BBC – Music – Review of Gurdas Maan

Longevity in the music industry is a rare thing nowadays, with artists barely lasting more than a few releases. But one singer songwriter who’s stood the test of time is Gurdas Maan. Arguably the most notable figure in the world of Punjabi music, he’s dominated the scene for over three decades and managed to attract (and maintain) a huge fanbase in and outside of India.

The key to Maan’s continuing success is his ability to create music that is both entertaining and meaningful. Another example of this is Jogiya, his 35th album, which offers a soulful blend of socially conscious, romantic and amusing songs.

Drawing inspiration from couplets by revered Indian poet Kabir, Jogiya is a lyrical treat. From the catchy opener Jogiya Ve Jogiya to the love ballad Tere Baajhon Saadi, Maan’s penned verses and warm vocals perfectly complement the melodies composed by his long-standing music partner, Jaidev Kumar.

Sounding as young and vital as he did back in 1980 when his song Dil Da Mamla Hai bought him to national attention, Maan’s rousing rendition of the qawwali-inspired Sai Jee Baithey Naal and bouncy bhangra number Gal Tere Matlab Di reinforces his reputation as a skilled singer. The only number that doesn’t quite work is Tumba Nahi Vajda, where funky contemporary beats jar with the album’s overall traditional sound.

While most diehard Maan fans will be pleased with Jogiya, some may argue the album lacks an obvious crowd-pleasing anthem like his ever-popular Apna Punjab Hove, Challa and Peer Tere Jaan Di. However, Jogiya isn’t about making commercial tracks aimed at rocking parties and filling dance floors; it’s about creating thought-provoking music with a flavour of realism.

In an age-biased music scene where the young are championed and old masters often overshadowed, Maan’s versatility and ability to keep up with the times and attract young generations of music lovers is no mean feat. And like a wandering minstrel spreading words of wisdom and love, you can’t help be swept away by the legend.

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