A Family Steeped In The World of Melody and Lyrics

by Arun Kantharia

These days it is not surprising to come upon a couple committed to the cause of creativity and deeply involved in the world of melody. It is only rare when one comes across an entire family for whom music has been their obsession - their life. I am talking about a family whom I know so well that I cannot resist the temptation of paying them a fitting tribute. The Sugandh family has a story to tell. Kanhaiya (Kan) Sugandh is a Chartered Accountant by profession and a fine musician and singer. Kan met Geeta at a public function where she rendered a few lovely songs in her lilting voice which captivated Kan. The two were later married. Later, they moved to New Jersey with their two daughters Seema and Tina. Geeta continued her singing at home and in public functions where she cast a spell with her superb singing. Her popularity grew so fast that she became a "sought after singer". Kan joined her in a duet and later began to learn (Dholak) drum. Their friends repeatedly recommended that they turn professional. They gave their first professional musical concert in 1984, which turned out to be a great success, winning them well deserved laurels. With this triumph in mind, they decided to march forward. Later, their two daughters Seema and Tina joined them in their musical pursuit.

The Sugandhs have earned a coveted reputation as being a "Singing Family". They are nearing their 500th concert - a feat indeed laudable and unique. 'Sugandh' literally means "Fragrance" and this family of four does just that - spreads musical fragrance everywhere. They say, since people of all ages are very important to us our concerts vary from lighht Urdu Ghazals, old - not so old, and new Hindi film songs, folk songs, Qawalli's, limited Gujurati Garba, Punjabi bhangra, Sindhi ladas, jokes, and mimicry. They customize each concert to suit the event and type of audience. When asked to describe the singing talents of his family members, Kan quipped: "Geeta is the best singer. Seema's performance quite often, is very close to Geeta. Tina has her own unique style of rendition. Her voice is powerfully, emotional. Tina is probably the best female Tabla-nawaz in the world today in her age group. Geeta's harmonium, Seema's percussion, and Tina's tabla provide the most perfect accompaniment possible". "I play dholak boisterously and keep the master of ceremonies part flowing smoothly, with intermittent jokes, mimicry, and audience participation", he added. The Sugandh's have recorded their own CD's. Many Indian and TV Radio Stations throughout the world have played their songs on their programs. Thus the Sugandh family is always a treat to listen to and a pleasure to be in company with.