Although Alamgir is ailing and gathering funds for his kidney transplant, the musician in him is very much alive and kicking. Popularly known as the “Elvis of the East”, Alamgir recently released a fresh version of his timeless track “Keh Dena”, as part of an upcoming Pakistani TV series called “Mangoes”.
“Mangoes” is an invigorating tale of South Asian youth which depicts them as intrepid individuals who are eager and ready to take on the title of ‘a global citizen’, reports Statestimes.net. The song also features Kristie Yung, a Canadian singer who has collaborated with Alamgir and sung the Urdu lyrics perfectly. Alamgir, Kristie Yung and the Suhurwardy brothers, the producers of “Mangoes”, share their experience in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune.
“Kristie Yung surprised me,” says Alamgir. “I have sung in so many languages myself and I remember when I used to sing in other languages, I used to take the recording to the embassy of that country and ask for their feedback,” revealed the singing legend.
Kristie Yung is an acoustic-soul singer, songwriter and producer from Vancouver, Canada who is known for her covers of Urdu songs. “Urdu is beautiful. It’s poetic, descriptive and the reason I like it is because it fits well in song,” says Kristie. “The tonalities of it flow well with melody and the poetic nature of it makes pairing it with music even more beautiful,” added Yung.
Alamgir, who has contributed immensely to Pakistani music, considers this version of “Keh Dena” the best to date. “I am happy that ‘Keh Dena’ has been covered by so many artists, but once you hear what Kristie Yung has done to the song you will hear a completely different take on it. I loved singing it once again after so many years,” emphasised Alamgir.
Yung gives all the credit to Alamgir for this version of “Keh Dena”. “It has been a great experience working with Alamgir on this song and I feel very honoured that he considers this version the best one to date,” says Yung. The singer says that she started to sing along with Alamgir’s voice and followed the melodies as a guideline to pronounce certain words and eventually found similarities between Urdu and the languages she already knew.
This song was made as a result of the efforts put in by Adeel Suhurwardy who had approached Alamgir to revamp his song for “Mangoes”. “Sir Alamgir’s songs are timeless and the way Kristie Yung connected to his music just goes on to prove that good music has no boundaries. It’s been an honour for us to be a part of this project, as it also conveys the message of overcoming cultural barriers which our upcoming series ‘Mangoes’ is all about,” revealed the Suhurwardy brothers.
Yung is looking forward to covering more traditional Pakistani songs as she is overwhelmed by the response. “The response so far has been nothing but positive and I am so thankful for that. It’s a risky thing — to be a person of Chinese descent and re-vamping and performing a Pakistani pop icon’s song,” remarked Yung excitedly.
Despite his bad health, the 50-something rock star can be seen dancing around in the video. “Music is my life. I enjoy every part of it. Filming for the video after several years was a great experience.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2011.