UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Sonu Niigaam

Mumbai artist fuses Indian classical music and Western-style pop

By Alex Zivojinovic

Classically Mild
By Sonu Niigaam (India)
(Self published)

Unless you speak Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi, you may not have heard of Sonu Niigaam. But the 35-year-old, multilingual Bollywood singer has been a pop sensation in India ever since the release of his 1997 album, Sapney Kii Baat.

The Mumbai-based artist’s latest recording, Classically Mild, is a spiritual fusion of Indian classical music and Western-style pop. Songs such as Sochta hoon main and Soona soona are characterized by Niigaam’s smooth Hindi verses; uplifting vocals and rhythms complement his soul-searching lyrics. The album follows his 2004 English-
language debut, Spirit Unfolding.

Niigaam’s official website boasts that he is in and out of the recording studio in less than 30 minutes and has recorded almost 10,000 songs. Legend also has it that the prolific performer and his father used to sing with celebrated Indian “playback” vocalist Mohammed Rafi on stage when Niigaam was a boy. In fact, when he first started his career, he was best known for providing pre-recorded songs for Bollywood’s film stars to lip-sync on the big screen. This summer, Niigaam is expected to release an album in tribute to the late Rafi, the greatest of the film industry’s playback singers, in collaboration with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

His breakthrough came singing Yeh Dil Deewana in the romance-drama film Pardes (1997), which established him as a bone fide Bollywood heartthrob. Niigaam was also a judge on the hit talent show Indian Idol and the host of his own radio show called Life ki Dhun with Sonu Niigaam, which attracted listeners from across South Asia.

Musicgoers on this side of the pond would find it worthwhile tuning into Niigaam, too.

Recommended listening:

Colours of Love (2007)
Chanda Ki Doli (2005)
Yaad (2004)

Alex Zivojinovic is a freelance writer in Toronto.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image