Mrs. Pushpa Kaur, Mrs. Ravinder Kaur and Mrs. Vani Kaur are trio of sisters who formed the Kaur Sisters Group. All three of them are registered “A” Grade Casual Artist with A.I.R. and Doordarshan. They have obtained their Master’s Degree in Vocal Music from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. They have performed in various musical concerts, stage shows, Bollywood movies, and celebrity and high-profile weddings across the country and abroad as well. Mrs Pushpa Kaur is the eldest of three. She was born in 1945. Extremely pleasant and warm by nature, Mrs Pushpa has many awards to her name. Engaging with me in a telephonic conversation, she has shared a chunk of her life with us.
About Kaur Sisters Company
Kaur Sisters group is registered with Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi. Kaur Sisters are specialised in Punjabi folk song genre. Besides Punjabi folk music, they also perform gazals, bhajans, and geet in Hindi, Marwari, Haryanvi, and Sindhi languages. Apart from the three sisters, the Group consists of a band and Bhangra-Gidda troupe which performs with them. The band consists of highly versatile musicians specialised in their fields along with well-trained Bhangra and Gidda performers. Owing to their specialisation in Punjabi folk, the Kaur sisters group were nominated by I.C.C.R to perform in Pakistan. In 2001, they released a Punjabi Album ‘Return to Folk – Mahia’, for which they received the Lashkara Punjabi Music Award. Their new album ‘Challa’ is awaiting its release. They have clientele such as Wizcraft, Shilpa Shetty, MDH group, etc. to their name.
Question: What inspired you to form Kaur Sisters Company?
Answer: We have a family background in Music. But the biggest inspiration has to be our father. Our father Late Shri Darshan Singh Gill was a noted Music Composer at All India Radio. We are four sisters and two brothers in total. Our father ensured all of us were trained in music right from our childhood. Under his guidance, we received formal training in classical music. He would wake us up at 4 am every day for Riyaz. So, music was nothing new to us, but rather attached to our family since a very long time.
Question: How long have you been into this field?
Answer: Since I was around 7 or 8 year old. I used to perform ghazals, bhajans and songs in stage shows since my childhood. When I was around 15, I started singing in a programme for kids called Chunmun on All India Radio for 5 Rs. As for Kaur Sisters Company, Ravinder, Vani and I registered as a recognised group under the name of Kaur Sisters in 1970. We have been into showbiz since then.
Question: What kind of audience do you cater to? Is it only Punjabi audience in weddings or non-Punjabi audience as well?
Answer: We perform for High Profile weddings, as well as government shows for promotion of culture organised by Punjabi Academy. We also perform in various shows and concerts, in India and abroad. As for the Ladies Sangeet in Weddings, we perform not just in Punjabi weddings, but for Baniya community, Marwari community, Jaat community as well as Jain community. We are liked by them as much as our Punjabi clients. We also perform in celebrity weddings.
Question: Are there any other projects in your mind?
Answer: We recently performed in Suncity, South Africa. The event saw attendance of many stars such as Sonu Nigam, Dia Mirza, Mona Singh, Hussain, Esha Gupta, Honey Singh to name a few. Our work was quite liked by all, including many Bollywood producers. We have got some offers too. We also collaborated with Harshdeep Kaur for a Bollywood song. We would really like work more in movies as in our time, the kind of exposure women could get was way less than what you all can get. My niece too, Aastha Gill (of DJ Wale Babu fame) is quite famous because they got the right exposue.
Question: Does government provide you any support for promoting Punjabi folk culture?
Answer: Apart from awards and recognition, none.
Question: What are some of your favourite Punjabi folk-songs?
Answer: It is very difficult to choose. But if I have to choose one, it would be Kale Rang da Paranda or Hulle Re Hullare.
Question: Are Punjabi folk-songs popular among people of Delhi?
Answer: Yes, very popular, I would say. And not just Delhi, they are very popular everywhere. We perform in so many countries, and I can say by experience that Punjabi folk songs have those beats and instruments which when combined with a marvellous performance can force even those to get up and dance who do not know how to or do not even know Punjabi language. The beats are ever green and ever-pleasing.
Question: In your opinion, are folk-songs liked by the youth? Are they being passed on to the next generation?
Answer: Yes, absolutely. I feel they are being passed on well to the gen-next, all thanks to Bollywood. All the songs nowadays are using a Punjabi folk music base, in one way or the other. Some are using the lyrics of famous Punjabi folk songs; some are using the traditional instruments used in Punjabi folk, and others, the traditional beats.
Question: Has the genre of folk-songs seen any changes?
Answer: Definitely the genre is seeing changes. We, as artists too, are trying to experiment by adding a touch of modern trends to these traditional folk songs. This way, we are ensuring the folk-songs are being passed on to the generations ahead. Had the folk-songs of today been the same without any change, they would be too slow for today’s taste. I believe a touch of western beats makes the folk songs ready for mass appeal. In our album ‘Return to Folk – Mahiya’, we too experimented with just a hint of western beats mixed with the traditional Punjabi folk-song genre of Mahiya. The response we got was tremendous. The song featured in top 10 countdowns on 3rd rank for over four months. I think that people nowadays love the fusion of western beats with the traditional Punjabi folk-songs.