Gurmeet Bawa (Punjabi: ਗੁਰਮੀਤ ਬਾਵਾ) is the Shromani Gayika Award winner Punjabi folk singer of Punjab. She is known for her long hek (English: breathless opening of a Punjabi folk song calling “ho”) that she can holds for about 45 seconds. She is one of the singers known for popularized Jugni and was the first Punjabi female singer to sing on Doordarshan.
|Birth name||Gurmeet Kaur
|Born||1944 (age 71–72)
Kothe (now in Gurdaspur district), British Punjab
|Associated acts||Kirpal Singh Bawa (singer, husband)|
|Algoze, Gharha, Gagar, Chimta, Dholki|
Bawa was born as Gurmeet Kaur in 1944, to father S. Uttam Singh and mother Ram Kaur, in the village of Kothe in British Punjab. The villages is now a part of Gurdaspur district of Indian Punjab. Her mother left the world when she was only two years old. At that time, girls were not allowed to study even go out without elders permission but Bawa, who dreamt to be a teacher passed her J.B.T. and became the first girl of the area to be a teacher.
She is married to Kirpal Bawa, a Punjabi folk singer and the couple is blessed with three daughters and of which two, Lachi Bawa and Galori Bawa, are singers.
She started her career in 1968. Her husband Kirpal Singh Bawa encouraged her a lot. She always sings with the Punjabi folk instrument like Algoze, Chimta, Dholki and Tumbi. She amazed the audience during a function organized by the Punjab Association in Mumbai and got a standing ovation by the Bollywood stars like Prem Chopra, Pran and especially Raj Kapoor who repeatedly requested for a boli, main jatti Punjab di, meri Nargis wargi akh. She has been performed overseas. She represented India during the festival of India organized in the USSR in 1987 and Japan in 1988. She also performed at Thailand Culture Center in Bangkok in 1988 and also represented the country in the Bosra festival and the 25th Jashan-E-Azadi festival in Tripoli (Libya) in 1989.
She got many national and international awards including the State Award by the Punjab government in 1991, Sangeet Puraskar by the Punjab Natak Akademi, Millennium 2000 Award by the American Biographical Institute of New York (USA), the national Devi Ahillya Award by the Madhya Pradesh government in 2002 and recently Shromani Gayika Award by the Punjabi language department in 2008.