Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

On Saturday 27th May, I met Bhai Bladeep Singh ji. Harpreet Singh my friend made this meeting possible. Bhai Sahib is a 13 generation Kirtaneea and belongs to the family of Bhai Avtar Singh ji.

Bhai Baldeep is the person who is responsible for brining the Taus back. The Taus had disappeared from the gurudawaras around 1945, Baldeep Singh ji studied the instrument for years and then made one in 1995. In addition to this he also spent time learning the Sikh style of playing the Pakawaj ; another part of our culture that we had almost lost. To learn and master each aspect of Sikh Kirtan Bhai Sahib studied under different ustaads for over a decade.

I took my dilruba along when I went to visit Bhai Sahib. He invited me to his home and played on my dilruba for a good 30 mins while talking to me about instruments and instrument making.

He also shared with me about his life. He was a top aero modeler and got into the India Air force as well. However, he never joined the air force as he decided that he wanted to dedicate his life in the sewa of the guru ghar.

A lot of people told me Baldeep is very arrogant, he is a snob, he is rude, he does not share etc. Well he might be like that! But we cannot run away from the fact that what Baldeep Singh is doing no one else is. If it was not for him and his ways, we would have never heard the taus being played or uthe jori being played the way it was in the court of Guru Ram Das.

As for why he does not openly share its simple! I am not too sure myself. I hope that in time to come he does share his knowledge else we may never be able to know about the gems he has uncovered.

People complain that bhai baldeep singh charges a lot to teach, it is not right etc?

To these people I ask, do we complain to mercedes why they charge so much more than a toyota? Or do we ask the best doctor in town why does he charge many times more than the normal GP? Or do question harvard why they chare so much more than a state run university.

Many of us do not go to ivy league schools or play the dilruba instead of the taus cause we cant afford it. We don’t go complaining Why is a taus 5 times more expensive than a dilruba!! I feel the same goes with Baldeep, I cannot afford his fees fine then I don’t go to him.

He has studied each Sikh instrument in depth and used the best material make the instrument under his careful supervision. He spent close to 4 years and about USD 60,000 just gathering the correct tools to make these instruments. Also he has spent years studying from the makers of the best instruments. In order to do all this research he needs funds and he is not being supported by any organization or gurudawara board. So teaching and selling instruments is what gets him the necessary funds.

He then took me to his studio and workshop. I saw the instruments he is currently working on, 2 sarandas,2 dilruba’s 1 rabab. They look really beautiful and the workmanship you can see is out of the world. Also he played the taus for me, the one he made in 1995. The sound of that taus was out of this world. Just to good to be true.

In addition to being a top Sikh instrument maker and an exponent of Dhrupad style of singing Bhai Sahib is the head of the oldest school of percussion in the Asian sub continent. Unfortunately I do not remember the exact name of this school. One of his senior students in India, Parminder Singh who has been learning from him for the past three years played some pakawaj bols on his hands ( tali and kahli )whiles bhai baldeep singh ji played the same on the pakawaj. I was awe struck!

With great reluctance did I leave his place. There was so much to learn so much to see that I just could not get enough of it.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh
PS: Arina thanks for the notations!!!

Note from Delhi!

May 25, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I would like to thank to all of you who wrote in to me and left comments on the blog – wishing me the best for this internship.

Sorry for not posting sooner. I do not have regular access to the internet. In the office I have not been given a connection so the only time I can log on is if another computer is free or I am at home. Besides strictly no blogging from office!!

Delhi has been interesting so far. Work is good as well. I am doing a strategic research in which I have to find if there is any association between the Sensation Seeking Scale and Product experimentation. This research is pretty much like any marketing research. In fact the steps are the same.

I guess I will be learning more about how to do research rather than working on converting a client brief to a creative brief ie understanding the needs of the client, coming up with ideas to meet the needs of the client and the having the creative department work on that idea so that at the end of a day a good campaign is launched.

I haven’t really made friends at work but I am sure I will do so by the end of this week. The reason is that I have to work alone on this project so my interaction is reduced to the lunch hour.

As for Kirtan. I have been playing the dilruba almost every day. I have also started reading Spirit Born People written by Puran Singh ji, it is very interesting I must say.

My dear friend Arina has promised to send me 2 notations per month so that I have more than just sargams to practise. She has uploaded one on her her blog. I am sure she will upload the rest after reading this post =p…wei.. U better stick to yr 2 notations per month..

There is a kirtan darbar this Sunday at rakab ganj sahib. Bhai Avtar Singh ji, Bhai Balbir Singh ji, Prof Kartar Singh ji will be doing kirtan. I shall be recording and taking pictures as well. I am not too sure when I can share the recordings but I will try to upload some pictures

Till next time..

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Off to Delhi..

May 20, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

A hectic summer term is finally over..

In about 8 hours I leave for Delhi!

No not for a holiday..I will be interning with Rediffusion DYR, an advertising agency for a period of 9 weeks from 22nd May to 20th July. I will be working in the Strategic Planning Department.

