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Balbir Suffi Enthralls Fans At Atlanta Concert


Atlanta: "Pave pave, Rab eho jiha mausam liave, Buta lahie muhabta da, Chhan varian de vehre ch vi jave eeee" (I pray God to bless the kind of weather that grows a plant of love and spreads its branches even to the yard/porch of my enemies to provide them with its cool shadow) one of Balbir Suffi's poetry describes the underlying spirituality in his singing and lyrics. 

The white Christmas of 2010 in Atlanta had another attraction, the Balbir Suffi concert at the Hilton in Norcross presented by Sur Sangeet of Atlanta, organized by Aslam Pervez, Chinti Bali and Salim Punjwani. The concert was accompanied by the beat of Dhol by Sumeet, Amjad on Tabla and Sohail on keyboard providing complete entertainment to the audience. Suffi's Atlanta visit was part of his US tour including New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, Dallas, California, Denver and Michigan.

"Kalaakar log banaane se nahi bante, hote hein" (Artists cannot be made, they just are) says Balbir philosophically. Originally from Suffian village, Balbir Suffi now resides in Chandigarh, India with his family. He fondly recollects the times back in his village close to the LOC, where he watched TV, listened to the radio and enjoyed music on the loud speakers, all of which were his teachers. Balbir says his most inspired moment came during Lohri, when he and his friends performed for the villagers with his voice the loudest. He was awarded 5 paise more and that motivated him to pursue his singing. 

Balbir went on to complete his diploma in electronics even as he continued his singing practice. He was a junior electronics engineer at Punjab Communications in Jalandhar when he first auditioned for doordarshan and failed. "My success was hidden I that failure" says Balbir. Instead of being disheartened by rejection, Balbir chose to rectify it. He knew he had a good voice but no formal education in music. "I asked God to give me a good teacher or take my voice back" he says. He went on to train in classical music for five years by professor Bhupinder Singh of Kirana Gharana, leaving his job to pursue his passion for music. Obtaining the title "Visharad" gave him the confidence needed to perform on stage. Suffi has performed extensively in Europe during his tours, besides visiting USA and Canada during the last ten years. 

As a lyricist-singer Balbir believes in writing that gives meaningful message to society and an ideal singer, he says is one who has cultivated the sense to embellish a ‘sur’ ( tune) with perfection. Everyday happenings around him, he says inspire his lyrics and a message through entertainment is his goal. Even though he has been performing for 15 years, he says every performance holds a special place in his heart and is thankful for each of them. True to his belief, Chinti Bali noticed that after every applause he received from the audience he thanked and asked God to shower his blessings upon them.

The weather may have been cold, but the spirits at the concert were not. The chai along with Suffi's soulful music accompanied by instruments, with Aslam Pervez’s (Host of Radio Humdum) Shaayari, warmed the crowd. "Work with dedication. There are no shortcuts in life. God has given us the gift of life, so give back" Balbir concluded.

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