Thursday, October 2, 2003

Emerging out of brother Daler's shadow

Harjeet Mehndi, brother of Daler Mehndi

"A NATURAL performer, very much like my brother" is how Harjeet Mehndi, younger brother of Bhangra king, Daler Mehndi, would like to describe himself. And for almost an entire decade, this California based Punjabi artiste has hesitated to come to the limelight because he wanted to "sound half as good as his brother."

However, Harjeet is quick to point out at the outset that he and his brother are poles apart, "I respect him a lot, but we are two different people when it comes to music," says this soft spoken Californian who has been living abroad for the past 18 years.

Equally at ease with singing in Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, Bhojpuri and even Arabic, Harjeet says he learnt to survive early on in his career by never saying no."So if I get a client who only wants me to sing Gujarati numbers for three hours, I do that, " says Harjeet.

His debut album, "Nach Punjaban", is now planned for release under the banner of DM music.

A livewire on the stage who has performed in major cities of Canada and Europe besides U.S., Harjeet says there is so much of diversity in the U.S. that it has helped him to master as many languages as he could learn. But being the youngest brother of Daler Mehndi could sometimes prove to be a little difficult as expectations always run high.

"I have never let my brother's name become a hurdle in my music. In any case, both of us have different singing styles," he asserts.

A compilation of highly charged rhythmical stormers, Harjeet "Nach Punjaban" is a mix of Punjabi folk and modern beats with a definite appeal for the young. The album kicks off with the little track and brings out all that is good in the Punjabi psyche cheerful bonhomie and an unflagging ability to party. "It is music that has been put through the hip-hop blender and yet stamped with the name Mehndi on all tracks," says Harjeet. As for the music videos, they are a treat to watch as well. "The promos are already on in all the leading channels," informs the artist.

With a singing style that is uniquely his own, Harjeet is definitely different from Daler's younger brother, Mika. "Mika has a style of his own and as for Dalerji, he is a class apart. But I haven't tried to encash on my elder brother's creativity and credibility which also explains why I have been cautious in launching myself in India," says Harjeet, who claims to have matured and mellowed over the years. And while it remains to be seen how this latest entrant into the Punjabi music scene would be received, he has Daler's blessings. "I am happy that I am being launched by DM Music. But I want to be recognised for what I am," he says.