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Monsoon Festival: Silky smooth Pav Dharia and harmonious Gurtêj headline free Sunday concert in Punjabi Market

Pav Dharia
Pav Dharia is an international sensation with his emotional Punjabi music and well-crafted videos.

On Sunday (August 27), Vancouver’s Punjabi Market will come alive unlike ever before. In partnership with the Punjabi Market Collective, the Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts will bring a long list of musical performers to the main stage at Main Street and East 49th Avenue, along with dance, visual, art, cuisine, and fashion.

One of the headliners is Pav Dharia, a silky smooth Sydney-based crooner who’s putting his own stamp on Punjabi music. It’s remarkable that the event producers are able to present such a gifted performer without any admission fee.

As I watched several of Dharia’s videos on YouTube, his music reminded me, in a subtle way, of the great Bollywood songwriting legend A.R. Rahman, minus the master’s heavier Sufi influences. Every one of Dharia’s videos tells a story, sometimes involving a man losing in love, supplemented by lush cinematography. Is it any wonder that Dharia launched his career as a music producer and video director?

Take “False Promises”, for example. A hypnotic melody underscores his rapid-fire rap, with Dharia periodically appearing upside-down on-screen. The camera work is a metaphor for how the character’s life has turned out.

Another memorable track, “Sly”, again shows a man unlucky with romance. Director Rohit Negah’s video shows Dharia sitting on the back of a beamer, angrily belting out his pain over a partner not willing to leave her lover for him. Cinematographer Savvy Singh captures the entire drama in a single continuous shot.

Dharia is not just a word, it’s emotion

Yet another song of heartache, “Not Mine”, has a deeper Bollywood vibe. The female lead, Mina Hussaini, alternates between joyful connection and detachment from Dharia in the video. Scenes of a cool all-white room are juxtaposed with light-hearted love amid the scenic beauty of Sydney.

Dharia released all three of these songs this year. They reveal a mature performer at the height of his powers. He certainly knows his brand. As one of his fans declared on YouTube: “Pav Dharia is not just a word, it’s emotion.”

In 2013, Dharia’s first album, Red, was a sensation in the Punjabi-language music world. He followed up with Solo, which included the monstrously successful “Na Ja”. Check it out below.

Dharia isn’t the only out-of-towner on the bill at Punjabi Market Live. New York-based singer-songwriter Gurtêj, a.k.a. NY Virtuoso, will perform his highly accessible original songs.

Gurtêj’s bio describes his music as “an invitation to connect” and “a harmonious bridge between generations and cultures”. An example is this year’s “Noyz – Ride Alone”.

He also offers his own spin on Western hits, such as “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers. Check it out below.

B.C.-based performers in the lineup include Shaheed Baba Da Deep Singh Ji Gatka, Akhara, Dhol Nation Alliance, Cinnamon Sandhu, Jolene Queen Sloan, members of the Rangla Punjab Arts Acadeemy, Varinder Vicky and Navreet Kaur, Surya Brass Band, Club Mumbai performers, Dashmeet Singh, Varnnitha and Pooja Classical Fusion Dance, Anju Bedi Sitarist, and Coastal Wolfpack.

The Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts and Punjabi Market Collective present Punjabi Market Live from 12 to 6 p.m. on Sunday (August 27). Admission is free. For more information, visit the Monsoon Festival website. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia and on Instagram @PancouverMedia.

 

 

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.