Unforgettable experience with Anita Lerche

By Manju Mittal

Who would think of ”˜Heer’ from a place other than Punjab. 33-year-old Anita Lerche, an extremely talented International singer, song writer and composer, released an album ”˜Heer from Denmark’ in November 2006. Yes beautiful as Heer is in our folkloric tales so is beautiful Anita Lerche who came to Sydney and stole our hearts. Anita sings in 16 Languages including Punjabi. Yes! Punjabi. She is the first non Asian woman from the west to sing and release her own album in Punjabi. She was also featured in the song Aaoji aaya nu, Jugni and Mahiya.

Anita Lerche was in Sydney in May. It was an exciting experience meeting her in person. Anita said she started singing at the age of 7. Her father used to play guitar and music became her passion in life from an early age. She liked all different styles of music like Pop, folk, Jazz and classical music. In 2001, she became very busy doing theatre shows in U.K and Denmark as well as doing concerts around the world. A couple of months later her life took the biggest turn ever when she was invited to India and visit Punjab by an Hoshiarpur based journalist Anurag Sood.

“It was love at first sight” says Anita as she fell in love with Punjabi culture and music instantly. She faced lots of difficulties while learning Punjabi language, she said, “It took a lot of patience and endless practice to make the right pronunciation,” adding that even the singing style of Punjabi music is quite different from that of western music. But there was no stopping for Anita as she went on to earn Punjabi music award in 2007 and acknowledged by Punjabi university, Patiala, for her grand work for Punjabi culture and language.

On May 19, Indian Australian Dancing star show was held at Sydney Bahai Center, Silverwater, where Anita Lerche performed live on stage. Over a 1000 ”“strong Sydney audience experienced Anita setting the stage alive as all danced and sang to her renderings in Punjabi. It was an eye-popping experience of a ”˜gori’ singing and talking in Punjabi who calls herself Heer. Wearing Punjabi outfit, singing Punjabi songs, Anita danced gracefully and was just amazing.

Anita stole every one’s heart with her voice and wonderful personality. She even surprised us when she sang Hindi bhajans. It was a pleasure to get such a sweet and talented celebrity in Sydney. All the way from Denmark, who could believe a Danish Gori girl would entertain us all with pure Punjabi pop. Unbelievable isn’t it?

You had to be there that night to believe and see for yourself how Punjabi songs have globalised their impact and a lesson for us all to connect to our own culture which we have left behind. People like Anita inspire us to appreciate and keep connected to our own culture which has a rich tradition of music.


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