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Punjabi folk to get a touch of Vietnam

Pardon us if we sound like zombies right now,” drawls Hari Singh of Hari and Sukhmani fame. “We’ve just returned from a long night of shoot for the Dewarists, where we composed a song with Trilok Gurtu,” he says, his excitement evident despite his state.

There’s no need to apologise really, for this two-member band and their melodious creations sound like anything but zombies. In the city for their first-ever gig, the duo are sure their eclectic mix of Hari’s electronica fused with the powerful, classical voice of Sukhmani will strike a chord with music lovers in Mumbai.

“We’re really excited to play here. After our experience with the Dewarists and Coke Studio, and having played to audiences at the Oktoberfest in Hyderabad and Bangalore, we can’t wait to play in Mumbai. Ours is a very performance-driven set, and we’re excited to see what the city has in store for us. We’ve already started receiving many messages and calls, so it’s definitely a good start,” he says.

Hailing from Chandigarh, this duo — Hari Singh is a producer-audio engineer and Sukhmani Malik is a trained Hindustani classical vocalist in the Rampur Gharana — came together in December 2008 and have since toured India, US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and have received rave reviews everywhere. Quite a feat, given that 80 per cent of their songs are in Punjabi, drawing inspiration from the folk songs of the state.

“Our best reviews have come from those who don’t understand the language. We have just returned from Dubai and Istanbul, and they loved our music. They enjoy it for all that it is,” beams Sukhmani.

The duo has already started preparing for their next project, a collaboration with Pakistani artiste Noorie, who they met while on their US tour. Speaking about their future plans, they say, “We’re into folk, and we want to work with different artistes to make more original music and videos.”

Hari and Sukhmani also promise something special for their Mumbai fans. Joining them at their performance at Blue Frog is the Vietnamese classical Western guitarist Thule and Arshad Khan on the esraj, a classical Indian string instrument. “We’ve been working with Thule and Khan for six months now, and their contrasting personalities and sounds add a different dimension to our music,” says Hari.

Catch Hari and Sukhmani at Blue Frog, on the 15th November from 10pm onwards

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