Guru Fateh!

Not too long ago we heard the tanti saaz being played in Hariminder Sahib. Thanks to I am able to share with all of you a video of Kirtan being done at Hariminder Sahib.

Click Here to Download the Video

I have not yet watched the video fully or listen to the kirtan. I will write about that a little later!


I watched the video, its only 2mins long (sob!). However, I enjoyed those 2 minutes. They are singing a partaal in Basant Raag. If you take a look at my post on Partaals. You will realise that this does not fall under partaal so the use of partal is optional here. The instruments being used are Swarmandal ( the main ragi is playing it), the Taoos, Rabab and one person is playing the Saranda though it can’t be seen very clearly.

I do not know who the ragi is. If any one can identify him please let me know.

Guru Fateh!

Gurumat Sangeet: Shabads

March 27, 2006

Guru Fateh!The term is coming to an end in 2 weeks. Report submissions, presentations and exam preparations are keeping me quite busy thus I have not been able to post much in the last 2 weeks. I don’t think I ll be able to post much in the next 2 weeks as well. I apologize for that.

However, I have been uploading some awesome kirtan so I ll post the links every once in a while so that you guys can enjoy. Most of this kirtan is NOT available online so do download and listen to it.

Before I go on to link the shabads. I would like to tell you a little bit about Professor Kartar Singh Ji. Prof. Ji is the Director of the Gurmat Sangeet Academy in Anandpur Sahib. Prof. Sahib has written books on Gurmat Sangeet and he is probabaly about 80 years old. On Wednesday evenings he does kirtan at Anadpur Sahib so if you happen to be visiting please go and listen to his sing bani.

Shabad: Har Ki Gat Nei Ko Hu Jaane
Raag : Bihagra
Singer : Professor Kartar Singh Ji

Shabad: Hau Kacho Na Janu Teri Saar
Raag : Basant – An awsome explaination of Raag Basant is done
Singer : Professor Kartar Singh Ji

Shabad: Kavan Gun Pran Path Milo Mere Mai
Raag : Gauri Poorbi
Singer : Professor Kartar Singh Ji

The other shabads I am posting are sung by Bhai Avtar Singh ji.

Shabad: Moko Taar Le Rama Taar Le
Raag : Gond – Ik taal – 12 beats
Singer : Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Shabad:Saahuraree Wath Sabh
Raag : Basant – Chanchal taal – 14 beats
Singer : Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Shabad: Mou Ku Tu Na Bisaar
Raag : Malhaar – Chotti Waddi Teen Taal – 16 beats
Singer : Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Shabad: Sant Paee Gur Sat Gur Puuray
Raag : Bilawal – Chaar Taal – 12 beats
Singer : Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Saant Paee Gur Sat Gur Puuray is the 1st shabad I learnt. The composition is different cause I learnt it in teen taal – 16 beats.

Hope you guys enjoy listening to the shabads sung by the great kirtaneeas of the panth!

Have a wonderful week ahead.

Guru Ang Sang Hove!

Angad Singh


March 25, 2006

Bhai..who is she?
Is she punjabi?
Do I know her?
From where is she?
Why did not tell me about her?
Are you 2 attached?
Sorry guys .. I am not talking about the hot girl I am dating ( ps for the record..its no one right now)

I am talking about The Dilruba – a lovely north indian stringed instrument. I saw it for the very 1st time in 2004 at the talk on Musical Frame Work of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, it was Amardeep Ji’s Dilruba. I heard it play in numerous shabads sung by great ragis of the panth like Bhai Balbir Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh Zakhmi. I was in love with the sound. However, it was only in late 2005 that I really developed a passion for kirtan. Within a few months of learning kirtan from Amardeep Ji I was sure that I WANTED to play the dilruba.

I got it about 2 weeks ago. I am grateful to the one and only Dr. Jasbir Singh Khalsa aka Prajee Scott who willingly let me have his dilruba . It was passed down to him by his sister’s father in law. Now I am a proud owner of a dilruba that is about 40 – 50 years old!!!

