Kids Corner


A New Album From Satinder Singh Sartaaj





His poker-faced turbaned entourage never let him out of sight. They encircle him, towering over his petite frame, and ward off “unwanted elements” as he walks briskly, with a smile on his face, hands folded, to the Taj terrace hall for his album launch on Monday afternoon.

At the table, Satinder Singh Sartaaj, flanked by his men, takes a seat and braces himself for the question and answer round.

But first, an apology. “I am so sorry for the delay,” says the Sufi singer, looking striking in a mehndi-green turban, matching brocade bandhgala kurta, beige salwar and juttis.

It’s his trademark style, along with the Irani tabeez he wears on his turban during concerts.

“This is me ... not any designer label,” says Sartaaj.

He uses his gift of the gab, peppers it with poetry and strikes a conversation on his attire that speaks of his roots, his birthplace, Bajrawar in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, his love for Sufism, his concerts, like the one at the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari’s residence, to those held in the diaspora, his current album and so on.

“I have grown up listening to Sufi, Baba Bulleh Shah, Shams Tabrezi and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I can relate to it, decode it and present it the way it’s supposed to be,” says Sartaaj.

It’s been close to two years since he sang the Sufi track

Saee(n) was  featured in his album 'Sartaaj' and shot him to fame. The song proved to be Sartaaj’s biggest turning point and he was hailed as the next big singing star of Punjab. His mastery over the Persian and Urdu languages, his in-depth study of music, both Punjabi folk and Sufi, his M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.d, on the same, his poetry which is more of tukbandi and light shayari, have shaped his musical personality.

“My Ph.D. on Sufi music across Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India is kept at the Panjab University library. In fact, Penguin has approached me to convert it into a book,” says the singer.

While that’s still in the future, it’s the past that comes to haunt him, repeatedly. The singer, for the uninitiated, was accused of plagiarism and dragged to court in 2010 by Ferozepur-based poet, Tarlok Singh Judge, for using one of his couplets in his song 'Saaee(n), and for using couplets by various Punjabi writers in the same song without giving due credit.

In 2011, Surinderpreet Ghania, a Bathinda-based Punjabi poet, accused him of using one of his couplets. “That matter has been resolved now. Let’s talk about the new album,” says Sartaaj, the smile intact.

Produced by Emerging India and Speed Records, "Sartaaj Live: Lafza da Haan da" is his third album after Sartaaj and Cheeray Vala Sartaaj, and this one pays tribute to his alma mater, Panjab University.

There are a whopping 25 songs in all, of which 23 are new and all penned by Sartaaj.

“That was the time when my creative journey had just begun. I was writing whatever I felt and would sing with a chimta (a musical instrument resembling tongs),” says Sartaaj, who has sung a chimta and a “special University version” of Saee(n) in the new album. He has also revisited old folk numbers through Boliyan and Tappe Gidda.

The thrill of singing live and the energy on the stage is what makes him game for it.

“The stage teaches everything, as every performance has an andaaz, a taazgi, lazzat ... it’s a one-take shot, it’s unpredictable and the experience is unmatched,” says Sartaaj. Although he is a big Shah Rukh Khan fan, films are a big no.

“I once read Balraj Sahni’s Meri Filmi Aatmakatha, that talks about the trying world of films, and I vowed never to be an actor,” he says, to stay close to his musical roots.


[Courtesy: Indian Express. Edited for]

February 9, 2012





Conversation about this article

1: Raj (Canada), February 09, 2012, 7:22 PM.

With all the money he's making, you think he could buy a "silaee" to tuck his hair in the turban? This over-drive os sufiism will have unreversable effect on Sikhs. Watch out! Remember what generation Dharmendra and Gurdas Mann did to Punjab.

2: Harjinder Singh (Kalala, Punjab), February 10, 2012, 4:56 AM.

"Sufism"! It is all money mantar.

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