ASIA SCENE: London based group pay tribute to iconic singer

Saturday October 28 2017

Celebrated broadcaster, the late Pritam Singh

Celebrated broadcaster, the late Pritam Singh Chaggar with his wife, Tochi. PHOTO| COURTESY 

By ALLAUDIN QURESHI
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Voices of Kenya Union a London based social and cultural group recently hosted a musical evening at Waterman’s Arts Centre in west London to pay homage to Pritam Singh Chaggar, a voice that ruled the airwaves of Asian broadcasting in East Africa and the British Isles for over five decades.

Yours truly was unable to attend this artistic tribute, however Gurbux Virdee an Executive Committee member of the union kept me updated to file this report.

The tribute, says Gurbux, was in the form of a musical entertainment extravaganza. It comprised of nostalgic songs rendered by ex-Kenyan singers Raghbir Rahi, Deedar Pardesi, Raksha Vyas, Mahesh Sundra and Rashida Banu. An audience of over two hundred fans of the joy bringer loved the presentation. The Union also launched a brochure containing written tributes by Kenyan and British admirers of Pritam.

Pritam passed on a year ago.

The joy bringer always took pride in saying MERI AWAAZ MERI PEHCHAN HAI (my voice is my best introduction) came to Kenya after the partition of the Indian sub-continent and took over a clerical job at the Post Office for survival. The talent in him rebelled against the clerical routine and racial segregation from the colonial administrators. He found solace in broadcasting and community service. Besides dishing out happiness to radio listeners, Pritam established Artists’ Welfare Guild in Nairobi and was its first chairman.

In the early nineties Pritam being mindful of his children’s education chose to migrate to England and continued with his passion to entertain and serve. A believer in the power of radio as a medium to educate, entertain and create love amongst listeners from diverse backgrounds, Pritam established the first ethnic broadcast station in Southampton naming it Radio Art Asia.

He later set up a radio advertising production house and was also instrumental in the formation of Voices of Kenya Union.

Pritam’s soulmate Tochi who herself is an accomplished radio presenter attended the homage showing in London and thanked Voices of Kenya for a befitting tribute.

For pictures, visit the arts and culture section on www.nation.co.ke; [email protected]