Other than my internship I intend to do some reading along with continuing my reeaz. In addition I intend to maintain a journal of my experiences in India. As a result it may happen that the topics I blog about may not necessarily be on or about Gurmat Sangeet.

Those of you who are in Delhi I look forward to meeting you once again and I hope Bhai Avtar Singh Ji is in Delhi for a while so that I would have a chance of listening to him live.

I have just uploaded a live recording of Bhai Balbir Singh Ji singing 10th Guru Sahib’s bani – click here to download

This would be my last post from home..more posts from Delhi!!

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!This would be the final post on Gurbani Gavoh Bhai kirtan program that was held in Delhi.

Prof. Kartar Singh ji’s sang on the 2nd day of the program. He is the Director of the Gurmat Sangeet Academy which is at Anandpur Shaib. In 1941, he started to learn kirtan from Gyani Gurcharan Singh ji and Bhai Dalip Singh ji. Professor Sahib is about 78 years old and is known to be one of the living legends in the field of gurmat sangeet.

Prof. Kartar Singh ji does kirtan at Anandpur Sahib every wednesday evening for an hours along with his students.

At the kirtan program he sang and his students sat behind him. Most of them were playing the tanpura while there was 1 with the waja. The other insturments being played were the Taus and Dilruba.

The shabads Prof Kartar Singh ji sang at the samagam were

1. Bin Kartar Na – Raag Kalyan Taals: 9.5 matras and 13 matras( jai taal)

2. Koye Jan Harseo Deyveh Jor – Raag Jaitsree , 12 beats

3. Mitre Pyare Nu Taal : 14 beats – Firdoust Taal

Click here to download the kirtan. The sound quality is quite bad so please bear with it. if anyone know how to clean the recording please write in.

Some of the other recordings of the shabads Prof ji has sung:

Nirgun Rakh Liya – Raag Tukhari

Har Ki Gat Neh Ko Hu Jane – Raag Bihargra

Hau Kachu Na Janu Teri Saar -Raag Basant

Mo Ko Koi Na Jaanat – Raag Maru

Prabh Moeh Kab Gal Lavengey – Raag Kalyan


Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Gurmat Sangeet:Taranas

May 16, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

In my last post there was a tarana that Bhai Gurmit Singh Shant sang. Today I am posting another tarana. This one is sung by Bhai Balbir Singh and is titled Dani Dani Tum Dani. There are 20 such taranas found in the SarabLoh Parkash Granth.

To me it seems that a tarana is a short poetry that is to be sung at a fast speed. Some of my readers are very knowledgeable in this field so please shed some light on taranas.

Click Here
to download the tarana.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Bhai Gurmit Singh Shant who hails from Jalandhar is one of the leading young ragis of the path. He belongs to a family that have been doing kirtan from the time of the gurus.

Bhai Sahib is an extremely hardworking kirtaneea and lovingly shares with others his skill.Bhai Sahib is especially adept i singing Raag Guldastas and taranas from Guru Gobdind Singh Ji’s Bani.

To read more about Bhai Gurmit Singh Shant – click here.

At the Samagam in New Delhi, Bhai Sahib sange the following shabads

Sai Naam Amol – Sri Raag – teentaal
Preet Ke preet – Hamir raag – Iktaal
this is not the title raag, as per gurmat sangeet maryarda you should only sing in the title raag, if its Asa melha 5 we should not sing in anything other than asa
Nain Mahinge- Raag Kalyan – Madh taal this is a 9 beat taal
Raag Guldasta of 11 raags – Jhap taal
Itene Baat – Teen taal
He explains the meaning of the tarana.

To dowload the kirtan click here.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Today I will be posting the Kirtan sung by the jatha of Bhai Ashiqe Ali Bhai Lal at the Talkatora Gardens in New Delhi at the Gurbani Gavoh Bhai program.

Bhai Sahib is the 17th Generation of Bhai Mardana Ji who was Guru Nanak dev ji’s companion and rabab player.

The Rababis who stayed in and around Amritsar moved over to Pakistan after partition. Partition did a lot of damage to the Rababi community they lost their only source of lively hood as there were very few sikhs in pakistan. As a result some of them started singing qwalis while others took on other odd jobs.

In 1962 SGPC passed a law that only permitted amritdahri sikh men to do kirtan in the Harminder Sahib, this law ment that the rababis who are muslems would not be allowed to do kirtan where they forefathers had been doing kirtan for generations.

Thanks to the effort of numerous groups and individuals the rababis are back today and are singing kirtan. Today they still sing with a vaja. Thanks to Chris Mooney Singh the rabab is back.

All the shabads Bhai Sahib sang were in Nirdharit Raag. In addition he did a lot of parmans. The shabads are as follows.

Sajan Tere Charan – teen Taal – Raag Kanra
Pabh Jio Khasmana – Dadra – Raag Sorath – Puratan Reet
Khalsa Aakal Purkah Ki Fauh – explains what khalsa is
Main Andhulay Ke Take – Dadra – Phari Dhun – Puratan Reet.

Click here to download the shabads. Please download ASAP as the shabads are up only for a week.

