Sikander the good!

Aparna Banerji

Today News Online Service

Jalandhar, February 25

His sudden demise due to Covid is much of a personal loss for those who spent 80s and 90s charmed with his iconic songs. Noted for the mischief in his voice and unwavering humility in his persona, the music fraternity feels the departing of Punjabi singer Sardool Sikander on February 24 since an era of meaningful Punjabi music came to an end.

Hailing from the Kheri Naudh Singh village at Fatehgarh Sahib, Sardool Sikander shot to fame with the iconic song “roadways di laari” in 1987. He was among the artistes credited with ushering in an era of tasteful Punjabi music for TV and AIR.

He was a little-known singer in his brother’s Gamdoor Singh Aman’s group when he happened to be discovered by the doyens at the Doordarshan.

Filmmaker, director, producer and author Dr Harjit Singh, who discovered Sikander and first recorded his iconic ‘roadways di laari’ for Doordarshan, says, “Sardool came from a traditional music family. Music wasn’t a means of livelihood…it was a way of life. He was among the singers of the era who were completely dedicated to music irrespective of the dividends. While working on a play, I chanced upon a recording of the artiste who emulated the likes of Ghulam, Gurdas Mann and Yamla Jatt with panache. His brother Gamdoor Singh was a B-high artist with AIR and Sikander sung with his brother’s troupe and Co. But in his pursuit, when I first happened to hear him live, I was moved to the core. I believe we were lucky to have found a talent like him.”

Sikander first crooned ‘roadways di laari’ for Dr Harjit Singh’s famous programme ‘Raunak Mela’ – and a star was born.

The iconic singer didn’t forget to call Singh to his wedding day with singer Amar Noori, he, unfortunately, wasn’t able to make it due to a personal crisis at the time.

On the way back after attending the singer’s last rites, Dr Singh adds, “The loss can’t be explained in words. In those days there was a clamour for studios. So, we had to do recordings in a bind to clear it for the next producer or director. He would keep his costumes ready and would accomplish recordings in minutes. Due to a personal crisis at the time, I couldn’t attend his wedding. But he still kept a chair for me on the occasion. Later, every time he met me, he would say “bhaji tusi bande tan bare vadhiya ho, par tusi mere vyah te nahi aaye (brother, you are a diamond, but you didn’t come to my wedding).” At his last rites on Thursday, his words rung in my ears, with his demise an era of music is lost. It is a huge personal loss for me.”

Dr Lakhwinder Johal, president Punjab Press Club Jalandhar and director and producer at DD, added, “We began our association with Sikander when he was yet to be popular and went on to become the most iconic of luminaries of Punjabi music. But, he had the same aura and same humility around him. He met with the same warmth and love. He was among the most talented musicians in the Punjabi music industry, and while famous for flawlessly mimicking Punjabi legends, he also caught us off guard on many occasions. He would often call impersonating another artiste and we would talk for minutes thinking it is someone else. He had faced many lows in life but his personal relations and warmth always remained the same.”

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