Celebrated British Indian Bhajan singer Bhavik Haria is touring around the country with his ‘Roots & Changes’ Live concerts. Last weekend, the first show on this tour mesmerised London listeners with a beautiful blend of spiritual music rooted in Indian tradition and western musical instruments.
Haria has been performing Bhajan from a young age and has captivated a diverse range of audiences in the UK. His long-term mission is to make Bhajan popular with the younger generations and #KeepBhajansAlive.
Before his upcoming Birmingham and Manchester live shows, iGlobal caught up with the talented singer on his vision for the tour, his Indian heritage, his inspirations and a lot more.
What sets the ‘Roots & Changes’ Live Concert apart?
Bhajan concert is just like any other concert you'd attend, but it's where we share devotional and spiritual music. Bhajan has never been presented in a way like this before in a concert setting.
Usually, Bhajans are heard at home, family events, or funerals. This form of music has so much beauty and shares so many stories, but it's sadly slowly fading away. Therefore, it's essential we explore different ways of presenting Bhajans to ensure this genre of music continues to live on through generations to come.
So, how does Western music come together with our traditional bhajans in your concert?
‘Roots & Changes’ Live will present Bhajans in a way you've never heard before with a unique blend of traditional and Western instruments, bringing a new dimension to this genre of music whilst still keeping the heritage. The music is directed by Kaykay Chauhan, one of London's finest Keyboard players and Producers. All the compositions feature traditional instruments like the Tabla, and Harmonium melded together with Western instruments such as the Saxophone and Drums.
The power of this style of music is that you don't need to understand the language or music to feel the vibrations and connect with it. It's an opportunity to put aside any distractions, give your full attention to the moment, and become fully immersed in it – forgetting the outside world for a few hours.
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What inspired you to present bhajans in this way?
Many years ago, when I was younger, I would go to Bhajans with my granddad and other family members, and I never saw other youngsters like me. This made me think about why and, more recently, do some research on the younger generation to understand what was holding them back. Most of them said they didn't understand Bhajans or preferred to listen to Western music as they could relate to it and talk to their friends about it. Many also felt that Bhajans reminded them of sad events, typically after someone passed away or other religious events they may have been forced to attend by their elders.
As I started to understand the Bhajans more, my love and appreciation for this genre of music began to grow. Often I'd receive messages from listeners of all ages and cultures sharing stories of how listening to Bhajans had helped them through a tough time or had a positive and uplifting impact on their lives. This inspired me to make this genre of music more mainstream across the younger generation and drive my mission to #KeepBhajansAlive.
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Which melodies are you presenting on this tour?
Our upcoming tour brings together a selection of popular classic Bhajans and some forgotten gems, more less-known Bhajans that share beautiful stories and messages. The show begins with a beautiful Saraswati Bhajan, 'Hu Karu Vinanti Maa', which is also featured on my 'Roots & Changes' album. It will be a truly engaging and immersive experience for our audience, so if you're coming, get ready to sing and clap as loudly as you can!
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Please tell us about your roots, training, and achievements?
I began singing at the age of 9 and spent several summer holidays training in Baroda, from Karnik Shah, focusing predominantly on Jain Stavans. Since 2008 I have had the opportunity to perform for audiences ranging from 50 to 40,000 both across the UK and Internationally. More recently, we have toured across the UK, hosting over ten sell-out concerts alongside some of the UK's most talented traditional and Western musicians.
*Info: Roots & Changes Live