Watch Kashmiri Singer-Songwriter Ali Saffudin’s Spirited New Song ‘Asaan Gindaan’
Prepping for a full-length record via Azadi Records later this year, the artist sings of love but also remembers those lost in the valley’s strife
In October last year, one of the most unlikeliest of surprises sprung up on stage at predominantly hip-hop label Azadi Records’ takeover in Mumbai – Kashmiri singer-songwriter Ali Saffudin.
Amongst DJs, firebrand rap acts such as Prabh Deep, Seedhe Maut, Swadesi, Ahmer and Tienas, Saffudin calls it “the most crazy experience I had as a performer.” He adds, “I was ready to get some bottles and stuff thrown at me. The crowd was jumpy and I had to play a calm set.” Once he launched into “Jinki Wajah Se,” a song he says is “a commentary about who ruined Kashmir,” a slow acceptance arrived.
Right after that, Saffudin was on his way to New Delhi’s Ghar Ka Studios, teaming up with guitarist-producer Ritwik De, bassist Amar Pandey, drummer Suyash Gabriel and more for his upcoming yet-to-be-titled album with Azadi Records. With the 10-track record currently in the mixing stage, the singer-songwriter has one stand-alone offering in the form of “Asaan Gindaan.”
While the first two minutes of the song see Saffudin extol the natural beauty of the valley and its people’s resilience, “Asaan Gindaan” transforms effortlessly into a heartfelt tribute to “the blooming flowers, who got nipped in the bud,” hinting at the massive loss of lives over decades. Saffudin says boldly that the release was initially “halted due to [the abrogation of] Article 370.“ He adds, “The significance it has – and I want to emphasize this – here is an artist taking the risk of making a political statement when the mainstream politicians, the separatists, all the activists have been jailed for just having an opinion against the abrogation.” The yearning tone also matches with stomping rhythms and acoustic guitar work, plus a syncopated guitar lead that Saffudin intended to sound like a santoor. “I even consulted a santoor player who taught me that right-hand technique,” he says.
Starting out in a college band in New Delhi and moving back to Kashmir in 2014, Saffudin began producing his own material, but he says the forthcoming album – tentatively slated for release in September – will be “heavy, full-on, in-your-face rock.” He adds, “I’m pretty satisfied about what I made.”
Watch the video for “Asaan Gindaan” below.