An evening with Bhai Baldeep Singh

May 30, 2006

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!!!
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5 Responses to “An evening with Bhai Baldeep Singh”

  1. Puneet Kaur Says:

    Fateh ji

    u met Bhai Baldeep Singh!!!!WAHEGUROOOOO……

    Vadde Bhag Bhete Gur Deva….

    Guru rakha

  2. jatlee Says:

    loll hes a good friend 🙂 i like him you can clearly see he is intoxicated almost like he is on drugs because of the kirtan! When you meet people then you only realise how rich of a gift our guru’s gave us!

  3. upinder kaur Says:

    Wow! You never told me this…..

  4. satvinder Says:

    Come back! You’re having too much fun out there. It’s not fair (“,)

    just kidding… keep sharing. Grrrr… You’re so lucky >:P

  5. Panini Pothoharvi Says:

    Please visit http://paninipath.blogspot.com/2006/06/bhai-baldeep-singh-greatest-living.html for a heated and rather controversial discussion on Bhai Baldeep Singh Ji.


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