Famous Punjabi folk singer Gurmeet Bawa, known as “lambi hek di Mallika”, died in a hospital in Amritsar on Sunday. She was 77 years old.
She was rushed to hospital on Saturday after complaining of weakness, her husband Kirpal Bawa, also a folk singer, said. âShe felt weak and tired. She had no health problems earlier and had played until three days ago, âsaid Kirpal Bawa.
Among the first female artists to perform on Doordarshan, the native of Kothey village in Batala, Gurdaspur district, was best known for her 45-second âhekâ (the alaap when opening a song ) considered to be the longest of all Punjabi. folk singer.
Born in 1944, Bawa wanted to be a teacher but, encouraged by her husband, she began to sing professionally. She proved her courage and created ripples in the Punjabi music world with her rendition of “Jugni”.
âI wanted to see her as the brightest singer in the whole world. She didn’t disappoint me, âKirpal said.
âGurmeet is the one who started the long ‘hek’ trend before starting a song. It was in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where she set the record of 45 seconds hek, âhe added. The record was set during the International Art Festival in 1987. Artists from 18 countries performed there.
Dr Ravjot Kaur, associate professor from Kapurthala, who did his doctorate on folk songs from Bawa, said: “She was probably the first artist to return home to villages in Punjab to collect folk music treasures and to preserve.”
Describing his 45 second âhekâ, Bawa in an interview with Ravjot Kaur said: âSuddenly there was thunderous applauseâ¦ I continued to singâ¦ I don’t know when it lasted so long. When we left the room, a woman came running up and said, ‘Ma’am, you are wonderful. Your ‘Hoâ¦ (hek) lasted 45 secondsâ¦’.
The lyrics for the first song she performed at the festival were written by Gurcharan Boparai. It was written: “Sone rang phullan wale, toriye from anney banney .. haaniyan principal phiran pailan pabandi, gori khushi vich nachdi tey gaandi ..”.
âKaharon doli na chayo, ke mera babul aaya niâ and âHariye ni ras bhariye khajurey, kiney ditta enni door haiâ are among his most famous folk songs.
She had started her career in 1968 and was known to sing with Punjabi folk instruments such as algoze, chimta, dholki and tumbi. In most of her performances, she was accompanied by âChacha Chimtey Walaâ, a musician who played the traditional âchimtaâ instrument. He also died a few years ago.
Raju, a dholak player who accompanied Bawa, said: âThree days ago we played in a sangeetâ¦ She used to sing ‘suhaag, ghodi’ songs.
Bawa had represented India in various music festivals in USSR, Japan, Libya, Syria, Malaysia, France, Thailand and Pakistan.
A Japanese company recorded her singing voice and released the album in 1988. Describing its work, the Japanese company stated that it was “a recording of the folk song from the region around the Indus River in the Punjab regionâ¦ His powerful voiceâ¦ is overwhelming â.
During his career, Gurmeet Bawa has received many accolades including the State Award from the Government of Punjab, Sangeet Puraskar from Sangeet Natak Akademi, National Devi Ahilya Award from Government of Madhya Pradesh and Shiromani Gayika Award from Punjabi Language Department. .
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit has expressed his condolences for his disappearance. “The death of the Punjab nightingale is a great loss for the Punjab and Punjabian folklore enthusiasts around the world,” said the governor and added that the presidential citation holder will always be remembered for her contribution to the song. folk.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said in a tweet: “Shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Gurmeet Bawa Ji. His contribution to Punjabi folk music is indelible.”
Former CM Capt Amarinder Singh also expressed his condolences on Bawa’s death. âHis passing will leave a great void in the Punjabi music industry,â he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Minister of Higher Education Pargat Singh also expressed sorrow over the death of the eminent folk singer.
In a statement, Randhawa said Bawa “has carved out a niche for himself with his soulful, melodic voice and has served Punjabi folk music for over half a century.”
Shiromani Akali Dal conductor Sukhbir Singh Badal said that “the legendary singer’s contribution to the Punjabi music industry and his achievements will always be remembered.”
Former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur said: âThe winner of the Shiromani Gayika Prize will be remembered for glorifying the Punjabi people on international platforms. Legends never die, they continue to live on in their works â.
Bawa is survived by her husband Kirpal and her daughters Glory Bawa and Simran Bawa. Her third daughter Lachi Bawa, who was also a folk singer, died of cancer in February last year.