Mohan Neend Na Aveh Haveh!

December 7, 2006

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Sorry for not having updated my blog earlier, I have been quite busy in the last two weeks. The next few weeks I am going to be busy as well. We are moving house soon so there is lots of work to do.

In addition Malaysian Samelan is less than two weeks away(YAY!). If any of you are coming and do recognize me, please come up to me, I as usual am generally lost in my own world. I might bring my dilruba along to play with some of my friends during kirtan, lets see what happens.

In today’s post I intend to share with you a shabad that is close to my heart, mohn nId n AwvY hwvY hwr kjr bsqR ABrn kIny ] As this shabad has 2 rahao’s I would recommend you read the shabad in the following manner.

1st Rahao, 1st Antra, 2nd Rahao, 2nd Antra

rwgu iblwvlu mhlw 5 Gru 13 pVqwl
<> siqgur pRswid ]

mohn nId n AwvY hwvY hwr kjr bsqR ABrn kIny ]
aufInI aufInI aufInI ]
kb Gir AwvY rI ]1] rhwau ]

srin suhwgin crn sIsu Dir ]
lwlnu moih imlwvhu ]
kb Gir AwvY rI ]1]

sunhu shyrI imln bwq khau sgro AhM imtwvhu qau Gr hI lwlnu pwvhu ]
qb rs mMgl gun gwvhu ]
Awnd rUp iDAwvhu ]
nwnku duAwrY AwieE ]
qau mY lwlnu pwieE rI ]2]

mohn rUpu idKwvY ]
Ab moih nId suhwvY ]
sB myrI iqKw buJwnI ]
Ab mY shij smwnI ]
mITI iprih khwnI ]
mohnu lwlnu pwieE rI ] rhwau dUjw ]1]128]

This shabad is written by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the 5th Nanak. As indicated in the Sirlekh( title), this shabad is a partaal shabad. To read more about partaals and their structure please read : Partaals

Personally I feel when you read this shabad in the manner I have mentioned above, the meaning of the shabad comes out so beautifully that there isnt much left to explain any more.

This term went by really fast and a lot has happened on the personal and work( school) front. My courses this term were rather heavy and Master ji( my kirtan teacher) has been grilling me quite a fair bit.

In the last few days, I have been reflecting on what happened in the last few months cause at the end of it all I felt there was something missing. I could not understand what it was. However, I did realize that I haven’t been to the gurudawara on my own for some time now. I make it a point to go to gurudawara sahib in the afternoons when no one is around and I just sit with guru sahib and soak in the vibrations. I went to guru sahib and sat with him, before I was to leave, this shabad were the words guru sahib spoke to me.

Mohan Neend Na Aveh Haveh

this shabad reet has been rendered by Bhai Avtar Singh ji and his brother Bhai Gurcharan Singh ji.

Guru Ang Sang!


My dear ones Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

It pains me to inform you that Bhai Avtar Singh ji has passed away on the 24th of November at his family home in India. Bhai Baldeep Singh his sent me a mail informing me about this loss.

Bhai Sahib, was a legendary kirtanea and belonged to a family who has been serving the guru ghar and the sangat for 11 generations. He was known for scores of reets that were passed down to him from his forefathers who sang the same reets in the guru sahibs court.

He was a person who devoted his life and did what he was born to do…to serve the sangat and the guru ghar ..whilst many in his generation strayed off the path of the guru and got caught up in worldly matters he stood strong, like a rock…

Though I only learnt about Bhai Sahib about 3 years ago and met him only once, the passion with which he did kirtan is just amazing. His style, unique and attractive made one of my gora friends say..

“i don’t know what he is singing but i can feel a strong yearning in his voice..he’s calling out to someone”…

..Mohan Ghar Avoh…this only happens when a man sings from his heart and as we all know there are very few who can be compared with him..there is no doubt as to why in my friend circle he is known as and referred to as GOD.

In addition to doing blissful kirtan, Bhai Sahib and his brother also wrote 2 books which contain about 500 priceless compositions in the raags of the guru granth sahib. Also in his last 3 years he picked up the taus once again and that has helped in propagation of Tanti Saaj Kirtan.

Let us be inspired by Bhai Sahib’s works and carry on the legacy of doing kirtan the way it ought to be done.

Below are links to some of my favorite shabad reets rendered by Bhai Sahib.

Dhan Siranda Sacha Paathsha

this shabad is the 1st shabad under Alhaniyan. Alhainya is the bani sung at the time of death. There are 2 shabads under alhaniyan and they are both wirtten by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Vadhans.

Gun Naad Dhun Anhad Bhed

this is an ancient reet of the times of the Guru sahib’s. This is one of the oldest forms of dhrupad sung in the courts of the guru sahib

Mohan Ghar Avoh

listening to this a gora friend said… “i don’t know what he is singing but i can feel a strong yearning in his voice..he’s calling out to someone”…

Saajanara Mera Saajanara

Moko Taar Le Rama Taar Le

May God and Guru be with Bhai Sahib’s family.

