Mumbai, Jan 14 Classical music is elaborate and expressive and represents our culture in its purest form, yet the country doesn't promote it in the way it should, laments Indian classical singer and sitar player Hidayat Hussain, son of legendary musician Ustad Vilayat Hussain.
"There is a need to promote Indian classical music and instruments like sitar. The only two things that India aggressively promotes is Bollywood and cricket. I also love both, but I do realise that is not all that India has to offer," Hussain said.
"India is full of heritage and culture and there is so much more that needs to be given some space too," added the musician who admits there are a section of people who have interest in classical music. He has come out with an album "Sanwariya" under the label Saregama India ltd.
"At the same time I feel people do have an interest in classical music even now. Obviously if we compare it to 'Munni badnaam hui' and 'Shiela ki jawaani', its popularity will seem less, but individually, people still take a keen interest in this kind of music.
"As it is classical music is not meant to be performed with thousands of people. It's a very introspective, very quiet and made for a much smaller market," he added.
The 35-year-old musician, now based out of New York, began his formal training of Indian classical vocal music from his legendary father at the age of four and continued it until he was 14.
From Hussain sahib, he learnt to sing khayal and a variety of other forms of Indian classical music. During this time he performed at various concerts including at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. At the age of 14, his father initiated him formally into sitar playing.
Throwing light on the album, Hussain, who has performed all over the world, said: "The album is a collection of my memories. What happens, you listen to music from all over the world and some part of it just stays with you. You hear a song and you really like a part of it and you wish you could do it. So those inspirations I got over the years, the album is basically a collection of all that and the kind of music I like."
The album offers nine tracks and it took him over two years to give it shape.
"When you go through the album, you'll realise that there is a variety in the album. There are songs that have club mix to them, then there are songs that are completely inspired by Indian classical music.
"Then there are few inspired by the symphony orchestra. Folk melody is also there, so it's a whole array of songs. I'm sure every listener can identify with at least one or two songs in the album," said Hussain, who does about 50-60 shows a year, worldwide.
Did he ever feel pressurised because of his genius father?
"You have no idea, the kind of pressure I was under. Forget the pressures that people put on me, the pressure I put on myself was tremendous because I was surrounded by geniuses and musical greats so my bar of measuring everything was really high.
"I have battled with that for very long. I think few years back I came to a point where I thought that I am me and I have to do what I can do. That really calmed me down," said the musician.