Bollywood classics and Lata Mageshkar and Asha Bhosle inspiration…
BY Mamie Colfox
DRAWING the curtain down on the fifth Sama Arts Women in the Arts Festival is a singer with an ever-growing international reputation.
Best-known for her renditions of Bollywood classics, Kiran Sachdev brings the two-part six-month long Women in the Arts Festival to a close on Saturday (April 9) in London.
Flying over specially from Germany where she is based, she told www.asianculturevulture.com about the thrill of singing in Britain.
“It’s one of those events where I’m really pleased with the ensemble of musicians who are playing with me. These songs I’ve put together for the show are some of my own favourites and I know that the audience is going to be the kind that appreciates the music, and that’s why I’m looking forward to the event.”
She has a growing Youtube channel and a dedicated fan following that is likely to be out in force on Sunday and says she finds juggling her work as a software engineer with her singing a little tricky.
The opportunities in Germany are not the same and she jumps at the opportunities to perform in the UK but it does mean that audiences here don’t get to see her as much as they might want.
Passionate about singing, she told acv: “There is not as much performing there for me as there is in the UK, so I often end up travelling to the UK for my events, because the audience in the UK is amazing, it’s one of the best. In Germany there aren’t as many Asian audiences and it’s not as culturally rich as the UK is.”
She has spoken too about her love of Lata Mangeshkar who passed away in February this year, aged 92 and her sister Asha Bhosle who is also also a hugely popular singer. Both icons have many Bollywood tracks to their name and Mangeshkar, referred to as India’s nightingale, remains an inspiration for many.
Describing Mangeshkar as “unmatchable”, she said that it was the star’s simplicity that made her so compelling – using only what was essential to the song at hand, and not having to use her full range.
As a child, Sachdev recounts listening to her father sing and play the harmonium, which first sparked her interest in music.
“My father used to sing, not professionally, but he was very fond of singing.
“We had this instrument called the harmonium at home, and he used to play and sing at home, and I used to sit beside and listen to him sing. So the inclination has been there ever since I can remember.”
She did not consciously go into singing as a career until her late teens, when she realised music was a very major part of her life.
She told acv: “My late teens was when I realised a very big part of my heart was in music, and I really wanted to take this up as something major in my life.”
Her journey to breaking into the music industry was gradual.
Growing up in a small city meant there wasn’t much musical opportunity growing up, until her father made the decision to move to Mumbai, “where most of the music happens in terms of Bollywood”, she explained.
“I got myself admitted in a college which I knew was very much into music and cultural events. So, when I was singing at these festivals at the college, there were people coming in from the music industry, judging us at events, and they started calling me for small projects.
“It was a struggle but it was also exciting in a way,” she revealed. “It was one step at a time, and that’s why it was exciting, because it wasn’t all at once that I jumped into the industry. I was gradually getting bigger and bigger venues.”
When asked if she prefers to perform or record, she admits she likes both; being on stage is based on audience reaction, whilst recording gives her the freedom to be herself.
“Being on stage is a very different high, because you get the reactions of the audience instantly, and also it’s a very beautiful give and take between the listener and the performer.”
“However, when I am singing, for example in a recording studio, I can be myself. I don’t have to pose or make a facial expression which is very pleasing.”
Sachdev expressed an interest in releasing some original music, since she loves to come up with random compositions during practice, and is in the process of recording cover songs for her YouTube channel.
Jay Visvadeva the organiser and the man behind Sama Arts has been in the music business a long time and said the festival had helped artists to get back to performing in front of audiences and was particularly excited about Sachdev bringing the curtain down.
“She is a marvellous singer and hearing her sing live is always uplifting and a joyful experience. We’re thrilled she’s closing the festival.
“It’s been a very challenging time for all, and the festival in two parts has worked as we’ve recovered – we’re now planning for our sixth with more certainty and confidence and excited about the future. I wanted to give women artists the space and platform to grow and excel and this is happening.”
The Sama Arts Women in the Arts Festival was split into two parts, with the first taking place last year and this second part resuming in March. Many of the artists appeared in both parts.
The most recent started on March 12 with Mehtab Malhotra; Ghazals, Words, Music and Poetry – Works of Modern & Traditional Urdu Poets’ at Tara Arts and included performances by storyteller Vayu Naidu, singer Sohini Alam and her cross-cultural band, Khiyo, and singers Sparsh Bajpai and Saachi Sen.
Kiran Sachdev – Women in the Arts Festival, Harrow Arts Centre, 171 Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, HA5 4EA
020 3773 7161 / email@example.com
More info/booking: https://harrowarts.com/whats-on/event/women-in-arts-festival-1
Women in the Arts Festival – http://www.sama.co.uk/
Kiran Sachdev Youtube