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Published on 16 Nov 2012 | over 5 years ago

Surinder Kaur was a Punjabi singer-songwriter. She sang mainly Punjabi folk songs, where she is credited for pioneering and popularising the genre and later was known as the 'Nightingale of Punjab'. She also sang songs in some Hindi moviesas playback singer, between 1948-1952.

In an illustrious spanning nearly six decades, her repertoire included Punjabi Sufi Kafis of Bulleh Shah and verses by contemporary poets like Nand Lal Noorpuri, Amrita Pritam, Mohan Singh and Shiv Kumar Batalvi giving memorable songs like, maavan 'te dheean,jutti kasuri, paireen na poori, madhaniyan, ehna akhiyan 'ch pavan kiven kalra and ghaman di raat lammi hai jan mere geet lamme ne. In time her wedding songs, most notably lathe di chadar, suhe ve cheere waleya and kaala doria, became an indelible part of Punjabi culture.

Kaur made her professional debut with a live performance on Lahore Radio in August 1943, and the following year on August 31, 1943, she and her elder sister, Parkash Kaur cut their first duet, "maavan 'te dheean ral baithian", for the HMV label, emerging as superstars across the Indian subcontinent.

Following Punjab's 1947 owing to partition of India, Kaur and her parents relocated to Ghaziabad, Delhi, next she married Prof. Joginder Singh Sodhi, a lecturer in Punjabi literature at Delhi University. Recognising her talent, her husband became her support system, and soon she started a career as a playback singer in Hindi film industry in Bombay, introduced by music director, Ghulam Haider. Under him she sang three songs in the 1948 film Shaheed, including Badnam Na Ho Jaye Mohabbat Ka Fasaana, Aanaa hai tho aajaao and Taqdeer ki aandhi...hum kahaan aur thum kahaan. Her true interest however lay in stage performances and reviving Punjabi folk songs, and she eventually moved back to Delhi in 1952.

In the decades to follow, her husband continued to guide her singing career. "He was the one who made me a star," she later recalled. "He chose all the lyrics I sang and we both collaborated on compositions." Together Kaur and Sodhi wrote such classics as "Chan Kithe Guzari Aai Raat," "Lathe Di Chadar," "Shonkan Mele Di," and "Gori Diyan Jhanjran", "Sarke-Sarke Jandiye Mutiare". The couple they also served as the public face of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA), an arm of the Indian Communist party in Punjab, spreading messages of peace and love to the most remote villages of East Punjab; she also travelled to many parts of the world performing Punjabi folk songs, gaining rapid popularity.

In all, Kaur recorded more than 2,000 songs, including duets with Asa Singh Mastana, Karnail Gill, Harcharan Grewel, Rangila Jatt, and Didar Sandhu. Although her life and collaboration with Sodhi was cut short upon the educator's death in 1976, she continued the family's creative tradition via duets with their daughter and disciples, Rupinder Kaur Guleria, better known as Dolly Guleria and granddaughter Sunaini, culminating in the 1995 LP, 'Surinder Kaur - The Three Generations.

1. Akhiyaan Ch Toon Vasda ► 00:00
2. Lathe Di Chadar Utte Saleti ► 04:01
3. Mainu Heere Heere Akhe ► 07:04
4. Ik Meri Akh kashni ► 10:45
5. Chan Kithe Guzari Ayeerat ► 14:11

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