Surjit Bindrakhia has arguably the most powerful voice among Bhangra singers today. Throaty, with a range that never fails to astound, he is possibly the most successful traditional artist doing the rounds of the bhangra scene at this time.
Surjit has been known in Punjab for many years, but his big break in the expatriate market came with Dupatta Tera Sat Rang Da a track that can only be called explosive. Since then there have been remixes of his older songs and a few new releases. Bindrakhia is a traditional bhangra singer, and since most of his work has been produced in India, it may at first appear unpolished. Certainly the music is more “rustic” than that found on many bhangra bands from the UK, but it that does nothing to reduce its impact. There are more sustained dhol beats in Bindrakhia’s work than you would find elsewhere (actually Atul Sharma does the music on all his albums) and the style is traditional. There is no room for tiny motions when dancing to Bindrakhia, the beats demand large gestures and uninhibited movement.
A note must be made of the high tone Bindrakhia sometimes uses, which sounds like a screech. You can find others trying such vocal pryotechnics, but few can pull it off as Bindrakhia does. His singing style works with the beat, so you will find him pausing along with the dhol and raising and shifting into different keys as the dhol does. All of this gives Bindrakhia the air of a child gone a little mad with his voice. Certainly he isn’t serious, except in small doses, most of the songs are very light and fit in with his job (as he sees it) to entertain. My dad says he’s exactly what the singers at the “mela” would be, and I can’t but agree. He’s exactly the sort of singer I would expect to entertain at a country fair.