Tuesday, January 9, 2007
This award has come very late, but hopefully, it will get more work for me, for Punjabi folk music needs to be heard and appreciated more,'' the candid Idu Sharif tells you, referring to the Sahitya Akademi award that he's been chosen for.
A true-blue folk singer, Idu rues the fact that folk music is disappearing steadily. "No one sings the real Punjabi folk anymore, for people are more interested in listening to Punjabi pop,'' admits Idu.
With the sarangi as his companion, Sharif sings Sufi kalam like no other and says the songs are not about a community, but God.
"It's all changed now, when Sufi fakirs would sing, the world sang with them, and they would be lost to the concept of time and space, such was the magic of folk, but today's generation doesn't appreciate or understand folk music. Vulgarity has seeped into our art and music,'' says the singer, who sings mesmerizingly, the romantic tales of Punjab - Heer-Ranjha, Mirza-Sahiba and among his favourites as are Shah Husain, Bulle Shah, Baba Farid.
Idu learnt the notes and nuances from his father and has been singing for as long as he can remember. Music, he says, did not get him his bread in the earlier days and he recalls pulling the rehra and tonga to earn a living. But he never let the song disappear from his lips or let the music die.
"I remember I was going from the Lake to Sector 26, pulling my rehra and singing Thandi, Thandi hava and I saw people coming out of their homes and on the roofs, curious to see whose this was, when I sing I'm oblivious to everything around me,'' smiles Idu.
Sharif was chosen for the Rajiv Gandhi Utsav held in Delhi in '86, from among 25,000 singers, "I mesmerized many and took my sur to pancham, the harmonium surs were also over,'' Idu recalls, adding how he's sung for numerous dignitaries and national festivals.
The award makes him happy, but Idu says for him people's appreciation means everything, "no fusion, no gimmicks, for me only the song matters, and singing is all I know and all I want to do,'' he sums up.
Let the music play.