COLOURING THE CANVAS OF LIFE WITH MUSIC
At a time when hip-hop and rock music is wielding its clout on the youngsters, ‘Rang Le Sardar’ has emerged as a quintessence by playing the rich folk songs, which depict the significance of the teachings of our great ancestors, and of course, LIFE. Arshdeep Singh, Maninderpal Singh, Inderjeet Singh, Jaskarn Singh, and Ajam Khan, are only in their twenties. But if one listens to their music, it would be difficult to believe so. Their voices as ‘buland’ (strong) as possible, but harmonious at the same time, they conquer the hearts of people wherever they perform. Standing in the open fields of Punjab, Arshdeep and Ajam Khan sing in unison:
Bade auliye peer faker aaye
There have come many saints and holy beings in the world..
Hami dukhi mazlooma di bhare koi
To sympathize with the destitute and the impoverished..
Badi damk ae kach de motiyan di
The pearls have a distinguishable sparkle..
Hunde laal boh kimti khare koi
Although some have been considered precious, a few are worthy…
The song beautifully exhibits the value and importance of a true Guru, and how to identify one.
Arshdeep Singh is a young folk musician in his twenties, from Moga district in Punjab, who leads this group of four, which is known as ‘Rang Le Sardaar. He sings and plays Bhugchu, and Tumba. His close friends call him ‘Arsh Riyaz’. His interest in folk music was triggered when he was in school, as most of his friends were into the native folk music. He was around 10 years old when he started singing. He learnt singing folk from professor Major Singh. He finds himself devoted to folk music and wants to represent the rich cultural tradition of Punjab through his music. People deeply appreciate his music as the lyrics leave a social message as well. He feels that he still has a long way to go when it comes to folk singing, and he is learning further from his Guruji, Baba Jora Singh Ji in Dharamkot.
When it comes to playing the Harmonium, Maninderpal Singh can never compromise. He is a 24 years old folk musician from a small village called Baaga Braana in Punjab. He did his Bachelors and Masters in Indian music. His family is into farming, and his father has always encouraged his passion for music. He started learning singing folk from Ustad Baba Jora Singh in Dharamkot when he joined college. He has been playing for almost 6 years now. He is very fond of taking part in competitions organized in the fairs and festivals in his village. Giving him company is Inderjeet Singh, who is a 24 years old folk musician from a small hamlet called Baaga Brana in Punjab. He sings and plays Dhol, Tabla, and Dholak He is pursuing his masters in music- both vocals and instrumental from Punjabi University, Patiala. He started learning music at the age of 6 years from his Guruji Rakesh Kumar Ji, who is a famous Dhol player, who plays along with renowned folk musicians like Rajan Gill. His father does stitching work, but he has always been fond of folk music. He always motivates his children to learn music. His sister is pursuing M.Phil in music. Inderjeet belongs to Nirankari Mission, and he started singing by performing at Satsanga and jaagrans.
Jaskarn Singh is a 23 years old folk musician who hails from Moga district in Punjab. He plays the harmonium with the group. He completed his masters from Punjabi University in Patiala. He also works as a music producer, and has just completed setting up his own studio, by the name of ‘Black Music Production’. He even did a couple of courses in music production from an institute in Chandigarh. Music is his passion, and he works day and night to excel in this field. His is father sings Kavishri, and out of his own interest in music, he gifted a Harmonium to Jaskarn in 2003. Since then he has been learning and practising the different folk songs on it.
Ajam Khan simply loves to sing and plays the Sarangi with all his heart. At the age of just 20 years, he has released 4 songs. He has performed in various competitions and youth festivals. He had learnt to play the Sarangi from Ustad Kulvant Singh from Khanna. For Tabla, he took his training from Baba Sohan Singh Ji. He had interest in Tabla initially, inspired by his school teacher, he started playing the Sarangi too, and gradually it became his main instrument. He feels that people are deviating from their cultural values and morals, but through some of his songs, he has tried to show that there is still some good left- there are young people who are involved in devotional activities, who respect their elders and who are responsible as well. He also has a good interest in classical music as well. He thinks that passion is very important to pursue any goal.
All of the members met in college and decided to form the group two years ago. They have performed locally in fairs and festivals in Punjab only. Wherever they perform, they always win the hearts of the audience with their melodious music. They wish to exhibit their talent in front of more people so that they can make them acquainted with their culture. The group displays unity and mutual respect, which strengthens with each passing day. Their passion for folk music coupled with their determination to practice each and every day is what keeps the group going.