Kids Corner


Mysterious Lady:
Parvyn Kaur Singh





Parvyn Kaur Singh is bubbly despite exhaustion. The Melbourne-based Sikh-Aussie singer has just finished her ''day job'' leading hordes of schoolchildren through modern dance basics.

''I kind of turn into this Bollywood Hi-5 type,'' Parvyn chuckles, name-checking the similarly colourful, but rather more white-bread, kiddy-entertainment brand.

''Bollywood's really popular [with children] now, they all know Bend it Like Beckham and Bride & Prejudice,'' she says.

''And because of Slumdog Millionaire and that song, Jai Ho, from it … As soon as I play that song, they start dancing and singing.''

There is another reason Parvyn is exhausted - at night, she assumes her alter ego, Mysterious Lady, in the Bombay Royale, a band formed two years ago with her tabla-playing husband, Josh Bennett (the Jewel Thief), co-vocalist Shourov Bhattacharya (the Tiger) and saxophonist/musical director Andy Williamson (the Skipper).

The 11-piece features seven other masked musicians with Bollywood-based aliases. Reinterpreting soundtracks from the subcontinent alongside their own horn-heavy, ghee-tar-soaked, surfadelic originals, the band are a festival favourite.

The vibrancy of their live shows is captured on debut album You Me Bullets Love, where spaghetti westerns meet Eastern mysticism. Such zany sounds are likely to turn heads at the Darling Harbour Jazz & Blues Festival, where the Bombay Royale are due to play on Sunday, June 10, 2012.

Still, the album's expansively beautiful vocal-suite closer, Phone Baje Na, is a far cry from the spiritual music of Parvyn's childhood. The 26-year-old has been surrounded by Punjabi and subcontinental music since kindergarten.

''My parents, because they're very artistic, would come in and do performances for us and I used to do classical dances at assemblies. So we were the ones shoving that into everyone's faces,'' Parvyn laughs.

''When you come to my house you're going to smell incense; you're going to eat food that might be too spicy for you,'' she would announce proudly to schoolmates en route to her family's spice store/ video shop in Adelaide.

Family sidelines also included a mystic musical roadshow.

''Dad was the lead singer,'' Parvyn says. ''From the age of five … [my sisters and I] would sit on stage with him cross-legged.

''It was very much to get that family vibe and the cute factor.''

Dad - then soon to become globetrotting recording artist Dya Singh - emigrated to Australia from Malaysia and is a leading proponent of Sikh spiritual music.

''He was very much about taking it out of the places of worship and spreading it into the wider community,'' she says.

Is the Bombay Royale an outlet for arrested recalcitrance? ''I guess [it is] the rebellious thing,'' she admits. ''It was kind of like, 'Yeah, this is all great, but I don't want to be sitting down on a stage with my head covered, playing that role of a dutiful Sikh daughter.

''That's where Bombay Royale came into it: I can be as flamboyant as I possibly want and really express myself.''



Sunday, June 10, 9pm, album launch, The Basement, Reiby Place, Circular Quay. Monday, June 11, 5.45pm, Darling Harbour Jazz & Blues Festival, Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour.
, 9251 2797, $15 (Monday free).
Mumbai via Melbourne: 11 masked musos in a colourful swirl of surfadelica.
You Me Bullets Love from album You Me Bullets Love.


[Courtesy: The Sydney Morning Herald. Edited for]

June 8, 2012

Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), June 09, 2012, 3:30 AM.

For a moment I was disorientated. Who was this charming mysterious lady that Dya Singh did not know about? And then a tad down it hit me like a ton of bricks. The name Parvyn Kaur flashed and, how silly of me, she is the great maestro's own daughter that lent the melodious voice to his shabads. The head covered, sitting coyly, cross-legged, it was her voice that had given wings to many of his musical compositions. Out of the nest you have now created a niche for yourself. But at eventide, do come home and sit crossed-legged, head covered and sing praises of Him who gave you all, and don't forget: "daat pyaaree visaryaa daataara" (GGS:676.10] We love the gifts, but easily forget the Giver!.

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Parvyn Kaur Singh"

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