NRI recognition for legendary Bhangra singer
Malkit Singh, the Punjabi pop singer who received an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) award in January 2008, ended the year with a further accolade to add to his ever-widening collection.
This time his contribution to popularising traditional Bhangra music on the international stage won him an Excellence Award from the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Institute in London.
Attended by 400 people, the annual event honours people of Indian origin for outstanding achievements and excellence in their endeavours.
Lord Karan Billimoria, chairman of the UK-India Business Council, announced the award to the singer. The citation said: “Today, the worldwide popularity of this folk music is entirely credited to his famous rendition of traditional Bhangra songs like ‘Gur nalo ishq’ and ‘Tootak tootak’ – the songs that revolutionised Punjabi music forever.”
The guest list of the UK Chapter of the NRI Institute, which organised the event, included such prestigious individuals, as Lord Swraj Paul, Minister Parmjit Dhanda MP, Minister Liam Byrne MP and Keith Vaz MP.
Malkit Singh’s achievements include being the biggest-selling Bhangra artist in the world, recognised by the Millennium Edition of the Guinness Book of World Records in 2000. He has also been voted Best Punjabi Male Singer and the Most Outstanding Track of the Bhangra Era for Tootak Tootak Thootian (Hey Jamalo).
In 2001, he was honoured with the Guru Nanak University of Amritsar’s 27th Convocation Gold Medal Award Doctorate for his services to Punjabi Music and Culture.
In 1998, former Indian premier Mr I. K. Gujral presented him with the Punjabi Cultural Award for services to music.
When he received his MBE from the Queen, Malkit Singh, a British passport holder and resident since 1984, described it as an honour not only to him, but to his “entire community, moreover to my country India, and I feel like I am on the moon”.
He has taken his music from traditional Punjabi to fusions ranging from rap and house to Bollywood films, performing in around 30 countries with his backing band Golden Stars.
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