I would also like to thank my papa for getting me the strings and the gaj( bow) and an electronic tabla. I stringed it up myself after seeing how how it has been stringed, its quite a task.Amardeep Ji, who is a lot more than just my Kirtan teacher, will be helping me tune it.

If you want to buy one you can go to Raj Musicals.

In Singapore we don’t have a Dilruba teacher and Prajee Scott is quite busy so Amardeep Ji offered to help me with the basics. Also passed me his copy of the dilruba tutor video( you can google “Dilruba Tutor”. This is the only one available but the price varies). Alternatively you can join the RajAcademy Online Course.

I hope you guys downloaded the partal shabads mentioned in the previous post. In the Suhi Raag Partal Shabad Bhai Kultar Singh ji, the son of Bhai Avtar Singh ji explains a great deal about partals and their structure. The instrument being played in most of those shabads is the Taus. The Dilruba is a derivative of the taus.

Have a nice weekend.

Guru Fateh!

Angad Singh


March 20, 2006

Guru Fateh!

Some of you may have read my previous post on Partals. Some details in there were wrong so I have deleted it and I am writing a new post on Partals now.

Partals basically means the use of different Taals in one shabad. Normally if we sing a shabad in the 16 beat Teen taal or the 12 beat Ik taal, we sing the entire shabad in that particular taal. However, in partal the Asthai is sung in one taal and the Antras are sung in another taal. At times antras are sung in different taals as well.

In the Guru Granth Sahib Ji there are some shabads with the word Partaal in the title . For example “Nat Narayan Melha 4 Partal – Page 977“. This means that this shabad must be sung in Raag Nat Narayan and the composition must involve more than one taal i.e the Asthai and Antra cannot be sung in the same taal.

The reason why these shabads are to be sung is different taals is because of the variation in the stanza and the line size. Lets look at the shabad in Raag Kanra – Har Jas Gavo Bhagwan on page 1297 of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This is a partal shabad.

kwnVw mhlw 4 ]
hir jsu gwvhu Bgvwn ]
jsu gwvq pwp lhwn ]
miq gurmiq suin jsu kwn ]
hir ho ho ikrpwn ]1] rhwau]
qyry jn iDAwvih iek min iek iciq qy swDU suK pwvih jip hir hir nwmu inDwn ]
ausqiq krih pRB qyrIAw imil swDU swD jnw gur siqgurU Bgvwn ]1]
ijn kY ihrdY qU suAwmI qy suK Pl pwvih qy qry Bv isMDu qy Bgq hir jwn ]
iqn syvw hm lwie hry hm lwie hry jn nwnk ky hir qU qU qU qU qU Bgvwn ]2]6]12]

A cursory glance tells you that there is no uniformity in the number of lines making up a stanza. The Raho Stanza(in red) has 4 small lines . The 1st and 2nd Stanzas have 2 long lines(in blue). If you have basic knowledge of music you will know that it is close to impossible to sing this shabad in one taal. It can be sung but its not going to sound very nice. As a result of this guru sahib’s commanded us to sing it in different taals. As a general guideline taals with smaller theka like Kehrava ( 4 beats),Dardra(6 beats) and Rupak( 7 beats) used when singing a stanza with smaller lines. For stanza with longer lines the taals used at Iktaal( 12 beats), Chau taal (12 beats), Dhamar ( 14 beats).

Another point to note is repeating the same word a number of times(in green). This is particular to partaal shabads.

Partaals are found only in GuruMat Sangeet and are unheard of in Indian Classical Music. Singing in partal requires great deal of practice. Both the singer and the tabla player have to practice together as the tabla player must know exactly when he has to change back and forth from one taal to the other.

