Sufi Flavour at Cannes

Last year,he debuted at the Cannes Film Festival as a guest to promote his Punjabi film Khushiyaan.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: May 13, 2012 3:01 am

Last year,he debuted at the Cannes Film Festival as a guest to promote his Punjabi film Khushiyaan. This year,Jasbir Jassi has been chosen by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) to perform at the Incredible India theme party to be held at Cannes on May 21. It’s an “opportunity” that the singer has been working towards for the last year and a half. An hour before he boarded his flight from New Delhi to Toronto,Canada,where he was to perform at a Punjabi International Film Festival,the media-shy singer shared his delight at this unique chance to showcase his work.

“I have always wanted to make my presence felt in the global music arena and this is a turning point,” says Jassi,who is the first Punjabi singer to sing at the prestigious film festival. He sees the event as a platform to educate the global audience about “real Indian music” that’s rich with soul-stirring poetry soaked in rhythm and melody. “I want to tell people that our music is unmatched and we can touch hearts by singing songs with just a harmonium as an accompaniment,” says Jassi.

To make the show a memorable one,the singer has given the programme a Sufi flavour,and has been rehearsing for a couple of months now. He will be accompanied by six musicians and all of them will be dressed in traditional Punjabi phulkari outfits designed by Harinder Singh of the store 1469. “I will also be singing excerpts from the Gurbani,” adds the singer.

Live performances can be physically challenging and that’s something Jassi,who features in many live events in the state as well as overseas,learnt from late ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh. Incidentally,it was music director and singer Sukhwinder Singh who tipped him on Jagjit Singh’s excellent

vocal exercises. “It was Jagjitji who taught me how to strengthen my lung power and exercise the vocal chords without harming them,to control breath. He helped me work on vowels,clarity of sounds and pronunciation. He was the best,a master in carrying the sur to its zenith,” says Jassi. From Sukhwinder,Jassi got another useful tip — to sing under the shower. “It sounds crazy,but he does that and I followed. The logic is that under a shower,you only exhale and that is an exercise,” says Jassi.

Having a huge fan base who like his pop tracks,Jassi’s recent works have gone on to include Sufi poetry and music. He admits he has immersed himself into the works of Baba Bulleh Shah,Sultan Bahoo,Amir Khusrau,Farid,and can recite the likes of Mirza and Heer. “It is rooh di khurak (food for the soul),” admits the singer who takes on few film projects now and is training to be a “better actor”. More recently,he sang Amrita Pritam’s works for filmmaker Harjeet Singh’s film on poet-painter Imroz. An album is in the pipeline as well. After his made-in-New York album,Jassi Back with a Bang,didn’t fare well,the singer is hoping the new one will strike the right notes. He’s also working on a track with music directors Ehsaan and Loy for MTV Coke Studio. But for now it’s over to Cannes.

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