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Meet the Japanese turbanator

This Singh sings in Japanese, dances in a kimono and swirls his umbrella like opera performers from the orient. In fact, he is one himself. Sarabjit Singh Chadha, a Delhi-based businessman and the world’s first non-Japanese singer of Enka, a traditional Japanese music genre, performed in Delhi on Saturday.

music Updated: Nov 28, 2011 01:07 IST
Aditi Pant

This Singh sings in Japanese, dances in a kimono and swirls his umbrella like opera performers from the orient. In fact, he is one himself.



Sarabjit Singh Chadha, 59, a Delhi-based businessman and the world’s first non-Japanese singer of Enka, a traditional Japanese music genre, performed in Delhi on Saturday, with Enka band, Tokamachi Natsumero Aikokai.



He admits that people are surprised at his perfection of a Japanese music genre and that gets him a lot of attention. “I got attracted to Enka songs because they sounded like Indian songs to me. I began singing at parties and friends egged me on to take it professionally,” says Singh, who went to Tokyo when he was 16. “Being the first non-Japanese Enka singer, and to top that a turbaned sikh, got me a lot of attention and my first song came out in 1975. It sold 1,80,000 records.”



Not just this, Singh also found love in Japan. He met his wife of 28-years, Kyoko in Japan. “My wife loves India and was very happy to settle here. I met her while I was setting up my apparel business in Japan,” he says.



So, what prompted him to bring Enka to India? “I was sure Enka would appeal to the Indians as it is deep- rooted in emotions. I’ve translated some Enka songs in Hindi so that people can understand the lyrics. I’ll be performing in both languages,” he says.