Sona Mohapatra: I reinterpret old songs to bridge cultural, generational gap

Singer Sona Mohapatra who released her new song Nit khair manga, in collaboration with artiste Asit Kumar Patnaik, says that interpreting a Sufi qawwali and presenting it in a fresh new soundscape is one of the ways to keep alive heritage and tradition for the future generation.

“This is not the only kind of music that I do, but yes I believe in re-interpreting some classics, be it sufiyana kalam or folk music. The whole idea is to present it in a soundscape that is fresh and new-age, I think it helps us to bridge the gap and keep our tradition alive for the new generation. I do such music also to be relevant as an artiste,” Sona told IANS.

Earlier, the song was widely performed and recorded by the legendry Sufi singer Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

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“I also think that I love to be surrounded by young people. My team is full of youngsters who usually amaze me but at times also infuriate me. I am saying this from my observation that there is a cultural drift from our roots, and it is becoming more every day. There is a section, especially in urban India, which looks to the western world for inspirations. While I would love t o believe that I am a global citizen, I take great pride in the cultural root and flaunt it. That makes me unique. Our culture gives us a unique identity,” said Sona.

This is not the first time that Sona has re-interpreted old classics. She presented her rendition of “Piya se naina”, which was written by the 13th century poet Hazrat Amir Khusro. “Rangabati”, a popular song from Odisha, was another example that she has performed. Both the new renditions were composed by Ram Sampath.

“I believe that culture is about music, art, stories and not about everything else that the polarised social media seems to be fighting about, and our political space seems to be full of, right now. My way of reducing the gene rational and cultural gap is to present such music out with a brand-new pers pective,” the singer said.

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Referring to one of her earlier renditions of the Odiya traditional song ” Nilamani”, which she dedicated to the people of Odisha affected by the recent cyclone Amphan, Sona said: “That was my ode to East India, my ode to Odisha, a land that has rich culture, heritage and music. In the mainstream, we only seem to hear a lot of Punjabi songs. There is nothing wrong in that but we should focus on the music from all parts of India. Now, with ‘Nit khair manga’, I am saying the same thing — that all good music, be it Punjabi or Odiya, should find its space.”

–IANS

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