Kids Corner


Sikh-Canadian Bags Second Prestigious Juno Award





Kiran Ahluwalia's Aam Zameen: Common Ground was awarded Canada's prestigious JUNO Award for BEST WORLD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR at the 2012 Juno ceremonies held in Ottawa recently.

In 2005, the Sikh-Canadian singer received a Juno award (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for her first CD which contained settings of ghazals and Punjabi folk songs.

This latest award win tops an exciting year for the Sikh-Canadian singer, who recently performed with Tinariwen at the Festival in the Desert in Mali. Tinariwen's only other collaborator at the festival was U2's Bono.

Kiran also won the Canadian Folk Music Award for World Solo Artist of the Year and the album was selected by Songlines as one of the Ten Top of the World CD¹s. As well, Kiran's voice was a part of the original score in the Oscar winning documentary "Saving Face".

Although the Sahara desert is thousands of miles from the subcontinent and shares no physical common ground - a unique musical territory has been created enjoining the two. Having previously merged her music with sounds as diverse as Portuguese fado and Celtic fiddle, on this captivating new recording, Kiran Ahluwalia embraces her love of the Saharan desert blues and collaborates with two Tuareg groups: the legendary Tinariwen and up-and-coming fellow tribesmen, Terakaft.

The album is a sea change from her previous work and perhaps the most persuasive fusing of Punjabi and West African music ever realized. After many months of developing ideas for this collaboration, the tipping point for Kiran came when she met famed Tinariwen and Robert Plant producer, Justin Adams while on tour in Europe in 2009. He quickly agreed to produce the collaborative sessions and helped start a dialogue between Kiran and Tinariwen's leader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib - the man credited with inventing the modern Tuareg electric guitar style.

To provide a gateway to the musical common ground she was seeking, Kiran had a specific song in mind. "I knew it would be compelling to have a song from the South Asian Islamic tradition performed with Muslims from Mali" says Ahluwalia, "and I could think of nothing better than the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan classic, Mustt Mustt. The use of hand claps and the call and response between the main vocalist and the rest of the group's singers are common to both qawwali music and the Tuareg's own music".

Soon sessions with both Tinariwen and Terakraft took place in France and the results were beyond all expectations. Sessions at Realworld Studios in the U.K. followed (where Gambian ritti player and long time Justin Adams collaborator, Juldeh Camara wove his melodic magic into several songs) and by early summer, the album was completed and sent off to Grammy Award winning producer Peter Moore for mastering.

By any measure, Aam Zameen: Common Ground, is a remarkable document of the life-changing musical journey Ahluwalia has travelled, and it establishes her as an innovator who looks beyond her own heritage, to create a musical world where geographic boundaries no longer apply.


April 16, 2012

Conversation about this article

1: Raj (Canada), April 16, 2012, 10:38 PM.

C'mon, she might be good in mixing genres, but she's not that good a singer. She has very "kacchi" voice, she needs to do much more ryaz.

2: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), April 18, 2012, 5:40 AM.

Watched the video ... and it's embarrassing!

3: I.T.S. (Yonder North, SC, U.S.A.,), April 19, 2012, 1:22 AM.

She has a beautiful voice but she needs to be able to carry a tune. And her dancing is well, ahem.

Comment on "Sikh-Canadian Bags Second Prestigious Juno Award "

To help us distinguish between comments submitted by individuals and those automatically entered by software robots, please complete the following.

Please note: your email address will not be shown on the site, this is for contact and follow-up purposes only. All information will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Sikhchic reserves the right to edit or remove content at any time.