Up and Close with Hari and Sukhmani

Lead Music

Hari and Sukhamani chat with MAXIM about regional music.  

Why do you choose to sing in Hindi and Punjabi, when English could perhaps reach out to a wider audience throughout the world?

It’s actually what we are comfortable with, although we do use some English lyrics. A wise man once said, “Music has no language.”

What, then, is the future of regional music?

People in India are getting more aware about music, about artistes. In general, it’s a good time for music and musicians in India.

What is it about music that crosses boundaries?

We believe anything which reaches out to our senses affects us. Our auditory sense is one of the more acute of the lot, so any sound has a tendency to affect us. Music creates a mood, especially if it’s soulful, and that mood affects us which, in turn, inspires us in some way.

What’s the history behind Hari & Sukhmani? Did you wake up one day and decide to make music together?

Actually, we just fell into it. Sukhmani came to my {Hari’s} studio, because she had heard about me and I was working on something that she started humming to. We recorded it, and a few hours later, we had our first track, “Dreams.” After that, we never really looked back.

Which has been your favourite performance to date?

Loads... whenever the crowd is good, we have an amazing night.

How do you help each other evolve as musicians?

Sukhmani inspires me to be a better singer, and I’ve been encouraging her to get more hands-on in production. She’s got great ideas and is picking it up really fast. 

We hear you’re coming out with your first record. News?

Up until now, our focus has mainly been on our live performances, and letting people know we exist. Over the past year, we have shifted focus to collaborations and making more original songs. It’s been working out quite well for us. The Sohan Brass band has been one of our more exciting collabs, thanks to Sound Trek.

Do you continue to draw inspiration from Chandigarh?

Chandigarh was where it all started for us. We had a vision and, fortunately for us, the owners of the first lounge bar we ever played at shared the same vision. So Chandigarh will always be very special for us, especially since it’s our hometown. We try and do as many gigs as we can there, and it’s always a packed house. 

Without doubt, people all over groove to Punjabi music. Having said that, don’t you feel you guys have somehow changed the way people look at it?

We definitely have a different approach to Punjabi music because we are into the folk part of it. Our objective from the beginning has been to promote folk music with the newer generation. Fortunately, people of all age groups enjoy our music. So, yes, we’re doing something different, and we hope that people can identify with their roots in some small way through our music.