Rhyme and reason

Anjali Jhangiani
Saturday, 10 June 2017

In Hukus Bukus, singer Aabha Hanjura gives an old Kashmiri children’s song a new twist to introduce Kashmiri folk to the world

In her latest release, singer Aabha Hanjura is happily dancing to her own tune — a cheerful rendition of an old Kashmiri children’s song Hukus Bukus. She tells us how it is an old rhyme that became popular among children, just like Ring a Ring o’ Roses or Humpty Dumpty. Now it has become a children’s song, but originally it has a deeper darker meaning, just like the Grimm Brothers’ version of fairy tales. “The lyrics of this song are so old that nobody remembers how it originated. But we know that it is a spiritual song with a deeper meaning. I have taken the artistic liberty to merge two-three more children’s rhymes into this to make it a track which is pure fun,” says Hanjura, who is trying to bring Kashmiri folk music to a wider audience. 

She shares that she wanted to make a song that children will relate to, even after many years from now. “I wanted to make something that kids will relate to, no matter when they hear this song. I didn’t want to lose the essence of it being a children’s rhyme, so we shot a fun video for it too. Very few songs are made like that these days. The track is an instant happiness guaranteer. You listen to it and you’re happy. It is earthy and rustic,” says Hanjura, who frequents music festivals as a performer and attendee. 

“Every time I visit a folk music performance, it’s either Rajasthani or Punjabi, but never Kashmiri. In fact, people don’t even realise that Kashmiri is a legitimate language. I want to show people what a wonderful heritage of folk music we have,” says Hanjura. 

Her heart wrenches when she feels that people only have negative perceptions about Kashmir. She wants to make an effort to make her listeners realise that there is so much more to Kashmir as a state than just violence. She sings in Kashmiri to spread awareness about the folk music and songs in the language. “Though people don’t understand the language, they enjoy the songs. It’s a cliché but I truly believe that music transcends barriers of language. You really don’t need to understand the language, but let the music and the melody speak to you,” says Hanjura, adding, “Sometimes when we are performing, people want us to sing the regular Bollywood songs, but then we try and give the audience a taste of Kashmiri folk and they like it. We sing a couple of songs of our own. The audience is always made up of many different kinds of people with different tastes in music. But we’ve always got positive feedback.”

Hukus Bukus is the first track from what Hanjura hopes will become an album. “I have planned six songs for the album, we are working on them. I want to release the album, when it happens, on a large scale so that people know that there is something called Kashmiri folk music. We are using Kashmiri percussion instruments to give our music a strong folk flavour,” says Hanjura. 

The video titled Hukus Bukus is on YouTube for viewers to enjoy and share. 

Follow the writer on Twitter @purplesaga

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