Dolly Guleria

Dolly Guleria

Dolly Guleria is a renowned Punjabi folk singer, born in Bombay on Baisakhi day. She's the daughter of the late Surinder Kaur, popularly known as ‘The Nightingale of Punjab’.[1]



At the age of five, Dolly learnt Manipuri and Bharat Natyam at the Triveni Kala Sangam Delhi. Dolly started her training in classical music when she was seven at the Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya Delhi, where she also learnt ‘Kathak’ dance. In her teen years she was the disciple of Kundan Lal Sharma of Patiala Gharana, Panna Lal Kathak and Shri Chotey Lal ji (chief composer AIR Delhi) and later Iqbal Ahmed of Delhi Gharana.

She sang her first solo song at All India Radio in 1967 as an amateur artist in Punjabi. Her first recording was in Shabad Gurbani released by HMV in 1968 and an LP of marriage songs with her mother.

She aspired to be a doctor, being a medical student. In 1970 she got married to Army Officer Col. S.S.Guleria[2] and became a dedicated mother of a daughter and two sons. After settling down with motherhood she was encouraged by her husband to continue her training in classical music on getting an opportunity to become the disciple of a very learned Ustad, ‘Khan Sahib’ Abdul Rehman Khan, of ‘Patiala Gharana’ who trained her in the field of classical music[3] as the foundation with specific aptitude to implement the same in light classical and folk singing. Devotionally minded since childhood, under the able guidance of her Ustad, she chose to release her solo debut album in Gurbani in '‘Ragas’' and sang "Rehraas Sahib" the evening ‘Paath’ in its original ragas. Subsequently albums were released of Punjabi folk songs, some with her mother[4] and some solo including Shabad Kirtan, poetry of Shiv Kumar Batalvi,[1] Bhai Veer Singh and other renowned writers.[3]

Her popular solo releases are, ‘Nikka Jeha’ by Magnasound, ‘Mohabbat Kar Balliye’ by TIPS, and ‘Geetan Da Praga’ a twin album set of Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poetry by HMV. Her latest addition of three new albums — “Sufi Kalam-Taarien Saaiyan”, “Gurbani- Chamkan Taarey” and “Marriage Songs- Dheeaan Pardesna” — were released under the banner of The Nightingale Music and Do-Re Me Creations.

Her recent releases are "Ik Pal Do Pal” Punjabi Geet, Mein Beti Tuun Maan, Bhakti Sagar and ‘Ibadataan’ an album of Sufi Kalaam dedicated to her mother Surinder Kaur. She has also contributed her voice as playback singer in Punjabi films such as Rab Dian Rakhaan, Deson Pardes and Main Maa Punjab Di.[3]


She is a recipient of several acclaimed awards in Punjabi music, starting with her early school and college days. Her listeners always appreciate and applaud her graceful and sober style of singing with perfection and enjoy her live performances as well as her presentations on Door Darshan TV and All India Radio.

During her goodwill and cultural exchange visit to Pakistan in November 1997 she and her daughter Sunaini enthralled the audience of Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore and in Faislabad (Layalpur) at the Chenab Club with her music. She was honored with a golden plaque of Minar-e-Pakistan[3] and a Gold Medal her outstanding contribution.

On one of her cultural visits to Vancouver, Canada in June 2000, she was honored by the then-Education Minister, Penny Priddy for her contribution toward the Punjabi community and in another ceremony by Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh, ‘The Premier of BC, Canada’.

On her last visit to Canada, where she performed at cultural functions, she was honored by prestigious docieties and organizations such as Progressive Inter Cultural Services Society (PICSS) Canada and Surrey Delta Indo Canadian Seniors Centre BC Canada who heartily appreciated her outstanding contribution to Punjabi culture, art and music. She was honored with a coveted appointment by the Punjab government as president of the Punjab Sangeet Natak Academy, a part of the Punjab Art Council Chandigarh from 2006 to 2009.

On 13 January 2007 the Education Minister Shri Phool Chand Mullana of the Haryana government presented her with the Lok Gayeka Award at a special ceremony held at Ambala.

On 8 March 2007 during the celebrations of International Women’s Day, Honorable Chief Minister of Haryana, Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda honored her amongst others with the Women of Substance Award 2007. for her outstanding contribution in music.

On October 8, 2007, she was presented with the Punjab Rattan Award in a public function by Hon’ble CM of Punjab; Sardar Prakash Singh Badal at Jullundur.

On February 8, 2008 she was awarded the Lok Kala Award by the Indian Cultural Association (Regd.) Kartarpur Jullundur in a public function attended by a large gathering. Her most recent award is Rural Olympics Heritage Award on February 21, 2010 by Deputy CM Punjab at Kila Raipur for being ‘International Lok Gayka’ from Punjab.


She has given performances all over India and abroad: U.K., Holland, Canada, USA, Pakistan and the Middle East. On each of her performance she was given prestigious awards from Visions of Punjab, Raj MUSIC ACADEMY and Punjabi ARTS ASSOCIATION of CANADA, TV Asia of N.J. USA, Punjabi SAHIT SABHA of GLASGOW Scotland, AKASH RADIO, Punjab Radio and STAR RADIO of London. Articles published in leading Punjabi news magazines include Shere-Punjab USA (27 July) and Des Pardes U.K. (7 Sept 2007).


She enjoys listening to good music may it be any language and is very selective in composing/singing good lyrics, such as Baba Bulle Shah, Shah Hussain, Sheikh Baba Farid, Waris Shah, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Amrita Pritam, Dr. Harbhajan Singh, Prof. Mohan Singh, Gurcharan Rampuri, Nand Lal Noorpuri and rich folk poetry compiled by Sarvshri Mohinder S. Randhawa and Devendra Satyarthy. She often gets carried away with the classical singing of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan, Begum Akhtar, Lata Mangeshkar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahib to name a few.

She enjoys live performances and the immediate response of the audience boosts her morale. She wishes to make sincere efforts to keep the Punjabi music alive in its purest form.[5] She is teaching music to dedicated students who are enrolled in her Nightingale Music Academy[2] to learn music with the ‘Guru-Shishya parampara’ music which is pure, clean and melodious enriched with traditions and culture of Punjab.

She wishes to carry forward the family tradition of folk/Punjabi singing.


  1. ^ a b "Ru-ba-ru with Dolly Guleria". Indian Express. 4 October 1999. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Working Partners". Indian Express. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Her mother’s daughter". The Tribune. 31 July 1998. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Nightingale of Punjab Falls Silent". OhmyNews. 17 June 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Concern over vulgarity in Punjabi music". Indian Express. 7 August 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 

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