He started at the Fore School of Management but dropped out after a year. He did ad jingles for a while, including for Nova ghee, Yamaha RX-T motorbikes, and Times FM. He struggled for many years to get his debut album published. He was working with Sony Music for a while, but Sony later backed out. He then approached Minty Tejpal, brother of Tehelka's editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who liked his music and offered him a contract.
After Tehelka's first sting operation, the company ran into financial problems. Magnasound also offered him a contract, but the company became bankrupt before the album could materialize. Rabbi was offered decent money to include his songs in Hindi movies such as Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II, Dubai Returned and Paap, but refused. He was finally signed on by Phat Phish Records, who brought out his eponymous debut album, Rabbi, in 2005. His fans famously include Amitabh Bachchan and Sir V. S.
Naipaul, who said of his music, "I didn’t understand it but it was very, very soulful, very deep." Mira Nair compared him to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Rabbi's music has been inspired by rock as well as Sufi and Punjabi folk music. His lyrics are deeply philosophical, most of them his own, though his most famous song was written by the 18th century Punjabi poet Bulle Shah: Na maen bheth mazhab da paaya Ne maen aadam havva jaaya Na maen apna naam dharaaya Na vich baitthan na vich bhaun Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun Secrets of religion, I have not known From Adam and Eve, I am not born I am not the name I assume Not in stillness, nor on the move Bulla, I know not who I am! "Bulla Ki Jana is all about us not knowing who we are, of thinking of life in terms of boxes, until we are enlightened. And then, you realise how meaninglessly you've compartmentalised life", Rabbi explains. The other songs in the album Rabbi are an ecletic mix, including songs of joy (Ajj Nachna), love (Tere Bin) and even contemporary issues (Jugni). Rabbi writes in Punjabi, for "It is my pride", he says. He has interestingly managed to blend archaic, almost lost, Punjabi phrases into far more recent Indian rock music.
The result is pure, original and simply superb. Opening lines of Tere Bin (with English translation): tere bin / without you sanu sohnia / my love koi hor nahio labhna / i shan't find another jo dave / who'll give ruh nu sakun / peace to my soul chukke jo nakhra mera / and indulge me ve main sare ghumm ke vekhia / i have gone and seen it all amrika, roos, malaysia / america, russia, malaysia kittey vi koi fark si / there wasn't any difference har kise di koi shart si / they all had some condition koi mangda mera si sama / some asked for my time koi hunda surat te fida / some were fascinated with my face koi mangda meri si vafa / some demanded my fidelity na koi mangda merian bala / none wanted my demons Rabbi has since performed at the World Social Forum in Brazil, and played at the inauguration of the Tri-Continental Film Festival in New Delhi. He made his debut in films as music director and lyricist with the Hindi movie, Delhii Heights. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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