By: ASJAD NAZIR
Marvellous British music collective Kaykay & Co regularly deliver memorable live performances and a key element is magnificent singer Anj Chauhan.
The versatile music group will headline the Always & Forever charity concert at Harrow Arts Centre on September 10, which pays tribute to legendary Bollywood singers Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. This is one of many music projects Anj has on the way, including a Gujarati language single.
Eastern Eye caught up with the versatile singing talent to find out more.
You are at your best on stage. What has been your most memorable live performance?
The stage is a haven for me. I started on smaller platforms at religious events as a child. I am grateful for all the times I have gotten to perform. The most memorable is the Bollywood Jackson concert with Kaykay & Co back in 2017, followed by a duo folk spiritual concert with Pritee Varsani in 2020 called Sur Dhara.
What is it like being part of a collective that has so many great singers?
I am very fortunate to be part of Kaykay & Co and blessed to be around amazing singers such as Rekha, Shahid Abbas Khan, Parry Mad, and others.
Is there ever any friendly rivalry?
I wouldn’t call it a rivalry as each vocalist is so unique in their approach. We all offer something different and help each other. We are best friends, push one another, and want each other to succeed.
What can we expect from the Always & Forever Rafi and Kishore show?
A great show paying tribute to Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar, with vocal tones that will be different to the great legends. They are musical gods, and we can’t even think about copying their voices or styles. We will focus on presenting their timeless songs in our own unique way, with our own individual voices.
What do you think made Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar such great singers?
People would say technical ability and training makes a good singer, but I would say having a gift of a beautiful tone without training can make you a fantastic singer. Kishoreji’s expressions and tonality made him the legend. Rafi saab’s emotion and ability to touch you with his voice made him the musical god.
What are your own favourite Rafi and Kishore songs?
There are so many to choose from! Rafi saab’s songs I’ve always loved include O Mere Shah-E-Khuban, Khilona title track, Hum Aur Tum Aur Yeh Sama, Apni Bahon Se Koi, and, of course, Baharon Phool Barsao. For Kishoreji, some I absolutely adore are Chingari, Kuch To Log Kahenge, Zindagi Ka Safar, Thodi Jo Peeli Hai, Nakhrewali, and Inteha Ho Gayi.
What do you think makes music collective KayKay & Co special?
The variety we offer from bhajan and Sufi to garage and r’n’b to dandia raas, Bollywood and more. We also cover songs differently and think outside the box when performing live. We also have our own original songs composed by Kaykay (Chauhan), which adds another dimension. Kaykay created a unique soundscape, which combines well with special vocalists like Shahid Abbas Khan, Rekha, and Parry Mad. We proudly have that cross-generational appeal.
What else do you have planned?
I am close to releasing my solo Gujarati song called Parvati Na Pag Ma Chale Bichuro. It has a heavy electronic rock sound. It is co-written and produced by Kaykay Chauhan. It will be released very soon on the famous Gujarati label Sur Sagar. The song also features a self-penned Gujarati rap by myself.
Who is your own musical hero?
My musical heroes will always be Beyonce, Etta James, Tina Turner, Asha Bhosle, Whitney Houston, Shirley Bassey and Aretha Franklin.
What music dominates your own playlist?
All the music heroes I just mentioned dominate my playlist, along with our Mind & Soul album. The new unreleased Parvati Na Pag is constantly on repeat, as we prepare for the video shoot.
Which artists have you enjoyed watching live ?
I love musicals and watching acts in the West End is the ultimate. The Tina Turner life story tribute is one I’ve seen in London and stands out.
Why should we all come to the Always & Forever show?
To hear unique versions of classic Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar songs, including a
female take on them. Kaykay & Co will be performing the famous songs with a fresher approach and a newer sound.
Always and Forever concert is on at Elliot Hall in Harrow Arts Centre, 171 Uxbridge Road,
Middlesex HA5 4EA on September 10.