The heritage and power of Punjab are extremely strong in DJ/producer Sumit Sethi’s ongoing project. Titled ‘Punjab Project’, the project has led to the release of two songs till date – ‘Neher Waale Pul’ and ‘Veera’ – both of which are an ode to the very essence of Punjabi folk music. “The Punjab Project aims to protect and keep relevant the heritage of Punjabi folk music, by compositionally giving the traditional strains of music a contemporary encasement. The key objective of this project is to put the spotlight on the rich culture and musical traditions of the Punjabi folk music,” says Sethi. (Sumit’s Interview is taken from India Today)
His latest track, ‘Veera’, “draws from two famous folk songs that popularly feature in Punjabi weddings” and features the vocals of singer Jasmine Sandalas.
“Jasmine Sandalas,” says Sethi, “had the raw voice and the perfect modern Punjabi mutiyaar personality to be part of this track. Her vibe and digital following across the globe only adds to the real idea behind the project — to popularize folk among the youth. All my efforts in collaborations will be focused on artistes who have a global reach, again for the reason mentioned above. She was a perfect fit, in many ways. And then she is a friend too.” For his future collaborations – ‘Neher Waale Pul’ featured Sona Mohapatra – Sethi is not looking for singers but someone with a complete package. “Singing talent alone is abundant in our country and reality shows are doing a great favour to them already. I need a 360 degree approach to my collaborations – talent, live stage, digital presence and a lot more, so that we can actively push the legacy of Punjab music ahead.
Keeping this thought in mind, Sethi lists Richa Sharma, Daler Mehendi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Neha Bhasin as some of the singers who are on his radar. “I am keeping my fingers crossed for the next big one,” he adds.
Punjabi Folk music has a rich culture, very rich in-fact, we fully understand the Sumit Sethi loves Punjabi music and the folk roots that make it so real. To say you love something and you wish to carry it forward for future generations is a great idea, but one thing you must do, is fully grasp the journey of a folk track, grasp the lyrics picture the scenario and marry the music and video to that, only be doing this do you then gift future music fans the essence of Punjabi Folk Music.
‘Neher Waale Pul’ though it starts of as a musical ode to a classic soon buries the essence of the story with the music used, and quite frankly pisses in the “Naher”, this will not teach youngsters anything about the folk history of this track, but will build brand Sethi and his fanbase, at a cost to a folk music classic.
‘Veera’ if you want to pay respects to the heritage of the folk classic’s used within this song, then please use a wedding setting, show the relevance of it, because i’m sorry the video is a big slap in the face of all those who love folk music.
Sethi Ji, you are a great musician, but do not use the ruse of Punjabi Folk music to sell brand Sethi, call these tracks what they are cover versions produced by you, and not a depiction of the originals. Do not say that these are an ode to Punjabi Folk music, as you will have a many a Punjabi Folk Legend weeping in the heavens.
If you are a fan of Punjabi Folk music Mr Sethi, please show it’s rich heritage the respect it deserves.