YORK (www.beatofindia.com) - On the 13th of February, the day of Basant
Panchami, something startling happened. The warm day brought a ray of
hope for thousands of practitioners of folk music who are scattered
across the landscape of India.
More than 1200 people turned up
to hear an artiste who they had neither heard nor even heard of before.
The outdoor venue of New Delhi's India
Habitat Center was festooned
with yellow kites in keeping with the traditions of kite-flying on
Basant Panchami. People started getting their seats a long time before
the show was even scheduled to begin and by the time it began, people
were on the carpets, on the ground, on ledges and on their feet. Yes...
this does happen sometimes... but it happens for shows of international
stars, Bollywood stars or at best Punjabi pop stars. The artistes
performing that evening, Swarn Noora and her team, fit none of those
bills; they sing the Sufiana Kalam, they sing the folk music of Punjab.
It is rare now-a-days to come across traditional Punjabi music that has
not been remixed or converted to a more pop form and clubbed under the
umbrella term of Bhangra. Swarn Noora along with her sons, sings
without synthesizers and octo-pads that seem to have become the norm,
she sings with the minimal accompaniment of a Dholak and a Harmonium.
concert was the first live show of Beat of India.com after five years
of hard work traveling to the most remote corners of India
in search of
the finest folk musicians and bringing their music to a global audience
in the form of CD, Cassette and DVD titles and on the comprehensive
the event, former Prime Minister
of India, Mr. I.K. Gujral launched the
3 new albums of Beat of India.com of the series, Gudti Punjab Di,
literally, the first taste of Punjab. The album Noora, a golden voice
has music of the magnificent artistes performing at the concert, Swarn
Noora and her family.
Swarn Noora's family belonged to
Lyallpur in present day Pakistan but they moved to India
at the time of
partition. Her musical training came from her mother, Bibi Nooran, a
nationally acclaimed singer of her time. An amalgam of the Sufiana
Kalam and Qawwali, Swarn Noora's style and voice epitomizes poignancy
& the album, Noora, A golden voice, is her first mainstream
This event has given a big fillip to these artistes
who have been struggling to eke out a living in the last few years.
They have already begun doing more private programs even in the city of
Delhi amongst audiences that loves this genre of music. Many family
members who had taken up alternative professions might now be motivated
to come back to their family tradition.
Through the evening of
the concert, as people clapped, cheered and got completely immersed in
the mood of the music, it became clear that folk music always was and
continues to be a part of people's lives and that this music, people's
own music, will survive against all odds till the people of this land
The two other albums launched at the concert are Wah
Rangiya, Passionate Punjab featuring Swarn Noora's son Dilbahar &
Mehar Chand Mastana and Bol Ni Chakkiye, the singing wheel of life
featuring Mundri Lal, Sohan Nath Sapera, Desh Raj Lachkani & Harpal
The music can be downloaded and purchased from https://www.beatofindia.com/mainpages/music_shop.htm