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Gaurav Balani: We wrote ‘Sitaron se aage’ after we lost Sonam Sherpa

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Musician Gaurav Balani is known to create music in collaboration with various artists for his band Inalab. The composer and producer recently came out with a single soundtrack “Sitaron se aage” in collaboration with Dhruv Sangari, a sufi and classical Indian vocalist for Inalab.

“Sitaron se aage was written right after we lost Sonam Sherpa (Parikrama’s guitarist), but it took on a bigger meaning once Covid struck, and so many lives were cut short due to the pandemic. Writing this song helped us deal with this horrible situation and find comfort in understanding this tragedy that took over human existence globally,” said Gaurav.

Sonam Sherpa was the lead guitarist of the Indian rock band Parikrama. He died at the age of 48 after a cardiac arrest on February 14, 2020. Sherpa formed Parikrama on June 17, 1991, in the city along with Subir Malik, organ player of the band. Gaurav currently is the bass guitarist in the band along with four members.

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The inspiration of the soundtrack came from Urdu poet Allama Iqbal’s poem “Sitaron se aage”.

“Choosing the poem was Dhruv’s idea. When I told him about the inspiration behind the song, he mentioned the poem ‘Sitaron se aage’ by Allama Iqbal. The poem added a lot more depth to the meaning of our music,” told Gaurav.

Dhruv Sangari, also known as Bilal Chishty Sangari, is one of the last disciples of legendary singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He is a Sufi and classical Indian vocalist, composer and lyricist. He is the son of well-known scholar and author Kumkum Sangari and noted painter Mahendra ‘Manu’ Sangari.

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“Working with Dhruv was a very humbling experience. When we took the song to him, most of the melodic and the harmonic work was done. Once he added the qawwali element to it, we were able to take the song in a very different direction and add a bigger sonic structure to it,” said Gaurav.

“The song was written after we lost a very dear friend. Musically the emotion behind the song is of melancholy and anger — something we all go through while dealing with death,” said Gaurav poignantly.

The prevailing thought behind the song is to instil the feeling of hope and having faith even in the darkest times.

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“The pandemic that shattered so many lives had to make some sort of sense for the ones that were left behind, in order to have something to look forward to and believe that their loved ones are in a better place,” said Gaurav.

Apart from performing on stage all over India with his renowned band Parikrama, Gaurav started Inalab in 2017. It is an experimental electronica setup that essentially aims at creating music that does not define the band in a particular genre.

Gaurav said: “We’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with artistes like Shubha Mudgal ji, Apeksha Dandekar and Ujwal Nagar.”

Talking about the upcoming projects, Gaurav informed: “We are working on our upcoming singles and a music video that’s being shot in Prague. Our next song has a very different vibe from anything we’ve ever done and it features the playback singer Aditi Singh Sharma. We hope to get on stage soon since it’s been so long.”

–By Ekatmata Sharma

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