Music ‘brings us together’ helping us reflect upon who we are, where we have come from, and what lies ahead.’ The arts and music transcend ‘languages, cultures, and borders’ … and helps ‘exchange ideas and styles and share in the artistic vibrancy born from diverse experiences and traditions.’
For Fort Kochi music aficionados, Yahiya Azeem and his wife Mohsina require no special introduction. Their “maqam” is now a necessary component of every Muslim family celebration.
The couple, who got together because of music, has a lot to say about their aspirations in the music industry.
Yahiya Azeem was born with music in his blood; his great uncle Gul Mohemmed was the first singer to use a gramophone in Kerala. In the tenth grade, Yahiya started learning carnatic music and shortly after, he started singing for musical groups including Harisree, Oscar, and Kochin Solo. He currently works as a freelance musician, which is both his profession and his pleasure. He has taken part in a range of musical productions both at home and abroad including the stage productions of Rafi Night and Yesudas Night.
The “Mappilapattu” style is popular among singers and musicians, and Yahiya is a master of it. His musical nights include songs from Hindi and Malayalam movies. Knowing that he also sung for certain movies that were Malayalam dubs does not come as a surprise. Additionally, he has a tonne of devotional albums to his name. Though he was born in Palluruthy, he has lived in Fort Kochi for the past 17 years. He asserts that his musical career was significantly impacted by coming to Fort Kochi.
Mehfil Nights in Kochi are the nicest thing that ever happened to him. He began to sing more Hindi songs and Gazals for the Fort Kochi Hindustani enthusiasts. Ask him as to who has inspired him the most, Yahiya confidently takes the name of Nandakumar of Kerala Fine Arts Society. He claims that while singing for his band, this musician had a big impact on him. The opportunity to perform in Bombay’s Shanmukhananda Hall ranks as his most valued life achievement. But Yahiya still has more goals to accomplish. It won’t be too long before we hear his sweet voice in a movie.
Having said that, we cannot ignore Yahiya’s better half. Like her spouse, Mohsina developed a passion for music when she was a young girl. At Nadeshan Bhagavater’s carnatic music lesson, they initially ran into each other. She currently works with BPO solutions Kakkanad, but she still devotes her weekends to attending concerts and other musical events. Alongside MG Sreekumar, she has taken part in a number of TV shows and reality competitions, including Mrs. Kerala, Vanitharatnam, and Saregamapa, to name a few.
Her biggest source of support is her family, she says. Hafiza, who is in plus two, and Syed, who is in fifth grade, are the happy couple’s two children.