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Delhi’s magical vibe: How the Capital inspired Salim Merchant’s music

Music composer, Salim Merchant feels Delhi has a magical vibe, which is why he keeps coming back to the Capital for inspiration. His visit to Nizamuddin Dargah in the city, led to conceptualisation of a song called Bismillah.

He says, “An amazing trip to Nizamuddin four years ago inspired and intrigued me to come up with a Qawwali. I was mesmerised with the Qawwali happening there. Even though we have made a lot of Qawwali songs but I thought we should make another one as I wanted to create the community singing vibe.”

“I visit the city at least 30 times in a year. I love Delhi’s spirit and its love for art, culture and fashion,” adds the Mumbai-based musician.

The musician duo Salim-Sulaiman have also lent their music to nine original music compositions to a musical, Beyond Bollywood that represents the culture and tradition of India and is staged at Kingdom Of Dreams in Gurgaon.

“Unfortunately in India, the music we listen to is all film music. But there’s a lot beyond Bollywood. We wanted to celebrate the spirit of India that celebrates Holi, Eid and Diwali. We wanted a Ganesha song, a Qawwali. There is Kalbelia dance from Rajasthan. The music was designed keeping the story in mind, and the story was planned keeping the music in mind,”says the singer who is currently on a tour that features Rajasthani Manganiyar singers.”

“I’m still studying,” quips Salim, adding, “Every concert, project or collaborations I do. It’s all a beautiful learning process.” About the duo’s association with music, he says they grew up among music instruments. And since childhood their lives revolved around music, courtesy their father Sadruddin Merchant.

“We were very fortunate that my father was a composer who always supported us. He was running a workshop where he started manufacturing musical instruments. Sulaiman and I didn’t have toys but musical instruments to play with. We also had a school band and music was always our main priority,” he concludes.

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