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AR Rahman's daughter debut album an ode to this singer

Khatija Rahman released her debut album 'Kuhu Kuhu' and paid a tribute to a legendary singer on the latter's birth anniversary.

Khatija Rahman has released her debut album, Kuhu Kuhu, as a tribute to the late music luminary Lata Mangeshkar on her birth anniversary.

The five-song album is an excellent showcase of Khatija’s mellifluous vocals, and includes renditions of Mangeshkar’s iconic songs such as Piya Tose Naina Laage Re, Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha, Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya, Bekas Pe Karam and O Sajna. While making Kuhu Kuhu, the musician was guided by the intention to honour the talent, genius and art of all involved in creating these musical gems. Through this release, Khatija also tips her humble hat to the original, legendary composers and arrangers as well as the esteemed lyricists of these classic songs — SD Burman, Madan Mohan, Adi Narayana Rao, Naushad, Salil Chowdhury, Shailendra, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Bharat Vyas and Shakeel Badayuni.

Released with SaReGaMa, Kuhu Kuhu maintains the songs’ original essence. The all-acoustic album also features the remarkable Firdaus Orchestra, an initiative of Expo City Dubai, an all-female ensemble mentored by composer A.R. Rahman and supported by UAE Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and CEO, Expo City Dubai Authority.

Talking about her debut, Khatija says, I began learning music in my teenage years. I had always marvelled at Lata Mangeshkar ji’s artistry, but when my teacher introduced me to ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ and other songs was when I started to actually sing and record myself performing her songs. Since then, I’ve had a beautiful journey with Lata ji’s music and I’ve enjoyed my moments of exploring her catalogue. ‘Kuhu Kuhu’ is my tribute to Lata ji and a way of paying my respects to a musician who changed the world as we know it. Her positive message to me following my first single is what inspired this album.”

The music video for Piya Tose is particularly special as it presents a visual emblem for global representation and collaboration. It features Khatija with the magnificent Firdaus Orchestra, comprising 54 women instrumentalists from 26 nationalities. The music video was filmed at the U.A.E. Pavilion, Expo City, Dubai.

These visuals were important to Khatija who believes in the power of borderless creative synergies — not just behind the scenes but also on the screen and across stages. Together, Khatija presents Kuhu Kuhu as a tribute to one of the greatest female musicians of all time, Lata Mangeshkar.

“Kuhu Kuhu has also been largely possible due to Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy who has always been supportive of women in the arts. We’ve kept the sound of the album pure, rich and live to capture the essence of the music from the retro years. I hope people find nostalgia, joy and comfort in ‘Kuhu Kuhu’. Music has no cultural, national or gender barriers,

and your support means a lot to me,” she added.

Surprisingly, Mangeshkar spoke with the young musician on a call and told her she liked the track when Khatija released her debut single 'Farishton' in 2020.

With her debut album, Khatija exhibits her multi-faceted vocal range as well as consistent artistic exploration. Blazing a trail with her 2020 offering “Farishton”, Khatija put forth the message of peace, community and equality in the track as well as the Miyazaki-influenced magical world of the music video. Khatija has also collaborated with glorious Irish rockers U2 and Grammy Award-winning composer Ricky Kej for the songs of hope and healing — Ahimsa and Iltaja.

Her film music ballads from Iravin Nizhal and Ponniyin Selvan-2 have moved listeners across the world. Ever since her playback debut at the age of 14 with 'Enthiran', Khatija has been charting a wondrous constellation as a new-age artist grounded in change and creativity. Up next, the musician is set to make her debut as a composer with Minmini. As she releases Kuhu Kuhu, the artist hopes people are transported back to their childhoods and are filled with joy and nostalgia as well as comfort through the tribute album.

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