Our Vancouver

'I'm still me': Vancouver folk singer performs for brain injury survivors

Ranj Singh has been a singer songwriter for years. He himself suffered injuries from a car accident, so he could relate to the people in Semiamhoo House who have been injured from things they can't control. He authored a song title I'm Still Me.

Indo-Canadian folk musician Ranj Singh draws inspiration from courageous patients

Local musician enjoys working with people at Semiahmoo House 7:25

Local musician Ranj Singh calls his music Indo-Canadian Folk. He's been performing since the mid-80s and has played with 54-40, Jann Arden, and Matthew Good.

But there's a special audience that's captured his imagination lately.

Over the last year, the musician has been playing for people who have suffered from brain injuries at Surrey's Semiahmoo House, a non-profit organization that provides services for people with disabilities. 

"Nothing compares to playing for these folks for the last year and a half now ... because they never want to give up," he told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's Our Vancouver.

The comeback

Singh became involved with the Semiahmoo house after suffering an injury of his own.

After a series of gigs during the 2010 Olympics, the musician was involved in a serious car accident. His injuries kept him from playing music. He went into depression and ended up retiring his band.

Ranj Singh performs I'm Still Me at Blue Frog Studios (Noodlehead Productions)

"In this business, momentum is everything," he said. "I fell rock bottom."

He slowly picked himself off his feet, and eventually picked up his guitar.

In 2015, he began working with the Acquired Brain Injury Service at the Semiahmoo house. The centre provided the opportunity for him to play his music for patients.

"Music is a universal language and it's so soothing and relaxing ... and it fires up all these memories," he said.

I'm still me

After getting to know the individuals in the program, he was overwhelmed by all the different stories they had to share. He says a common thread that emerged was that many clients wanted people to know that they were still themselves, despite their injuries.

Inspired, Singh wrote a song titled I'm Still Me — and has since recorded a music video for the song alongside 30 of his new friends, filmed at Blue Frog Studios.

"They are always there and they keep fighting and fighting and fighting. And their message of 'I'm still me' is such a powerful message."

A live recording of I'm Still Me brought 30 clients of the Semiahmoo house to Blue Frog Studios. (Blue Frog Studios)

With files from CBC's Our Vancouver