To the world it may seem that having the legendary Mangeshkar name makes making music easy but in reality it is a daunting task to come even close to all the expectations.
While there is an enormous richness in the musical environment growing up in such a blessed family with the haloed presence of the so many greats around along with some genetic predisposition however to eventually make music which lives up to the high standards of the name and yet creates an individual identity is a journey fraught with its own struggles.
With his first solo album, ‘Within You’, Baiju Mangeshkar not only lives up to his legacy but creates a unique pathbreaking identity of his own. Combining his talent as an artist from J.J. School of Arts and his musicality as a composer and singer, the vision given by Baiju on his first solo is nothing short of ingenious. ‘Within You’ is a soulful bouquet of six songs with the theme based on Sufism.
He explores the wide and deep ocean of Sufi songs with a musicality which is not only superbly imaginative but unconventional too. Moving away from the traditional sound of Sufi kalams, Baiju explores the musical dimensions of soulful world music thereby presenting a beautiful and rich realm of calm and serenity.
In envisioning compositions, sounds and rendering with such soulful depths Baiju takes the listener on an inner journey. Every song in the album sung in his deep and soulful voice resonates in a manner where as a listener one is truly transported to a higher dimension. The videos on three kalams from the album on YouTube are equally captivating and artistic painting a visual and sound scape rarely explored before.
The style is contemporary with inflections of World Music and yet its soul punctuating the Indian Classical traditions surrounding the lyric/kalaam of great revered Sufi saint poets of 16th century India namely Hazrat Shah Hussain, Baba Bulley Shah and Khwaja Ghulam Farid.
The album also includes two modern and contemporary songs that are sufiyana in thought written by an emerging talented young poetess Amruta.
The music for all the songs has been arranged by Jatin Sharma, a well known name to recon within the Indian music industry and with a host of extremely talented Indian musicians contributing to the soundscape.
One of the highlights in the musical arrangements is the collaboration with two brilliant musicians from America; Susan Mazer, a jazz harp virtuosa and Dallas Smith, a master of woodwinds and the saxophone. They are veterans in the world of jazz music who have worked with none other than the great world legends such as Frank Sinatra, Ahmed Jamal and Johnny Mathis to name a few and our very own R.D.Burman. Their contribution and style have added a unique dimension to the music and to the world of sufi music.
Sufi poetry is profound and clearly aspires to elevate ‘being’ from humanity to divinity; into the realms of unconditional love and peace. It is timeless and perpetual, and more importantly always relevant in every era, especially in this bleak age of injustice, escalating violence, increasing irreverence and the unfortunate recent world pandemic. In such a time, Sufi poetry and music are akin to a soothing balm to heal the spirit.
Baiju Mangeshkar paints an innovative and transformational canvas with this sufi album thereby chartering not only a new sound to Indian independent music but opening a new path and identity for himself in the genre of soul music.