Monday, November 19, 2007

Daler Mehndi - The King of Punjabi Music

Daler Mehndi, born August 18, 1967, is a bhangra/pop singer from India. Mehndi was a student of traditional Punjabi music and his first album broke sales records in India.

Since 1995 he has recorded several highly successful albums in India, and also sung in several Bollywood movies. His international popularity has grown in recent years allowing him to tour the United States.

Mehndi is well known as a philanthropist, funding beautification projects in Delhi and aiding quake victims.

Mehndi eventually switched from classical music to pop, and in 1995 his first album Bolo Ta Ra Ra, with tunes based on those given to him by his mother, sold half a million copies in four months and 20 million copies total, making him the best selling non-soundtrack album in Indian music history. He received the Award for Voice of Asia International Ethnic and Pop Music Contest in 1994. He also earned Channel V's Best Male Pop Singer Award, which he also received in 1996 for Dar Di Rab Rab and in 1997 for Ho Jayegi Bale Bale. He has even appeared in the films Mrityudata and Arjun Pundit. His success helped him negotiate a record-breaking deal with his record company Magnasound for 20.5 million rupees. He has also been a guest star on the new Indian version of Sesame Street known as Galli Galli Sim Sim.

His album song "Tunak Tunak Tun" is an Internet phenomenon. This cult following was spurred by the music video for Mehndi's song "Tunak Tunak Tun", often referred to simply as "Tunak", which gained its popularity due to Daler Mehndi's wild dancing and has led to many homages and parodies. Mehndi originally conceived of the music video, in which he dances with "clones" of himself, in response to media statements that he was popular only because of the models in his videos. Tunak Tunak Tun was the first music video to make use of bluescreen technology in India. His enduring popularity is reflected by the male Draenei in The Burning Crusade, the official expansion pack to Blizzard Entertainment's award winning MMORPG World of Warcraft, revealed at E3 2006, which appears to be performing Mehndi's "Tunak Tunak Tun" dance.

At 90, his music still mesmerises

Ninety-year-old Baba Kanshi Nath Jogi of Jhoral Nali village in Sirsa district of Haryana is a singer, musician and dancer par excellence.

While he has been singing since the age of 11, beginning in Lahore, the flute used by snake charmers is his favourite instrument. Requiring very strong lungs to play the been, one hardly comes by very old musicians playing it, however, Jogi still plays it with panache. "I have to go on to sustain myself,'' says Jogi, who is among the very few in the country who can sing Raag Bihag and Dakhni Raag. Besides, he is also the master of Sindhra, Tailang, Jog, Sindhi Jog, Khaival Sindhra, Multani Sindhra, Pahar, Jhhanjhoti Pahari, Dogri Pahari, Bhairavi, Barasuk, Sindhi Bhairavi, Malkauns and Bageshwari.

His family has been in the profession of music since seven generations, and while he admits, it isn't paying at all, he still has trained his son in it. Visibly upset about the 'near-nude' song performances on TV, he suggests that culturally-aware people should discourage such shows and make efforts to promote Punjabi culture. Jogi, who has performed four times in England in the presence of the representatives of 70 countries, has always preferred to live in India despite alluring offers from Punjabi communities living abroad.

Dr Gunam Singh of Punjabi University is making a documentary for Sant Sucha Singh archives of music on him for which Jogi has danced to the music of the been, dafli or tambourine and ghungroo or anklets after 40 years.

''It was the need of the hour to popularise original Punjabi music to younger generations,'' avers Jogi.