label, "Velvet Voices".

"I'm just producing now - I've stopped marketing. There's so much of piracy!" he said.

Reminiscing about his previous visits to South Africa, Udhas said: "I've been here many times. Apart from my singing assignments, I've been here for holidays and I've always enjoyed coming back to South Africa.

"In fact, it's one part of the world towards which I've grown a little biased, I would say. I feel that whenever I've come here, this place has given me so much peace of mind and relaxation, besides the love and adoration."

Udhas, who has been brought to South Africa by Swaziland-based promoters Rupali Mahendra and Sandip Chandrakant of Discovery Tours and Travels, promised his fans new items that he has not performed on his previous performances.

About a decade ago, Udhas, along with his brothers Nirmal and Manhar, performed to packed houses throughout the country. This time round he will have solo shows in four towns - Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, over the next week.