In my earlier post I had mentioned that I found 17 shabads in partal. That was an error on my part and I apologize for that. There are 17 headings with the word partal in them. I made the mistake of not counting how many shabads were there under each subheading. Amardeep Ji has a book on partals . In that book the partal shabads are given and the notations have been given as well. We saw 54 shabads in partals.

Partaal shabads are only written by Melha 4 and Melha 5.The raags in which they are written in are Asa,Dhanasree,Sohee,Bilawal,Ramkali,NatNarayan,Nat,Bahiro,Sarang,Malhar, Kanra and Parbhatee

Some shabads in Partaal

The following shabads MUST be sung in partal cause they fall under the subheading of Partaal.

Shabad : Mohan Neend Na Aavae
Raag: Bilawal
Singer: Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Shabad : Preet preet guriya mohan lalna
Raag: Suhi
Singer: Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Shabad : Gur munar priy dyar

Raag: Gaund Malhar
Singer: Bhai Avatar Singh ji

Shabad : Har Jas Gavoh Bhagvan

Raag: Darbari Kanada
Taals : Ada Chautala, Iktaal, Rupak
Singer: Bhai Avatar Singh ji

Shabad : Man jap ram gopal

Raag: Darbari Kanada
Singer: Bibi Jaswant Kaur

Shabad : Har jan bolat sri ram nama

Raag: Sudh Malhar
Singer: Bibi Jaswant Kaur


The following shabads do NOT have Partal in the title. These shabads need not be sung in partal. The use of partal here is optional.

Shabad : Dekh Phool Phool Phoole

Raag: Basant Bhar
Taals: Chartaal,Ektaal,Tintaal,Soolfak
Singer: Amrit and Meher Kaur

Shabad : Man Kaha Bisaryo Ram Nam
Raag: Basant(Marwa)
Singer: Bhai Gupal Singh

Shabad : Kaun bidh taki kaha karun
Raag: Kalyan
Taals: Chartaal, Rupak, Sulfaq, Teental
Singer: Bhai Gupal Singh

Shabad : Hau Kurbani Jao
Raag: Tilang
Singer: Kids from Boston Chapter

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh

Guru Fateh Ji!

The Sikh Music Heritage Insitute (SMHI) was established in August,2005 in Santa Cruz, Califonia

SMHI’s goals are primarily heritage preservation, education and outreach, with activities consisting of organizing of educational programs, research, and publication, on Sikh keertan in traditional classical and folk styles. These activities are SMHI’s present tools of preservation of, education about, and dissemination of information relating to the Sikh music tradition. There is no teaching yet; that is a long term goal. Educational programs fall in three categories :

  1. Highly accomplished Sikh musicians and musicologists, to showcase and document the grand tradition
  2. Upcoming professionals,to encourage professional pursuit of this tradition)and
  3. Youth and Amateurs, to provide a platform for the dedicated.

The educational component is added in all keertan programs via explanatory commentary on Sikh musicology, with overhead projection of main points of the commentary, and the words and meanings of shabads. These programs are bilingual (Punjabi and English) if the audience composition so requires.

Research on Sikh musicology is an ongoing activity at SMHI. The aim is to develop writings for the general, the professional, as well as the scholarly readership. These will be posted on the web, and hopefully, published in magazines and journals by other publishers.

SMHI publications are aimed to be educational, and also, very importantly, documentation of Sikh music heritage.These publications are therefore limited to works of highly accomplished Sikh musicians. SMHI aims to place these publications in libraries around the globe – community libraries, as well as libraries of educational and research institutions. The hope is that these will create an understanding of the uniqueness and richness of the Sikh music tradition, and also spark interest in learning and research at the professional and scholarly level, by people not limited to the Sikh community.

