Gurdas Maan: A Living Legend
Gurdas Mann is a legend. He has brought Bhangra music and Punjab to the forefront. He has toured the globe and charmed audiences with his versatile performances. Despite being Punjabi music’s biggest icon, Gurdas Maan is unassuming about his success, but enthusiastic to note he is entrenched in his culture. Not only is he musically gifted, but a talented actor, songwriter, poet, choreographer and moreover a Punjabi. “I am proud to be Punjabi, but I feel a lot of pride in the Punjabi people who regard me in such a manner.” Maan’s popularity transcends regional barriers, and he has sung songs in different languages and worked with music directors from Bollywood and others from all over the country. Maan is still at the top of his game and he strives to delight his fans with sold out shows loaded with his greatest hits. Maan was born 1957 in Giddarbaha, Muktsar District, Punjab His song “Dil Da Mamala Hai” brought him to national attention in India in 1980. The song became a mega hit all over the country and Maan has never looked back and continued to rise to superstardom. His career spans more than three decades with churning out hit albums, since his breakout hit, he has recorded over 29 albums and 200 songs. Gurdas Maan was formally educated in Malout and after completing his education, his parents moved him to Patiala for further studies.
So what encompasses the icon’s ability to continue making music? “There are no secrets; it is simply a case of eating healthy, getting regular exercise and approaching life and any issues calmly. If the heart is young, then you will never get old,” affirms Maan. These are wise words from the singer who confirms that he is extremely passionate about music and devotes hours to his art. “Music in itself is a passion – like many people I, too divert all my energy into music. I have achieved much through my dedication and contribution to music. However, I have not achieved everything. It is a long journey and each day you learn something new,” notes Maan. He strives to stay connected to his Punjabi roots, partly because he insists that like music, Punjab is also his passion. “Punjab is astounding. It is full of colour, culture, love, and tradition. My passion and lover for music is such that when I begin to focus on a new concept, I feel that I enter into another dimension in which there is no pressure or stress just harmony.”
Credit goes to Gurdas Maan for raising Punjabi music from a mere regional level genre to an international level by giving it a fresh appealing sound. Not only is Maan a creative genius, but he has been a tremendous influence on numerous artists. However, what is astounding is irregardless of his stature, Maan remains humble on his success. “It is an honour to be cited in such a way, I am touched when I hear this. It gives me great satisfaction that my contribution has such influence on the new and younger generations, who also wish to keep contact with their Punjabi roots,” states Maan. When asked what he believes is the best and worst things about being Gurdas Maan, the singer laughs and notes, “That is a very difficult question. The best thing would be simply to having the privilege of being a Punjabi artist who has been supported and welcomed by Punjabi people all over the world. There are no bad things.”
Gurdas Maan is a pioneer in many ways and keeps trying to better things by doing something different; be-it using different kinds of music or giving new dimension to an old folk song. For Maan, a live performance is like stepping into another world. “My inner Gurdas Maan is revealed when I am performing live – it is something from within, something that is not awakened by any other form of distraction other than when my feet touch the state in front of a live audience,” asserts Maan. When attending the legend’s concert, the audience is typically very interactive and the crowd is composed of various age groups. In fact, Maan’s singing is so compelling that whole families attend in unison, which identifies that the lyrics appeals to the young, old. “Audiences have given me so much love over the years that it is always a pleasure to perform. I feel so proud to see that the younger generation is connected to their culture. It has inspired me to continue with my music and to deliver my songs directly to the audience,” states Maan.
In the star’s opinion, there are many things that ultimately make a good song. “There are many factors that contribute to a good song, but for me, the content and meaning are very important. Every song should have a meaning or a lesson about life and its issues. When writing a song, my aim is always to portray it in such a manner that each time the song is heard, someone somewhere will listen and learn from it,” states Maan. According to Maan, his songs Mamala Garbar Hai, Challa, Boot Polishan and Apna Punjab Hove all get the biggest responses from the crowd.
Along with his music, Gurdas Maan has two films in the pipeline, entitled Chak De Jawana and Sukhmani. In terms of his own ambitions, Maan notes, “I have no unfulfilled ambitions. If anything, I would just like to continue with my contribution to the Punjabi culture and people.” When asked what his advice is for new artists, Maan states, “I would encourage them to give their full commitment, learn to never give up and never forget their roots.” Gurdas Maan will be performing in Vancouver on August 1 at the Pacific Coliseum. So what can we expect from the singer’s performance? “As usual I am to please. You can definitely expect a full live show and as always a few surprises,” notes Maan.