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MAGICAL MAAN:Punjab’s legendary music maestro, Gurdas Maan rocks Atlanta

June 2006
MAGICAL MAAN:Punjab’s legendary music maestro, Gurdas Maan rocks Atlanta


Not yet 11, Pranavi Narula has never heard Punjabi music, yet after hearing Gurdas Maan's latest CD Vilayatan she was hooked. So much so, that even after 5 hours of Kathak practice, Pranavi sat through a three-and-a half hour concert and exclaimed after the show, "What is there beyond this music?"

They drove from as far off as Michigan to see Maan, the man who has made Punjabi music an international phenomenon. And the legendary Punjabi music maestro didn't disappoint his fans either as he danced, sang, and completely dazzled a mesmerized audience at the Vaisakhi Concert hosted by the Sikh American Society of Georgia, at the Clayton County Performing Arts center, Atlanta on May 6th.

Resplendent in a lavender lungi kurta, trademark tambourine in his hand, the legendary musician, began the concert with a prayer, before belting out some of his most beautiful numbers- from his evergreen Challa, to songs like Vilayatan Ho Gayee Ye, Hai Mera Dil, Punjabiyan Di Balle Balle from his latest chartbuster album Vilayatan. But, it was the song Baba Bhangra Paunde Ne that brought seventy-year-old Harbans Khanna, up on stage as Maan jokingly said he was looking for a "baba" (elderly man/ spiritually man).

So overcome with emotion was Khanna that he told an unassuming Maan, "I have waited for many years in the hope that you will come and I could show you how much I love you and your music, and can bless you."

Not only the old, but even eight-year-old Jasleen went on stage and danced her heart out - her hands and legs moving with gusto to his songs.

The song also brought forth some hilarious bantering between Maan, his band members, and the audience. Maan followed this up with some more beautiful numbers like Ishq Di Mari , Ki Khataya Mein Teri Heer Banke and Peed Tere Jaan Di among others.

Perhaps what makes the singer so unique is his ability to speak of the most significant issues in the simplest of words. To add to the richness and depth of his thoughts, Maan manages to embellish those words with beautiful melodies grounded in the folk songs of Punjab and the Sufiana spirit.

A song by Amarinder, who, with his strong, melodious voice sounds a lot like Maan, heralded the second half. Next, Maan took to the stage with thoughts on the status of the girl child in India. He invited Jasleen on stage and sang about how when a girl is born, she is regarded by her parents as paraya dhan (someone else's treasure). Maan continued this trend of thought with Heer, a song in which Heer asks her father, as she is being sent to her in-laws, to let her stay for one more night at home and asks him to forgive her for any mistakes made.

Jasleen, sensing the somber tone of the rendition, stayed almost still and then as Maan switched gears, Jasleen rocked the stage with the singer, as he clapped and cheered her on, even doing a cartwheel after her.

Much to the disappointment of his fans, Maan didn't sing his two swan songs - Mamla Gadbad Hai and Dil Da Mamla Hai, but instead, belted out hits like Sajna ve Sajna and Pind Diya Galiyan, bringing to mind memories of a lost childhood. He also enthralled the audience with his superhit track, which he calls ‘the new anthem' - Apna Punjab, ending the show with the beautiful Sarbans Daniya Ve, a homage to the sacrifices of Guru Gobind Singh.

It took Surinder Lalli the main coordinator of the concert along with his volunteers from SASGA nine months of planning and running around to make the night a reality." I went door to door selling tickets, got some great publicity, and it was wonderful to see such a huge turnout."

Dignitaries, along with die-hard Maan fans too graced the occasion. Lt Gov Mark Taylor, a popular politician with the Indian community came all the way from Alabama to honor Maan with a plaque.

It was truly a night to remember. Balle, balle ho gayee!

By Kavita Chibber

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