Kiran Ahluwalia is a performer of vocal music. More precisely she is a performer of two distinct styles of vocal music from the Indian subcontinent, now India and Pakistan. Kiran sings ghazals and Punjabi folk songs. The word ghazal is an Arabic word that means "to talk to women". Given that men have traditionally spoken to women a great deal about love; the name attached itself to a form of poetic sung verse that originated in Persia about 1000 years ago and reached India around 400 years later. This happened about 600 years before Kiran Ahluwalia was born but was to have a profound effect on her life.
Kiran Ahluwalia was born in the state of Bihar in Northern India to Punjabi parents. The family moved to New Zealand for the first four years of Kiran's life and back to India for another five before coming to Canada where Kiran grew up in Toronto. In the seventies the Indian community in Toronto was relatively small. Cultural events took place in people's homes. Singers would perform in basements and living rooms; concerts were promoted by word of mouth. These concerts were not primarily for children. They featured a repertoire, language and content that was both demanding and beyond the experience of a child. Kiran was, however, entranced by the sound and feel of the music. Later, like many other children of immigrants, she went to classes in the dance and music of her country of origin, and performed occasionally at her home or those of friends of her parents. And there it might have ended if Kiran had not "got the itch"' as she describes it.
In June of 2000 Kiran decided to throw herself fully into a life devoted to the full time making of her own music. In April 2001, Kiran released her debut CD, Kashish - Attraction. She found the musicians in Canada and England to realize her vision and is ready to share with audiences one of the great vocal traditions of the world's cultures.
She is not only an interpreter of ghazals but has composed her own music for several poems. Her own compositions are firmly rooted in the tradition while taking a modern turn. Today Kiran Ahluwalia has become an organic part of the long line of singers who have preserved and reinvented the ghazal form over the last thousand years, just as she has absorbed the rich traditions of Punjabi folk music. Today Kiran can herself create the magic sounds that first enthralled her as a young girl many years ago.