The Punjabi singer Rabbi Shergill, who has carved out a niche in our booming Punjabi music industry, was in town to promote his latest album called III on Tuesday.
One could wax eloquent about the garish caravan that the musicians carve for themselves but it is rather surprising how simplified an intellectual's thoughts are. Rabbi Shergill's latest album is an amalgam of his revolutionary disposition seasoned with the urban-balled literary slant - a perfect cocktail for your summer need for music.
"The album has a variety of songs to its credit; Ganga, for instance, is a cry of anguish. It is an issue-related song that fills you up with much-needed concern for your society," says Rabbi at Chandigarh Press Club on Tuesday.
"I have attempted to create Punjabi Gospel Rock and played upon number of moods, including the one depicted in Zero Dubidha that defines that point in a relationship where one stops caring," he says.
If you were wondering what took him four years to come up with the new album, he smiles, "Well, the songs were ready to go a year and a half ago, all what I was looking for was a good label to mount my album on, hence Universal Music group."
We are all aware of various Punjabi artistes who have been blowing their trumpets about the desi guns, cars, alloy wheels and the geris. However, Rabbi's ideology and his attempt to sound politically correct must be spared as he explains,
"There is a lot of hard work that goes into making a musician, so all due respect to those who are in the profession. There are many Punjabs in our Punjab; this leaves the Punjabis in a sheer state of ambiguity. Moreover, we are still in a transitional stage - developing from an agricultural economy to an industrial one, therefore, the guns, the cars and the huge cry for attention!"
So, what is Rabbi's idea of Punjab? When asked, he quips, "Well, there is one woman who I owe my idea of Punjab to and that's my dadiji! I think Punjab vests in the bosom of its women who nurture it with culture and tradition."
The slightly tinted aviators were not quiet doing their office, as the look in his eyes softened while reminiscing about the good old days: "Jalandhar was the media outlet for our programmes initially. Alas, the privatisation of radios and television channels has given a severe blow to our culture. Have you ever wondered why would TV channels host award shows and why not any other organisation?" he mumbles."I have a term for this transition, it's called 'cultural bullying'," he says.
The candid outburst from the mellow phase was apparent as he starts to speak: "I yearn to talk in Punjabi when I come here, but all I see is that Chandigarh wants to be the next Delhi. And the rest of the Punjab, well, it wants to be the next Chandigarh. All I am looking for is Punjab, but it seems to be in a deep conflict with itself. Thankfully, the Indi music culture still beats in the state's heart, which soothes my nerve to a degree beyond expression."
Passionate as he is, when asked about his future prospects, he says, "I have made music for a couple of Bollywood movies and you shall be hearing it soon. In addition, I would love to sing for Punjabi cinema."
Rabbi sips on some water and walks towards the garden to pose for a photograph, his words linger… and they echo just as well in the new album.