In the maze of chaos, in the words of silence, in the tranquil madness of love, there is a song that’s itching to be sung. Aman Suraj, a city-based artiste, speaks volumes about his passion for music that defines his Sufi-folk cult. If you frequent Peddlers on Wednesdays to relish a pint of chilled beer over good music, you can never miss out on Aman’s voice and a hooting lot asking for more!
“Everyone can sing,” says Aman, “then there are some who people like while others who they don’t. Astonishingly, it’s all about feeling the pulse of the town you are singing in.”
Sincerity seeps his voice as he continues, “It’s your audience that makes you and I would go out of my way to sing for them. It’s all about connecting.”
On being questioned about his genre of music and if at all it clicks with the Chandigarh masses, Aman smiles and replies in all humility. “I know we are evolving. Cities are dynamic, sometimes drastic, Chandigarh is reconciling with its culture. An amalgam of Sufi and folk played on guitar gives its rustic self a blend of modernity and people instantly relate to tracks like ‘Challa’, ‘Jugni’ and ‘Dama Dum Mast Kalandar’ to name a few. I am not insinuating that there is no audience for rock, jazz or blues and honestly music does transcend all barriers of language. But somehow Punjab does connect with a contemporary twist in tradition.”
The 20-year-old juggles with dental studies and music simultaneously; when asked about how he keeps up with the pace he quips, “Let’s just say that I’m good at two-timing! But on a serious note, it’s a lot of hard work. My family supports my music and that makes it easy for me. Also, it has its own advantages, like making extra pocket money.”
Prakash Tulli, who attends Aman’s gigs regularly, says, “I keep coming back to his voice because it’s refreshing and peppy and though I barely understand Punjabi, his set sounds great and lifts me up.” Another regular to his gigs is Himanshu Kappal, a city-based musician, who says, “Aman has a very strong voice and a great range. Also, he pulls a grand crowd, but to sustain he does need to expand his range of tracks for we love to get more from him.”
Vipul Dua, the owner of Peddlers, says, “Aman is extremely talented, thus the Sufi Saturday. What I like about Aman is the fact that he connects with the crowd instantly. Also, he has the hang of looping in a lot of youngsters with his kind of music which works really well for us.”
Aman has been the home-band for Books and Brew, and has performed at several other music bars and cafes in the city, he reaches for his guitar and strums an E minor, “I don’t want Punjabi music to lose its sheen. All that I aim at giving is a ‘perspective’, regular or special, but served fresh and seasoned with your favourite notes.”