Barkat Sidhu keeping the joy of Sufi singing alive

Barkat Sidhu keeping the joy of Sufi singing alivePatiala, April 20: Barkat Sidhu, an exponent of the Patiala gharana, is a sufi singer whose soul-stirring voice moves the listeners with the poetry of timeless poets like Bulleh Shah and Shah Hussain Farid.

Sidhu’s rendition of Sufi poets’ compositions touches listeners’ heart.

“I had keen interest in music since my childhood. The Punjab state was not well developed at that time. I spent my childhood in my maternal home in Shahpur. I used to go to various villages to sing `Qawalis’. There was no electricity in the villages and people used to light `diyas’ – or small earthen lamps. One person used to carry that lamp and we took a round of the village singing Malki-Keema, Heer-Ranjha, Laila-Majnu, Sassi-Punnu, Shirin-Fariyad,” said Barkat Sidhu, the Sufi Singer.

Sidhu tells that he started singing sufi songs as a child. He takes pride while sharing that his family is descendant of the Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev’s friend and a noted musician Bhai Mardana.

“I love to sing sufi songs and Shabad Kirtan (hymns). I faced a lot of difficulties in my life but I never accepted defeat. God helped me and with Guru’s grace, I continued singing sufi songs. A number of sufi singers came after me, who are very rich and own huge property and have money. There were instances when I came back empty handed after my performances. But continued with Sufi singing only and I also urge others to take it up,” says Barkat Sidhu.

Sidhu speaks with a philosophical mind when he says the awards are a sign of respect and love of the people. But when it comes to survival, everything becomes meaningless. One cannot compromise with hunger. An artist should be given some money along with the awards. It is very important to have money to fulfill the needs of the family. (ANI)