Intellectuals, artists and citizens drawn from the global South share a special, unique relationship as they share many languages and dialects, relish the same cuisine and groove to the same music. Music, in particular, opens the floodgates of nostalgia and sharing memories, clearly reflecting the fact that physical boundaries cannot barricade the cultural links across the border. Recently, we have seen artists across the border appreciate each other on social media, as various Indian celebrities were all praises for Joyland’s win at the Cannes Film Festival.

On the other hand, many Pakistanis felt profoundly overwhelmed at the passing away of several music legends. The industry has faced tremendous, irreparable losses such as Lata Mangeshkar, Taz of Stereo Nation, Bappi Lahiri aka Bappi Da, Sidhu Moose Wala and Krishnakumar Kunnath aka KK, all in 2022. Lata Mangeshkar passed away on February 6 due to age-related complications, Bappi Lahiri died nine days later, on February 15, due to health-related complications, Taz of Stereo Nation passed away on April 29 after suffering from liver failure, Sidhu was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Jawaharke village on May 29, and KK passed away two days later, on May 31, due to cardiac arrest while in Kolkata for a live performance.

Music and musicians, in particular, open the floodgates of nostalgia and memories, reflecting the fact that physical boundaries cannot barricade cultural links

Lata Mangeshkar

Music legend Lata Mangeshkar’s voice touched countless souls. Her immeasurable contributions to the music industry were celebrated with titles such as the Nightingale of India, Queen of Melody, and The Voice of India. When she left for the heavenly abode, India wasn’t the only country who mourned her loss. I grieved her demise as she was a big part of my life growing up, dancing to her melodies. Hers were shoes that were too large to be filled by anyone. She has left behind an immortal legacy in the form of her popular songs such as Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh, Kora kaaghaz tha yeh munn mera and Aapki nazroon ne samjha among countless others. Although at the time I was too young to understand what the songs meant in terms of loss, love and romance, I still knew the lyrics by heart. Lata was a single voice that connected billions of souls at the same time.

Bappi Lahiri

Just nine days after Lata bid farewell to the world, the exemplary singer and music composer Bappi Lahiri breathed his last. He had been struggling with several health-related issues for quite some time. Nicknamed the ‘Disco King’, he was best known for commercial disco music throughout the 1980s and ’90s. Although he appealed to the younger audience of that era, the mature generation enjoyed his works with equal measure. He left a legacy of celebrated songs such as Chalte chalte mere yeh geet, I am a Disco Dancer and Sharaabi among others. His last Bollywood song, Bhankas, was for the film Baaghi 3. Apart from his music, he was also widely recognised for his gold-embellished outfits, jewellery and bling accessories.

Taz (Stereo Nation)

Tarsame Singh Saini aka Taz, the lead singer of the band Stereo Nation, suffered from liver failure before slipping into a coma. He finally left for the heavenly abode on April 29. The ’90s pop sensation was identified for his blend of old style Asian tunes with a Western contemporary feel. He coined the genre of cross-cultural fusion music. Taz’s most prominent contributions include Pyaar ho gaya, Nachangay saari raat and Gallan gorian and many more. Apart from his albums, he also bagged various Bollywood hits such as Daaro vich pyaar from the movie Tum Bin, and It’s Magic from the movie Koi Mil Gaya. On a personal note, I grew up dancing to Nachangay saari raat while vacuuming my drawing room!

Sidhu Moose Wala

Millions of fans are still in shock over Sidhu’s untimely and unexpected death, and are getting his name tattooed or going on candle-light marches in protest against his brutal murder and demanding justice. Various global rappers took to their social media handles to pay tribute to Sidhu on his passing away. The Punjabi singer’s hit numbers were quite controversial, which seemed to have gotten him in trouble. Some of the best songs of his career included Game, Same Beef (co-sung by Bohemia), Warning Shots, Legend, Tochan (the lyrics of which he wrote himself), Bad Fella and Famous among others.

Krishnakumar Kunnath (KK)

I’m someone whose mind plays a song for sadness, joy and all things festive, and most of the times it’s any of KK’s. Everything I like that was etched in musical form was sung by him. There was no developing a taste or a preference for him. You just could not dislike him. KK’s voice defined my school, college, university days and beyond. The family antakshri on weekends at Nani’s house, rides back home from school, the first track on the new ipod, shaadi playlists, he touched every part of my life. I feel enriched being born in his era. KK was renowned for his evergreen songs Zindagi do pal ki from the movie Kites, Aankhon mein teri from Om Shanti Om, Khuda jaanay from the movie Bachna Ae Haseeno, and Tadap tadap from the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Published in Dawn, ICON, June 26th, 2022

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