Guru Ang Sang!


Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Today I would like to share with you about Asa Di Vaar – The Ballad of Hope

Asa-di-var—-means “A ballad of hope;” it is one of the basic sacred compositions for the Sikhs and is sung every morning in congregation in gurdwaras. The Var is an heroic ode which describes the brave deeds of a hero. It is generally sung to inspire armies going to battle or to inspire people with martial spirit. The Asa-di-var is to be sung in the Assa raga.

It consists of 24 stanzas (Pauris) and 44 Staves (Salokas) and was originated by Guru Nanak later, Guru Angad added another 15 staves of his own. In congregation, the musicians sing this var along with Chhants (quatrains) of Guru Ramdas. The stanzas express the ideas in general, while the staves clarify them by example and detail. Social and religious issues are then related, to ordinary life.

The Asa-di-var does not tell a story, its theme is: “How to become a spiritual person”-a devta.

In it, Guru Nanak also warns us against the rituals and tricks of priests and monks. The most important thing is how to build up one’s character and how to remove the obstacles that lay in the path of a disciple, the most important of which is the ego, selfishness or conceit. Even holy persons, who are outwardly very good and kind, often suffer from religious pride. Sometimes so-called religious people, commit heinous crimes through self-righteousness and bigotry.

It should be remembered that Ego in its pure essence is self-awareness or identity which when regulated is an essential, for it is the basis of one’s character or moral nature. When regulated by right motivation and active service, it is positive and beneficial. But if uncontrolled through self pride of position or riches, it becomes selfish and mean. The effects of the Ego are particularly contemptible and disastrous when disguised by the apparent holiness or tradition, which exploits ordinary people’s ignorance and credulity. The practice of humility and love are the most effective qualities for keeping people away from sin, far better than all recitations and rituals of religion.

To read the rest of this article


Thanks to my brothers at I have been able to upload a rare copy of the Asa Di Vaar sung by Bhai Lal Ji. Bhai Sahib is a direct descendent of Bhai Mardana Ji and was a Hazoori Ragi at the Harminder Sahib pre partition. He used to do kirtan till the time a ruling was passed that only Amritdhari Sikh men were allowed to do kirtan in Harminder Sahib. His son Bhai Ashiqle Ali still does kirtan.

Asa di Vaar – Bhai Lal Ji

If I am not wrong this was recorded some time in the 1960’s so the recording quality aint the best.

Have a good week ahead

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!In my last post I spoke a little bit about the jatha of Bhai Mohinder and Davinder Partap Singh Ji. Amardeep ji gave me some information about them and I would like to share it with you.

Bhai Partap Singh, the father accompanied his three sons in this tour. He used to do keertan in Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib at Delhi before migrating to US with his sons. Now his son Bhai Davinder Partap Singh is the lead voice of the Jatha. In these recordings you can hear a shivering voice in the background and this is of their father Bhai Partap Singh.

They did keertan at Gurudwara Katong Sahib in Singapore for a whole week and the sangat consisted of barely 8-10 people on every day. One day I requested Bhai Sahib to play the Dilruba instead of the Violin (which he plays very well) and it was sad to hear him pour out his frustration at the attendance of sangat in Katong Gurudwara. His reply was that what difference would it make if he did play the Dilruba? After all the 8-10 who were regularly attending were already aware of Dilruba. I could understand his sense of frustration and agreed that I should only be a silent listener and enjoy the keertan the way they best felt to present.

Inspite of this frustration the jatha went on to sing their hearts out. In one of the tapes Bhai Mohinder Partap Singh Ji says it does not matter if people listen or not its our job to do kirtan the way the guru sahib has ordered us as we will continue to do so with his blessing.

In these recordings you will get a chance to listen to lovely puratan compositions. Some of them are played in the lesser know taals like Madh taal ( 9 beats), Char taal ki Savari( 11 beats), Jai taal( 13 beats) and Inder taal ( 19 beats). In addition to singing well, the jatha also made it a point to explain the shabad and the reet.

To download the collection please click here.Please download them and share them with the sangat.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Couple of years ago a father and his three sons came to do kirtan in singapore. They live in the US but I am not certian where. I have not seen them do kirtan, nor have i met them. I have only heard recordings of them doing kirtan. They have an amazing style.

The Tanti Saaz in these files is a Violin which is played by the Father Bhai Partap Singh Ji.

Today I intend to share with you some of the shabads they sang while they were in Singapore.

Ram Bol Ram Ram, Bhai Re Ram Kaho, Niamk Na Bisro Tum Kau

Amrit Bani Har Har Teri, Sun Vadhabgia, Aao Sajana Dekha Darshan

If anyone has information about them and or their pictures pleas email me.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Sorry for not updating earlier. I have had almost no access to the internet for a while. Also I bought metallic tuning heads for my dilruba so I spent 1 entire weekend just on retying the frets and re stringing the instrument.

