A Southall resident since 1968, Mohinder has been dedicated to presenting Punjabi music to audiences in Britain through exposure to the purest forms of Punjabi culture – weddings and religious festivals.
Her music has resounded for decades in homes, on the radio, and at family and public functions as Southall has evolved and become a hub not only of the UK South Asian community but also of South Asian cultural production globally.
Throughout the early years, Mohinder encouraged the female guests at weddings to join in at reception parties and enjoy the celebrations – traditionally attended by men only. Despite opposition from the male guests, women were invited into the function room and encouraged to dance in a separate group aside from the men. The wedding dance floor was born and it wasn’t long before Punjabi men and women were dancing together in the same space – an assumed feature at wedding celebrations nowadays.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Mohinder, together with her well known musical family, introduced the use of western instruments and recording techniques to create a new style of Punjabi song which combined catchy melodies with muscular Punjabi beats. This new sound led to the burgeoning bhangra scene of the 1980s and the formation of a plethora of new Asian pop bands.
The expectation at that time was for female artists to sing melancholic prose depicting forlorn love or separation. Needless to say, most lyric-writers at that time were men, but Mohinder insisted on lyrical themes that maintained the dignity and strength of the female voice in society.
Over 40 years later, and still resident in Southall, Mohinder and her Ladies Sangeet troupe is still very much in demand and performs regularly at Punjabi ‘hen-night parties’ and giddha nights. Her hit song Giddha Pao Haan Deo has become a dance floor anthem and is played regularly at Punjabi weddings.