Baiju Mangeshkar releases ‘Man Mast Kabira’, a bouquet of 10 songs of the mystic poet ‘Kabir’ honouring the musical legacy of the Mangeshkars


 What began as an exchange of thoughts and poetry between friends transpired into a ten-song album. Baiju Mangeshkar’s ‘Man Mast Kabira’, as singer-composer of the songs of poet-saint Kabir, is probably one of the most soul-stirring musical offerings of this year.
‘Man Mast Kabira’ is the Universe and the Almighty’s ordain and way of blessing to create this musical ode to Kabir,” says Baiju Mangeshkar. “It may sound esoteric but the great ‘Kabir’ chose me rather than the other way around!”
The thought of composing a Hindi album was playing in Baiju’s mind for a while. “Lata ji wanted me to do an album in our national language, Hindi, of our revered poets or poet-saints. When I began composing and recording this album I kept this as a secret since I wanted to surprise her with the final product. Alas! That was not meant to be sadly.”
The project had to be on hold for 2 months since Lata ji fell ill and passed on. “There is sense of huge loss and emptiness and she is missed sorely. Her validation, approval, suggestions and appreciation meant the world to me”.
Though Baiju feels the deep void Lata ji has left, his father Pt. Hridaynath Mangeshkar expressed his happiness upon hearing the songs. “My father was pleasantly surprised that the album had as many as 10 songs. He expressed his delight at some renditions and compositions and gave a nod of approval! It’s a heartening feeling to get his validation since it is a huge responsibility when you compose songs of a revered poet-saint such as Sant Kabir.”
Saregama, the presenters of this 10-song album, and his ‘Ya Rabba’ earlier, have an equally historic relationship with the Mangeshkars for well over 80 years and three generations of these formidable musicians.
Kabir’s timeless oneness with mystic devotion is the core essence of this album which manifests a contemporary spectrum of musical styles ranging from up-tempo songs to unhurried ballads revealing the various moods of the lyric – at times ecstatic and joyful; at other times contemplative or pensive. The melodies are rooted in various Hindustani raagas, and some are infused with a distinct folk flavor.
While the music arrangements of all of Baiju’s three albums carry distinctive displays of musical influence – a gospel music effect in the first and a mix of jazz in the second – his ‘Man Mast Kabira’ melds the classical and the folk to create something stylistically contemporary, and easily communicable.
With all his albums amplified by the musical input of some exceptional local and internationally renowned musicians, ‘Man Mast Kabira’ includes the elegant music arrangements by Jatin Sharma and Writam Changkakoti.
All told, Man Mast Kabira, blends the velvet of Baiju’s voice, soulful singing and his signature style – evolved from his magnificent roots and his eclectic creativity resulting in a resonantly breezy flow of songs of Kabir, embracing the realm of universal love.