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Ghazal songs lingered in Kiran Ahluwalia’s heart as a child even after the voice of the singer faded into memory.
Even though the complex stories of pain, loss, separation and love were beyond a child’s understanding there was something about them that spoke to her on a deeper level, said Ahluwalia.
“It was very emotional. The emotion really connected with me as a child,” she said.
Her parents were singers so from an early age music was part of her life.
“I was pretty much listening to this music from the womb. They were singing all the time when I was a child so it was sort of passed on by osmosis,” said Ahluwalia.
The two-time Juno winner immersed herself in ghazals and Indian classical music from the age of seven.
She spent a decade with her guru, Vithal Rao, to learn the art form. She was born in India, raised in Toronto and now lives in New York City.
Ahluwalia said she is a singer with Indian and Canadian influences in her music but as a citizen of the world she is open to all music, which is reflected in her songs.
“If it stirs something in me and I find something I love in it then I am not concerned about keeping to my Indian sound,” she said.
Some of her musical influences are her teacher Rao and singer Jagjit Singh. She was also influenced by Canadian ballerina Karen Kain. In high school she went to see a performance featuring Kain and Rex Harrington.
“Even before the curtains opened I was so totally prepared not to take my eyes off him but the entire performance I was unable to take my eyes off of her,” said Ahluwalia. “She mixed both an incredible sense of perfection with a lot of fluidity and emotion. It was just gorgeous.”
Kain’s dancing influenced her “to strive for perfection but also maintain this beautiful breath and emotion,” in her music, said Ahluwalia.
Her latest album, Aam Zamee: Common Ground, won her a Juno. It was an exciting time for the singer.
Ahluwalia performs at the Port Theatre Friday (April 26) at 7:30 p.m. The performance features a pre-show chat at 6:30 p.m. Talking to her fans is one of the musician’s favourite things.
“I love coming out and just chit-chatting,” she said.
She said several fans have told her how her music helped them through difficult times in their lives.
Tickets for Ahluwalia’s performance are $40/$34 members and groups/$15 students/$5 eyeGo and are available by calling 250-754-8550, at the Port Theatre box office, located at 125 Front St., or www.porttheatre.com.