Millennium Post

Better together

In a freewheeling conversation, Hari and Sukhmani share the reason behind choosing Punjabi folk as their genre, their journey so far, and much more

After roaming around the world, working with different people, trying to create music independently, when Hari Singh and Sukhmani Malik met each other through a common friend, they instantly felt their 'search' was over.

But what made them realise that they are better together? And how did they work out things as partners?

"Folk music was a common point for us, and that inclination (towards folk) made us sure about working together," Sukhmani, who is a trained Hindustani classical vocalist from the Rampur Gharana, quickly answered, adding, "We both have grown up with the influence of folk and classical music. Therefore, we mutually decided to take the genre we are best at." To which, Hari agreed and said, "As we had common interest in music, everything came out very naturally and we just went on with the flow."

The most beautiful and appreciable part of Hari and Sukhmani is that in the era when western music appeals more audience, and most of the singers prefer to work on raps, the duo made a firm decision of sticking to their genre – 'Punjabi folk'. About the same, Sukhmani feels that they have grown up listening to authentic sufi and folk music, but also understand the music choices of the present generation. "We are aware of both the aspects and hence can actually balance both the worlds."

On sharing, what kind of challenges they faced, the duo told Millennium Post that initially when they used to sing at the concerts or parties, people used to come up and tell them 'thoda fast music bajao' (play something fast).

"Our style was Sufi – the soulful foot-tapping music, but people many a times used to come and ask us to increase the tempo. It was kind of disappointing initially, but later with more experimentation in our songs, we satisfied the listeners too," Hari shared. And, he is really happy that they did not change their style under pressure or only to please the audience. "We stuck to our roots, our style, and I am very proud of it," he stated.

Both the singers are delighted to have made a mark for themselves and now when someone talks about Punjabi folk music, their name often comes up.

But will they ever try to step out of Punjabi Folk and explore something new?

Cleverly answering the question, Hari said, "There is a lot to experiment within our own music. We don't really have to come out of our genre and try anything else."

The two are doing an excellent job as singers, the challenge for them in today's internet savvy world is to maintain their presence on social media like other celebrities.

"Internet is a great platform for everyone, and with it many people have come into limelight. I feel it has made art a show business too," said Sukhmani, who revealed that when it comes to handling their social media handles, she is the one who generally does that as Hari is not at all a social media person. "It is more about what you show rather than what you do," complained Hari.

On November 15, the singers performed at ibis Music, which was held at ibis hotel, New Delhi. Sharing a word for their journey together, they said it has been 'fantastic'.

The duo, which so far has been working smoothly with each other, revealed that they work together on each other's ideas and try to give the private time and space to the other person. "We acknowledge the other person's privacy as it's really important," they asserted.

With Sukhmani's dense voice and Hari's technical knowledge, the two have worked on recreations of few Punjabi songs like 'Latthay Di Chaadar', 'Baagay', to name a few. Both the singers promise to come up with new songs and meet up their fans' expectations.

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