Folk music is much more than just a genre of music. It’s a bridge that connects the past of a culture to its present; it’s that subset of art, which effortlessly sets people free and the glue that holds them together; it’s a language that is understood by all.
Folk music unleashes the kind of energy that lifts the spirits, warms the heart, and inspires joy at every instance it’s heard. These traditional songs turn back the clock every time a folk musician takes the centre stage. And a name that instantly comes to mind is Mame Khan, whose warm, cheerful, reverberating voice has made him a household name. Belonging to the colourful community of Manganiyar, whose music transcends time and place, Khan has exposed an entire generation of young music lovers to the rich and vibrant sound of folk music.
In conversation with Soulveda Editor-in-Chief Shalini K Sharma, the artiste talks about his passion for folk music, the Manganiyar, and his cultural roots.
You come from a family of singers who have breathed folk music for more than 15 generations. Tell us how your heritage has driven your passion for folk music?
I think I am very lucky to be part of one of the last few generations in India who spent their childhood without TV and video games. In my village where I grew up, I was surrounded by sand dunes and music. Growing up in a musician community, music was part of my daily life, especially since my late father Ustad Rana Khan was an inspiration to me every single day. Seeing him travel the country, coming home with new stories about music and the roots of our tradition inspired me to carry on the legacy of my father and community.