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East Meets West

He’s been recorded by producer Phil Spector, photographed by album-cover icon Mick Rock, and has booked headlining tours through Europe. But Hargobind Hari Singh Khalsa, the local singer-songwriter known as Hargo, rarely performs in his own San Diego backyard. “I’ve been touring India, where people readily accept that I’m Sikh, which is the fifth-largest religion in the world.... Since 9/11, it’s not so easy to be seen wearing a turban [in San Diego]. Everyone assumes you’re Muslim.”

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Hargo recently booked his band for dates in L.A., Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. But the project he seems most enthusiastic about is his collaboration with rising Indian pop singer Himani Kapoor, with whom he’s remaking a classic Bollywood soundtrack song, “Dum Maro Dum.”

“It’s a famous tune from Hare Rama Hare Krishna, a 1971 Indian movie about drugs and hippies, and the song follows a similar theme. I put a contemporary spin on it.... One of the big labels over there, which owns the publishing to the original song, will be releasing the track and getting it placed in an upcoming movie. I’ll be working on the track in New York City with my producer and then flying to India to record female vocals and ethnic drums, and then I’ll mix and master it back here in the States.”

The Eastern pop singer joining him on the tune, Himani Kapoor, was a finalist in an Indian TV talent competition similar to American Idol. The song is planned for Hargo’s upcoming second EP. “Nobody from the West has tried to conquer India yet, nor have Indian singers made much headway in the U.S.,” says Hargo. “Given my unique perspective of East meets West as an American Sikh, I feel qualified to give it a go...maybe I’ll be the first to break through multiple markets with the Bollywood sound.”

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He’s been recorded by producer Phil Spector, photographed by album-cover icon Mick Rock, and has booked headlining tours through Europe. But Hargobind Hari Singh Khalsa, the local singer-songwriter known as Hargo, rarely performs in his own San Diego backyard. “I’ve been touring India, where people readily accept that I’m Sikh, which is the fifth-largest religion in the world.... Since 9/11, it’s not so easy to be seen wearing a turban [in San Diego]. Everyone assumes you’re Muslim.”

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Hargo recently booked his band for dates in L.A., Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. But the project he seems most enthusiastic about is his collaboration with rising Indian pop singer Himani Kapoor, with whom he’s remaking a classic Bollywood soundtrack song, “Dum Maro Dum.”

“It’s a famous tune from Hare Rama Hare Krishna, a 1971 Indian movie about drugs and hippies, and the song follows a similar theme. I put a contemporary spin on it.... One of the big labels over there, which owns the publishing to the original song, will be releasing the track and getting it placed in an upcoming movie. I’ll be working on the track in New York City with my producer and then flying to India to record female vocals and ethnic drums, and then I’ll mix and master it back here in the States.”

The Eastern pop singer joining him on the tune, Himani Kapoor, was a finalist in an Indian TV talent competition similar to American Idol. The song is planned for Hargo’s upcoming second EP. “Nobody from the West has tried to conquer India yet, nor have Indian singers made much headway in the U.S.,” says Hargo. “Given my unique perspective of East meets West as an American Sikh, I feel qualified to give it a go...maybe I’ll be the first to break through multiple markets with the Bollywood sound.”

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