Indian Ocean’s Amit Kilam is back to doing what he does best —making music from the heart. The celebrated drummer and vocalist is all set to introduce his daughters Meyhaa and Kaira with ‘Roshè’, a popular Kashmiri folk song, originally penned by Kashmiri legend Habba Khatoon.
Sisters Meyhaa and Kaira are finally out with their soulful rendition of the song, which is an integral part of Kashmir’s heritage. Amit also lends his vocals to the track that takes listeners through a rollercoaster of emotions — hurt, agony, passion and rage, all entwined in a beautiful and heart-wrenching melody. ‘Roshè’ also marks the launch of Meyhaa and Kaira’s official YouTube channel, where listeners can expect several other music gems from the talented duo.
The song was originally written by celebrated Kashmiri poet Habba Khatoon. Filled with anger, wrath, passion and pain, ‘Roshè’ is minimal but invoking, soft but thought-provoking. On being asked why he chose a Kashmiri folk song to debut with his daughters, Amit shared, “You know we are all Kashmiris at home. Since we have been into music for a long time, one of the moral exercises at home is to educate the girls in their tradition and language and music of their forefathers. It is also one of my favourite songs.”
When asked if he would continue to make more music in Kashmiri, Amit said, “I would love to go back and look for some old folk musicians and sing with them. There are some brilliant new young singers who sing very well in Kashmiri. In fact, I am on my own doing a Kashmiri song with the Kashmiri artists, which is under production. It got stalled for a few months, but there are a lot of Kashmiri people involved in that. We are going to invite all the new young talent to sing. It will be like all Kashmiris coming together under one roof.”
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Talking about their first song, Meyhaa and Kaira jointly revealed, “Roshè was a track very close to our hearts. We immediately felt a strong connection to it and a deep sense of empathy. We knew this was something we wanted to hear and wanted people to hear. We hope we’ve done justice to this beautiful song.”
The proud father added, “Both Meyhaa and Kaira are extremely passionate about music and have a signature style that’s unique and hopefully will resonate with the Gen Z audience. It’s quite challenging to take a legendary piece of poetry and make it relevant to the current generation. I’m proud to be part of Roshè and extremely proud of the girls.”
The song, however, has been released on the internet on their personal Youtube channel. When quizzed about the idea to release the song on the internet alone, Amit said, “As of now, it is just one song, which is why I think the internet is a great way to promote the song. However, once we do five or six songs together and record them, then we intend to release a full-fledged CD.”
So then, are youtube channels the next big thing for musicians to showcase their talent? “Just like everything else in life, this too has its advantages and disadvantages in equal proportions. Even 15 years ago, I might not have been able to release just one song to the public. That also not unless a record company had come to us and offered to record our song. But that is possible now. Today, everyone gets a chance to showcase their talent. If people like it, it will automatically become popular. Also, for musicians like us, it helps us to stay in touch with fans,” he pointed out.
After speaking about the pros, Amit elaborated on the cons. “There is also a lot of clutter on the internet because everybody is posting something or the other. So, you never know what you will bump into. One has to sift through a lot of rubbish to find the good stuff. If you want to make your song popular, you have to spend lakhs of rupees on digital marketing. Independent artistes don’t have that kind of money. Music platforms like gaana.com or Spotify make very little money for the artistes. You need lakhs of downloads to actually make good money from such sites. Also, the artiste has to do it all by himself. The marketing, social media posts, etc. All that is not his real skill, but he ends up doing all things that are not his area of expertise,” Amit stated.
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As a result of such industry overhaul, artistes are now making money from web series and films only. “The only way to make sustainable music is composing for jingles in advertisements or film music. In the absence of concerts and live performances in the pandemic situation, that is the only way artistes can survive now. Everything else looks really bleak,” Amit rued.
When asked about his future projects with his band, Amit said, “We are currently making music for an OTT platform series which is under production. Besides that, we have just finished composing background music and songs for a beautiful small film based on communal harmony. We are also working on our biggest project, which is the eighth album of Indian Ocean, and we are planning to release it in the next few months.”