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Aabha Hanjura Invokes the Beauty of Kashmir on ‘Khoobsurat’

Drawing from Kashmiri folk poetry and Hindi lyrics, the singer-composer has released her first bilingual original song

Rolling Stone India Nov 09, 2020

Jammu and Kashmir-bred vocalist Aabha Hanjura. Photo: Prabal Deep

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Bengaluru-based Kashmiri singer-songwriter Aabha Hanjura stays an eternal optimist with her latest single “Khoobsurat,” featuring Hindi and Kashmiri lyrics which go over feel-good folk-fusion elements.

While we’ve seen the bandleader behind folk-pop project Sufistication often inject rock on songs like the two-part “Roshewalla” and “Nundbane” (which released in July this year), “Khoobsurat” finds itself in a lilting realm. She describes it as a “reflection of who I am and how I see the world.” Hanjura adds in her statement, “This song happens to have strains of both of my roots and my mantra for life – which is to choose positivity over negativity, to look around us and focus on the beauty and the good in the world, rather than just the negativity that happens to engulf us today and has only grown more intense in these unprecedented times.”

Produced by Hriday Goswami, the track features Hanjura’s go-to list of musicians from Bengaluru and beyond. Rooted in santoor by Ashwini Walawalkar, “Khoobsurat” features tabla artist Biplab Bhattacharya, while Tony Das (from rock band Peepal Tree) handles guitars and banjo and Bharath Kashyap (from indie/acoustic trio Cinema of Excess) adds acoustic guitar intricacies. Bassist Prashanth Gnanamuthu (from rockers Perfect Strangers) and drummer Willy Demoz (also from Peepal Tree) handle the rhythm section with additional programming and keys by Shajith Humayun and Goswami.

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Straightforward and happiness-inducing, the song features traditional Kashmiri lyrics and Hindi verses penned by Hanjura, making it her first bilingual song that isn’t a cover or adaptation. “2020 has taught me to be grateful for all the good in my life and in the world, this song celebrates that feeling – I’m hoping it resonates with the fans and it puts a smile on their faces and brings some cheer during this festive time,” Hanjura adds.

Watch the lyric video for “Khoobsurat” below. Stream on more platforms here.

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