SMHI’s first program was a keertan program by Bhai Avtar Singh Ragi and Jatha, held at San Jose Gurdwara on July 30th, 2005. This program featured shabads in the raags specified in Guru Granth Sahib, with compositions from the Sikh gurus’ times, as well as explanatory commentary by Inderjit Kaur, PhD, who is on the SMHI Board of Directors. Bhai Avtar Singh Ragi is an 11th generation exponent of the Sikh music tradition, with a family musical line going back to the gurus’ times. That initial program was attended by over 2000 people from the Bay Area Sikh community.

SMHI has produced a DVD of this program, titled “Puraatan Reetaan in Evening Raags,” which was released at a function at the San Jose Gurdwara on March 5th, 2006. The DVD represents the first such audiovisual production of educational and heritage material on the Sikh music tradition, and is therefore a milestone for the Sikh community. A presentation of the DVD was made to the gurdwara for its library. The DVD features English commentary, and subtitles in Punjabi and in English, including full shabad meanings. The accompanying booklet has detailed musical notation, designed for scholars as well as for young Sikhs who wish to study and learn more about their rich musical heritage. One of SMHI’s major objectives is to pass on the Sikh music heritage to the younger generation. The DVD can be bought from their website directly. To read more about the contents of the DVD and to watch some clips click here.

SMHI’s next major program will be a companion keertan-cum-commentary, featuring “Puraatan Reetaan in Morning Raags,” to be held at the Fremont Gurdwara on August 18th, 2006, from 11 am to 1 pm. It is planned to make a DVD of this program as well, for which donations to SMHI will be welcomed. In order to make a high quality professional DVD of this program, SMHI needs to raise $15,000.The two DVDs together will represent a significant documentation of the Sikh music heritage, suitable for placement in university libraries and music institutes all over the world. All members of the Sikh community are invited to participate in SMHI, and to support it in any way that they can.

All functions and duties of SMHI are carried out on a completely volunteer basis: the organization has no paid staff. All donations and proceeds from DVD sales are used 100% for SMHI’s mission of understanding, preserving and disseminating the Sikh music heritage. SMHI is a public benefit non-profit corporation, tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3). The Board of Directors consists of Inderjit N. Kaur, PhD (researcher on Sikh musicology), Jaspal Singh Kohli (software engineer), Deborah Malkin (attorney-at-law), Nirvikar Singh (professor of economics) and Jagdeep Singh (hi-tech entrepreneur).

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh

Tradition revived at Golden Temple
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, March 6

The Golden Temple ambience today resonated with Gurbani kirtan performed with ancient and traditional musical instruments for the first time after partition. The tradition of performing kirtanaccompanied with tanpura, rabab, swarmandal was revived in the gurdwara.

Prof Kartar Singh, Director of the SGPC-run Sangeet Academy at Anandpur Sahib, performed kirtan with the traditional instruments, including two tanpuras, taus, swarmandal and harmonium. He sang four shabads of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh, including ‘Mitar piare nu’, and of Bhagat Kabir and Bhagat Ramanand in basant raag.

He said shabad kirtan and Gurbani had a classical base. However, he rued that we had lost the classical base and by using modern instruments which was against the Rehat Maryada. Due to this, the sangat did not attach with the shabads and Gurbani, he added. He praised the SGPC initiative of reviving the tradition.

Prof Kartar Singh will perform tomorrow also. Dr Gurnam Singh, Head of the Music Department, Punjabi University, Patiala, will also perform on March 7 and 8. Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa and Bhai Gurmit Singh Shant will perform kirtan on March 9-10 and March 16-17, respectively. Bhai Avtar Singh will perform on March 18.

Mr Avtar Singh, President of the SGPC, also enjoyed the kirtan. He said the committee would ensure that at least one raagi adept in traditional instruments was present during the kirtan in the sanctum santorum. [Its happening..YAY!!..]

He said students were being trained at Punjabi University and the SGPC-run Sangeet Academy at Anandpur Sahib on traditional instruments.

These are some of the books written by Prof Kartar Singh Ji and Dr. Gurnam Singh Ji about Gurmat Sangeet.

  1. Gurbani Sangeet Darpan – Prof. Kartar Singh – Published by SGPC
  2. Gyan Bandshavli – Dr. Gurnam Singh – Publisher Punjabi University, Patiala
  3. Gurmat Sangeet Prabandh Tey Pasar – dr. Gurnam Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala
  4. Gurmat Sangeet Rag Ratnavali (in HINDI Language) – Dr. Gurnam Singh & Dr. Yashpal Sharma

I have uploaded files of Dr. Gurnam Singh Ji doing kirtan in the 62 different Raags of the Guru Granth Sahib in the order of the Raag structure.

PS. Asa is the 1st Raag and not Sri Raag to appear in the Guru Granth Sahib. However, the Raag Structure starts with Sri Raag and ends with Jaijaiwanti.

Click here to donwload the shabads. There are 10 files. Please download all of them.

If any one has been able to hear the Kirtan done by these amazing kirtaneeas please let me the know the date and time(IST) cause I have tried to find the kirtan but I am unable to do so.

Those of my readers who can head out to Harminder Sahib please do. Its going to be amazing. I can imagine Bhai Avtar Singh Ji with his taus singing at the same place where his ancestors did kirtan in the court of Guru Ram Das Ji.

Guru Ang Sang!

Guru Fateh!

All of us who are interested in learning/understanding and preserving Guru Mat Sangeet tend to focus a great deal on the kirtaneeas of the past like Bhai Samund Singh Ji, Bhai Santa Singh Ji, Bhai Dharam Singh Zakhmi Ji, etc. Some may ask what is wrong with that. Nothing. Absolutely nothing is wrong with that provided we dont forget the Kirtaneeas of TODAY.

There are quite a few people doing their bit to preserve GuruMat Sangeet. Some have the opportunity to devote all their time and attention to this subject while there are others who have a professional career and Guru Mat Sangeet is their passion.

We are very fortunate to have had kirtaneeas who have been legends and we have a great deal to learn from them. They have done a tremendous job of writing down notations and explaing as much as they could have. However, as a result of this we tend to forget the kirtaneeas who are around today and are doing their bit to preserve Guru Mat Sangeet.

The past 70 or so years have seen the decline of Gurmat Sangeet. We are all aware of the reasons for the decline and I don’t intend to talk about that all over again. Today there are people who decided to brave the odds and learn kirtan and sing it the way the Guru Granth Sahib instructs us. I am going to do my bit to ensure they do not go un noticed.

Some of the Kirtaneeas of Today

Bhai Kawar Pal Singh

Bhai Rai Singh

Bhai Gupal Singh

Davinder and Mohinder Partap Singh

Chardi Kala Jatha

Prof. Surinder Singh

He has been very active in trying to establish Sikh music as a prominent art among the Sikhs and in academic circles both in the UK and abroad

Bhai Baldeep Singh

He is responsible for reviving the Taus and a significant part of the Jori tradition.

Bhai Kultar Singh

He is the son of Bhai Avtar Singh. He gave up his professional career to focus on GuruMat Sangeet. He accompanies his father.

These kirtaneeas are those who have devoted their lives to GuruMat Sangeet. There a lot of others who are doing all they can to understand and learn the correct way of doing kirtan. I think it our responsibility to give recogination to these kirtaneeas so that they are inspired to do more than jus their best.

Let us start by at least listening to them doing Kirtan. If we can we should aslo start inviting them over to our Gurudawaras so that the sangat out there realizes that kirtan is a LOT more than singing tunes borrowed from movie tracks and other songs in the 8 beat Kherwa Taal!

If I have missed out any names or if you know more about any of these kirtaneeas please let me know.

Guru Ang Sang

Angad Singh

I have not mentioned Bhai Avtar Singh Ji or Bhai Balbir Singh Ji or Bhai Amrik Singh Zakhmi on purpose cause I am confused as to which category do they belong to =p