Singer Satinder Sartaaj talks sufi songs and music trends ahead of Dubai show

The Punjabi Sufi-singer will perform live in Dubai for the first time on September 17


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 11:31 AM

Last updated: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 11:42 AM

Satinder Sartaaj, a household name in the Punjabi music industry, known specially for his unique soulful sufi renditions, is coming to Dubai for his first-ever live performance in the city.

Sartaaj’s lyrics are all about Punjabi culture and sufi mysticism. He has also collaborated with international musicians including Nelly Furtado, Talib Kweli, and other American music stars. Apart from music, Sartaaj has also delved into the motion picture scene. He marked his debut with The Black Prince in 2017, playing the role of Maharaja Duleep Singh which earned him critical acclaim.

At the September 17 show fans can expect his greatest hits, including Udaarian, Sajjan Raazi, Massomiyat, Suttey Rehan De, Qaseeda, and Sharminda among many others.

“I am thrilled to be performing in Dubai, the city which is considered a melting pot of cultures from around the world,” Sartaaj had said earlier. “It’s an honour and a privilege to perform for an audience that is this diverse yet so connected through their love for music.”

We caught up with Sartaaj ahead of his show in Dubai. (The conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.)

The Punjabi music industry has changed a lot in the past decade. It went from making soulful, meaningful music to songs on materialism. What do you think caused that shift?

It’s majorly the impression of the rap artists from the West. In the western culture there is a wider acceptance for that sort of imagery. But here in the East, it’s sort of complex to show the existence in the same or equal way.

What do you think about the current popular music culture?

I generally consider it as a tagline culture because music is melody for me.

The music you create stands out from the rest, what is your inspiration?

I’m humbled by the admiration. For me, it’s all about going with your inner instinct; so whatever comes to my thoughts, I try to pen it down as it is without any alterations. It's the necessity of being a poetic musician. Next, I try to put it in a composition as naturally as it can be.

Your most popular song Udaarian has tugged at heartstrings across the globe. What was the process of making it like?

You probably would not believe it but it was written in 2004 and got selected during the making of an album called Seasons Of Sartaaj. Although it was recorded after so many years of its creation, it fortunately turned out very well. What made it more beautiful was the video which was shot in Yorkshire Dales, England.

You have also stepped into films with impressive performances in The Black Prince and Ikko-Mikke, will we see you in any upcoming projects?

Yes, there’s a film titled Kali-Jotta which we’ve completed shooting, and post production as well as its music is also done. It is releasing in February next year. The film also features songs that I like.

How do you prepare yourself for a concert?

I completely dedicate myself to concerts. Even before leaving home for a tour, I start preparing my mind for the city I am going to perform in. The most important element about concerts for me is balancing the audio/sound equipment along with the list of unrecorded special songs for the audience.

What is your favourite part about performing live?

Seeing the happy, indulged, cherished faces of the audience; it makes me content and satisfied for being a creative artist, particularly on stage.

What do you like best about Sufi music - what attracted you to it?

The mystical element of it. Sometimes, a few hidden things are more beautiful than saying it directly. The metaphorical way of poetry is what I relish the most.

What can fans expect from your Dubai show?

First of all, the Arabian land is itself a beauty for the impression of poetry and ethnic musical extravaganza. The graceful culture of the Emirates will add delicacy to my performance. Since Dubai is now the new centre of the world, I am expecting some of the most beautiful listeners from around the globe. I will try to choose the songs which will be more co-relatable to the diaspora living in the UAE. In the end, my hearty gratitude to Khaleej Times for the appreciation and honour.

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