Guru Fateh!

Angad Singh

The Taus

May 8, 2006

The Taus – Peacock shaped instrument was almost extinct however, due to the efforts of Bhai Baldeep Singh the instrument is still being played and is becoming popular.

This instrument is said to have been designed and made by 10th Guru Sahib. The Dilruba which is a derivative of the Taus is said to have been designed by the sikhs during the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji as it was much easier to carry a dilruba in comparison to a taus.

Some of the people who play the Taus today are Ranbir Singh, he is the only professional Taus player and Bhai Avtar Singh Ji. There are also numerous people esp. in the UK who are learning the Taus.

In this picture Pyara Singh Padam tuning the majestic Taus at Talkatora Gardens, New Delhi. He played the Taus when Prof Kartar Singh sang…

He is 81 years old and served the Royal Air Force and was stationed at Karachi for a long time. This was pre partition.

I was able to have a quick word with him he told me all the instruments he has are very old and were made in Pakistan. I do not know know if this taus is an old one. Even if it is an old one the wooden pegs for the strings have been replaced metal ones.

Currently he plays and teaches Tanti saaz at the Gurmat Sangeet Academy at Anandpur Sahib.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Angad Singh

PS: He is not the punjabi writer Pyara Singh Padam.

Kambdi Kalaai

May 6, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Today at the Silat Road Gurudawara I watched the screening of Kambdi Kalai .

I must say it was a very well made movie and is a first of its kind. A lot of Sikh movies have been made with a religious background, not thing wrong with that. However, we needed one about our culture – The Sikh culture.

Kambdi Kalai- a tribute to Bhai Veer Singh ji did very well in addressing the kind of problems the youth of today face. Issues about our roop, issues relating with our identity as Sikhs and citizens of a country,sardar jokes,12 O clock jokes, the events of 1984.

In addition, the movie took a very clear stand that a Sikh must have his roop, this stand was very well explained as well. Also they showed how people from different communities showed interest and studied Sikhism in depth. As a result of that they valued and appreciated the teachings of our Gurus more than some of our own people.

To read more about the movie click here.

Those of you who were unable to come/ or did not know about the movie screening, you have another chance to catch the movie

The movie is being screened again at Silat Road Gurudawara in Singapore at 3pm on Saturday 13th of May.

In Singapore, tThe DVD’s of the movie will be available tomorrow at Katong Gurudawara and at the Sikh Centre at Silat Road( 0065 – 63272004). The DVD is priced at SGD 15 so please get a copy.

Ish Amtoj Kaur ji, the director will also be visiting Malaysia and maybe Indonesia in the next 1 or 2 weeks so there should be some screenings in Malaysia and Indonesia as well.

Please check with your local gurudawaras , once I get the details I will post them up as well. For those of you who reside in the USA you can buy a DVD here.

In the near future these DVD’s will be available in other countries as well.

If any of you have watched the movie please do share your thoughts as well.

Guru Fateh!

Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

This is the 1st of many posts that I will be doing about the various kirtaneeas who did kirtan at the 3 day samagam held at Talkatora Garderns, New Delhi.Dr. Gurnam Singh
Dr. Singh is the son of Bhai Uttam Singh Ji, a shrimoni ragi. He was introduced to kirtan at an early age by his father. Later on he studied kirtan under the famous Professor Tara Singh of Patiala. Gurnam Singh Ji has written numerous books and edited some of the books written by Prof. Tara Singh ji. In addition he as an album to his credit in which he sung shabads in the vairous raags mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib ji.

Currently he serves as the Professor and Head of the Gurmat Sangeet Chair and Department of Gurmat Sangeetat at Punjabi University Patiala. Also he is a Senior Fellow at Sangeet Natak Academy in New Delhi.

In 2002 he was honored at the Harvallabh Sangeet Samiti. In addtion he also received the Gurmat Sangeet Award.

The shabads which Dr. Gurnam Singh Ji sang at the samagam are as follows:

Kalyan – Hamre Eh Kirpa Kee Jay

Barah Mah Tukhari – Veshak – Nank Veshaki Prabh Paveh

Dhanaasree – Aarti

Malhaar Partal – Prey Ki Sobh Suhavnee Nee Ki

The recording can be downloaded from here. However, it will be pulled down in about 5 days so please download it as soon as possible. The reason is that the akji.org server is not working nor are they responding to my emails.

I apologize for the quality of the recordings. For some reason the organizers would not let us record. I managed to record but the quality aint the best cause I had to hide my recorder.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Back Home

May 4, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I got back home on the 2nd of May and I will be posting about the various kirtaneeas and their kirtan as well in the coming 2 weeks.

I have just finished posting all the pictures on my photoblog. So do go take a look.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I am still in Delhi so this is just a short post to let you all know that I have tons of pictures and all the recordings. I will be uploading them in time to come.

There is so much to share that I will have to dedicate a couple of posts just to this event.

I met fellow blogger Puneet Kaur and Upinder Kaur Ji. Upinder Ji has posted some pictures of the event so do have a look at her blog.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh