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The long haul
Vocalist Loveleena Kumar pays tribute to her mentor, Anup Jalota
published in the February 2004 issue of veena Indian Arts Review.

In an entire career, spanning 20 years from 1984 to 2004, I have performed most extensively with Anup Jalota. I've sung with other artists as well but with Anup it's been a long haul. I guess our musical temperaments match and compliment each other.

Music is a balm, a soothing 'tranquiliser' in troubled, stormy times. It can cement broken ties and calm distressed minds. Music knows no language. It is international and speaks of a universal culture and ethos.

Anup Jalota is an artist who subscribes to this theory wholeheartedly. He is always eager to sing in places where there has been some political turmoil or unease. His bhajans and ghazals have a calming effect on warring factions. He has been to Ladakh and plans to sing in Kashmir and other places where his music can calm the waters of troubled times.

After September 11, 2001, I did a recording with him in Mumbai. When the entire world was shaken, not prepared to take flights, he was there in the studio 'til three a.m., supervising my recording, as a producer and music director would do. His zealous nature pervades his entire music repertoire and work ethic.

Anup is also gifted with tremendous patience, and calm in his temperament. In Amsterdam he was made to wait for one and a half hours before his performance, enduring speeches and lengthy discourses! I was performing with him and I watched his composure and resilience with awe.

Once he was on stage he was in command, controlling every move and emotion of the audience with tremendous charm and confidence. I took over after interval for about half an hour and, by that time, the audience was spellbound. The audience wanted variety. A female voice was an added bonus and consolidated the evening's performance. In my performance that evening I made a slight error, but Anup did not complain. Next time I was doubly sure not to make any technical errors.

I wish best of luck to his other colleagues and students who perform with him.

A bhangra album is in the pipeline. If the sponsorship comes through I shall be singing Punjabi songs under the direction of Anup. Punjabi music is happy music. It is invigorating and is very upbeat. Bhangra has recently found its way into the pop charts in London and is playing all over UK and Europe. The beat is tremendous and the melody is full of fun, joy and laughter. We hope for the success of our own forthcoming album, an amalgamation of pop songs and Punjabi music.

Loveleena Kumar was born in Srinagar and studied in Delhi with Ustad Munawar Ali Khan and Ustad Amir Ali Khan. She now lives in England.