Acclaimed singer, songwriter and composer Anita Lerche was the first non-Asian woman from the west to release an album in Punjabi.
The award-winning artist has toured internationally with music that ranges from devotional to commercial Punjabi. She also hosts a radio show and has a passion to unite people across cultures through music. Eastern Eye got Anita to select 10 songs she loves.
Heer by Anita Lerche: My all-time favourite song touched me deeply from the very first time I heard it. The lyrics are so full of love and pain, with a melody out of this world. I feel deeply connected with this beautiful traditional Punjabi song, which is the title track on my first Punjabi album Heer.
Choudhi Poudi from Nanak Shah Fakir: This lovely devotional song is produced by White Sun, whose music I adore. Choudhi Poudi is arranged beautifully and has a great cinematic sound to it as well as the angelic voice of Gurujas Khalsa. An outstanding song!
Guru Ramdas Rakho Sarnaee by Mirabai Ceiba: The extremely soulful song touches my heart, especially because of Ceiba’s clear voice and the whole production. I love the arrangement of harp and strings mixed with eastern musical influences. Awakened Earth, which this track is from, is a great album.
Mil Mere Pritam from Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe: My favourite shabad has amazing lyrics and tunes. Outstanding work by music producer Gurmoh and director Harjit Singh, whom I’ve previously worked with. Visiting Pingalwara was heart-touching for me and the story about Bhagat Puran Singh, who devoted his life to the homeless and unfortunate of society, is deeply inspiring.
Brahma Nandam by Deva Premal: The beautiful fusion of east and west in the musical arrangement of this devotional song makes it extremely peaceful and meditative. I love the sound of the tanpura, dilruba and Indian flute. Premal’s music is of the highest standard and I can listen to it day and night.
Akhiyan Ch Tu Vasda by Surinder Kaur: I am deeply inspired by the Nightingale of Punjab and this is one of her legendary songs that makes me cry because it touches me deeply. There is something about traditional Punjabi folk music that is so unique and special. The tune, lyrics and instruments of this song, combined with Surinder Kaur’s voice are sublime.
Alleluia by Jennifer Thomas: This original piece of music by pianist Thomas is simply stunning and takes my breath away because of its cinematic sound, orchestration, performance by the Ensign Chorus and Felicia Farerre’s pure voice. It takes me back to my early years of singing choir music.
Sometimes When It Rains (live) by Secret Garden: I am a big fan of Secret Garden and this is one of my favourites, showcasing the talented Irish violinist Fionnualla Sherry, who plays with such passion that it touches your soul. I love the whole orchestration of this song and the live album it’s taken from.
Mundian To Bach Ke by Panjabi MC: Punjabi bhangra music is the best and it makes me so happy. This track sung by Labh Janjua and produced by Panjabi MC is a classic that really gets me going. The dhol and thumbi make your feet want to dance.
Deluded Love by Therese Schroeder-Sheker: The harp touches my heart on a deeper level. I have listened to the album Rosa Mystica for many years and it is still one of my favourites. Schroeder-Sheker’s captivating voice and harp playing take me into a meditative state.