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Ankur Tewari To Release New Single With Farhan Saeed

Tewari collaborates with the former vocalist of Pakistani band, Jal, on a track titled ‘Ilteja’ that promotes communal harmony

Rolling Stone India Aug 06, 2012
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Ankur Tewari and Farhan Saeed at Blue Frog Studios, Mumbai. Photo: Sajid Maklai

When vocalist Ankur Tewari returned from Lahore in 2010 after recording his debut album Jannat, he had forged a new bond with the city and its musicians. “I’ve been to Pakistan five times now and every time I’ve visited, I’ve felt let down by politicians and leaders from both countries,” says 35-year-old Tewari, “I felt that most of the hatred [between the two neighboring nations] is politically motivated.” The vocalist channeled this sense of disillusionment for a singled titled “Ilteja” [Urdu for prayer or request] and now plans to release it as a duet with Farhan Saeed, former vocalist of Pak pop band Jal. “If the government can’t help settle differences, then we as musicians want to,” adds Saeed. 

Saeed was among the musicians that Tewari caught up with during his stay in Pakistan. Both vocalists first met in 2008 when Jal launched its second album Boondh in Mumbai. “I’d opened for Jal during that show,” recalls Tewari. Since Jal’s drummer hadn’t flown in, Mumbai musician Sidd Coutto had stepped in on the drums for their launch gig. “This was the first time that I’d heard Sidd and really wanted him to be a part of my band,” says Tewari, who fronts Ankur  & The Ghalat Family. Coutto eventually joined The Ghalat Family and Tewari has continued to collaborate with Saeed. Both Tewari and Saeed have previously jammed a track named “Pi Jaun,” (see video here) a single that Saeed released in April, this year. “I also performed with Ankur at Blue Frog this year. There’s no crowd like [the one I’ve seen] in India,” says Saeed.

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Tewari adds that he’s also been received with warmth every time he’s visited Pakistan. “The citizens of both countries only want peace and want to put the past behind them. Gulzar saab summed it up well when I once interviewed him. He said that when one refers to 1947, the first thought that comes to mind isn’t of Indian Independence but of The Partition.”

Both Tewari and Saeed have been working on the new track, “Ilteja,” for the past two weeks.  Says Saeed, “I love the hookline of the track ”˜Ye Dua Tere Liye Hai/Yeh Ilteja Tere Liye Hai.’ Ankur has written some fantastic lyrics for the track.” The track is being produced by Ashutosh Pathak, composer and founding partner of the club, Blue Frog. Is “Ilteja” being readied for an Independence Day release? “We haven’t planned how and when to release it as yet, but it will most probably be released online. Maybe on YouTube,” says Saeed. 

Catch Ankur and The Ghalat Famliy at Blue Frog, Delhi on August 9th, 2012, 9.30 pm onwards. Entry Rs 300 9 pm onwards.

Watch what Tewari has to say about Ilteja here:


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