Singer Tochi Raina is all set for a makeover. The artiste, famous for his powerful Punjabi vocals on songs like Gal Mitthi Mitthi… from Aisha (2010) and Pardesi… from Dev D (2009), is ready for his solo debut, with an album that covers everything from Sufi music to remixes. "I’ve been working on Sona Sajan for over a year now," says the 46-year-old artiste, adding, "The idea was to bring alive songs in the gayaki (oral) tradition that existed over 200 years ago."
Tochi confesses it’s all a part of his musical lineage. "My grandmother was a sitar player while my uncle Ratan Singhji was a violinist," he reveals, adding, "My grandpa, Akaali Kaur Singh, was a fakir (saint) who inspired me to learn Sufi music. His philosophy of life has gained wider acceptance today and there is even a college in Muzaffarabad (Pakistan) named after him."
The familial ties don’t stop here. Tochi croons on the six songs in the latest album, that have been written by his wife, Shweta. "Two people very close to me have worked on this album. Sukhi composed the music for it and Shweta wrote the songs."
From the Punjabi title song, where hip-hop groove blends with R&B, to a raw acoustic single, the album is an assorted collection of easy-listening tracks. "It’s a good mix for everyone. There’s a dandiya rock mix, Jungle Mein Aag Lagi which also has a club-mix version to it. And then there is romance in Tere Yaad Sataaye an a touch of folk in ‘Kesariya Balam’ that also features a unique instrument called the bela baharr." Closest to the singer, however is the raw, acoustic track, Jaana Mere Dil Se that he has dedicated to his mother.
While the album is expected to hit stores this week, Tochi is busy performing with his Sufi outfit, Band of Bandgi. "We will be performing at Mithibai College’s annual festival this year," he says. "I’m also excited about performing at my first web-cert on November 30," he adds.