Voices of the Soul

World-famous Punjabi folk singers and sisters Prakash Kaur and Surinder Kaur, during their tour of Kenya in 1967, and pictured with Kenya’s legendary Punjabi poet – Sohan Singh Josh – and who was also Alaap’s lyrical backbone. He passed away in 2012, leaving behind an unrivalled body of works – his life being a celebration of achievements and innumerable accolades ..

Surinder Kaur, made her professional debut with a live performance on Lahore Radio in August 1943, and the following year, she and her elder sister, Parkash Kaur cut their first duet, ‘maavan ’te dheean ral baithian’, for the HMV label, emerging as superstars across the Indian subcontinent.

Singing had been an attraction for her since childhood, though her parents didn’t allow her to perform, saying it was ‘not acceptable for a Sikh girl to do any such thing’. But she proved her way through into fame, having left behind over 2000 recorded tracks to her name.

Surinder passed away at 77 in 2006, following a prolonged illness. Upon her death, the Prime minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh described her as ‘the nightingale of Punjab’, and ‘a legend in Punjabi folk music and popular music and a trend-setter in Punjabi melody.’

Prakash Kaur had passed away earlier at 63, in 1982.

Photo Credit – Deljinder Singh Mudher

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