Here is another post I made on www.punjabisongs.com about Lehmber’s appearance in BC.
I spent last weekend in Vancouver, BC for the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration. Lehmber Hussainpuri was the star attraction of both the Bhangra competition and the after party. His accapella opening at the competition was thrilling and showed what a powerful voice he has. Unfortunately he was only accompanied by two local dhol players and pre-recorded backing tracks. Even his backing vocals were pre-recorded. It was very disappointing although I highly doubted that anyone involved with the production was going to be paying for him to play with a full band. Lehmber hardly even sang along with the chorus of “Das Ja’ preferring to let the pre-recorded vocals carry the tune. He did get into the spirit and busted some lively Bhangra moves. He only performed three songs. Throughout the competition the song that got the crowd clapping and excited the most was “Sadi Gali” which he did not perform at the competition. The crowd seemed way more excited by the house beat than the several times “Balle Balle Hogay Mitro” was played. Lehmber did try to build a groove with one of the Dhol players at times but it just made me that much sadder that he wasn’t performing with an entirely live band.
At the after party Lehmber went on quite late after both “RDB” (Manj “DJing”) and Hard-E (For more info see my blog at: www.theincrediblekid.com ). His set started exactly the same (this time he had three dholis in Canadian hockey jerseys) and I worried that this was the second time I was spending $40 to see the same three songs in one night. The sound at the venue was horrible. His set did change after a bit. He performed tracks that were especially loved by the locals like “Sadi Gali” and “Aa Ni Kuriyeh.” I get the impression he was talked into it by the promoters. He couldn’t remember the lyrics and a handler had to bring them out on tablets. The dominance of the pre-recorded backing vocals was quite off-putting. He seemed really lazy or forgetful at points and just let the canned vocals play on. I ended up being so frustrated by the sound and the “performance” that I left even before he left the stage. It was 1:47am and allegedly the venue was going to shut down at 2am. It might be impossible to imagine leaving a Lehmber performance early but that is just how sad and compromised the whole thing was. I would love to see him again under different circumstances.