Anyway, I was at Rajab Ganj Sahib on 26th May and I took some really good shots.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Listening attentively!

What should we make Bhai Avtar sing??
You should sing Raag Maru

Singing his heart out – Bhai Balbir Singh Ji

Can you see the joy on Prof Kartar Singh ji’s face

Bhai Avtar Singh Ji singing Ghol Ghumee Lalna in Raag Maru

Thats all for today. In the next post I shall probabaly write about Dinner with Bhai Avtar Singh Ji.I have the recordings for the kirtan progamme. I will upload it when I get back home in 6 weeks!

Till next time..Guru Fateh!

Angad Singh

Ps: please click on the pics to enjoy!! esp the last 3 ones.

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!

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 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

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Today I would like to share with you about a great Ragi of the panth- Bhai Samund Singh Ji. Born at village Mulla Hamza in Montgomery District (now in Pakistan) in 1900. He was taught kirtan by his father Bhai Hazur Singh Ji from his early child-hood.

He was recognized as one of the best ragis of his times. And had a unique melodious voice, an extensive and deep understanding of Gurbani, correct interpretation of ragas, attractive style of singing and great human qualities.

He performed kirtan at the Gurdwara Janam Sthan, Sri Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev, for many years. In addition, he sang kirtan for 36 years from All India Radio, Lahore and later from Jalandhar and commanded wide listening. Passers-by stopped in the streets to listen to his kirtan irrespective of their faith. He was invited to perform kirtan in the National Programme of Music by All India Radio, the highest recognition of his art. He was also given the State award by the Punjab Government in 1971. A few months later he passed away at Ludhiana on the 5th of January, 1972.

To read more about Bhai Samund Singh Ji’s life download this article.We are fortunate that we have some audio recordings of the kirtan done by Bhai Sahib. Some of these recordings are converted from the old vinyl tapes thus the quality is not the best so you may have to tinker around with your equalizer on your juke box.

Recordings from Keertan.Org

Asa Di Waar

Recordings from GurmatSangeetProject.Com


I have not heard all the shabads so I cant comment on the kind of instruments being used. However, I am very sure that the shabads are being sung in the Nirdharit Raag. If you do find a shabad not being sung in the Nirdharit Raag please let me know.

Guru Fateh!
Angad Singh

Guru Fateh!

Raag Kanre Ki Vaar is found on Ang 1312 through 1318 of the Guru Granth Sahib. It is the Bani of Melha 4 – Guru Ram Das and it is last Vaar of the 22 Vaars in the Guru Granth Sahib.

The Vaar has been Sung by Bhai Balbir Singh. Bhai Balbir Singh Ji is one of the few Nihangs who does Kirtan and he is legend in his own right. For most of his life he used the Dilruba . However, he switched over to the Vaja some time ago as it is not easy for him to play the dilruba all the time at this age. However, he never compromises on the hukam of the Guru and always sings in the Nirdarit Raag.According to the Sirleh – title, the Vaar is to be sung in Musse Ki Dhune. I have no idea what Musse Ki Dhunni sounds like. If anyone of you have a recording of Bhai Avtar Singh Ji singing this particular vaar please let me know if it is the same.

Bhai Sahib lives in Amrtisar in a small house some where near Hariminder Sahib and has served as a Hazoori Ragi in the Harminder Sahib. If anyone has more information on where he stays or from where we could get more shabads sung by him please let me know.

Raag Kanre Ki Vaar – Bhai Balbir Singh
(ps this is not the entire vaar, its only one shabad from the vaar)

Click here to download more shabads sung by Bhai Balbir Singh Ji.

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh

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 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

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

Gurmat Sangeet : Ghoriyan

February 27, 2006

Guru Fateh!As I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts there are different kinds of styles of singing in Gurbani Kirtan. In the titles of some shabads the Guru Arjan Dev Ji actually instructed us to sing the shabad in a particular style. Personally I know of 2 folk styles one being Alahniya and the other being Ghoriyan

I have posted about Alhaniya. What it is and how it is related to Guru Mat Sangeet.

As for Ghoriyan:

There is one shabad in Ghoriyan and it is in Raag Vadhans. The shabad is written by Guru Ram Das Ji. Ghoriya – plural form of ghori, a mare. In Panjabi folk poetry, these types of lyrical songs, which are sung on the occasion of marriage.

Panjabi marriages comprise of a series of ceremonies performed at different stages. In one of these ceremonies, the bridegroom mounts a handsomely decorated mare to go to the house of the bride where a reception awaits (barat). The sisters of the bridegroom feed the mare with crushed gram from a plate and embellish the mare with bridle strings. They sing the songs
of ghori; other girls and wom en join them in chorus, as the bridegroom climbs up on the back of the mare.

In the ghoriyan shabad Guru Ji uses the example of marriage specifically the ceremony of ghori to explain the fact that human life is a precious opportunity to be united to God as marriage is the opportunity to be united with the bride. The human body is the mare, riding which the seeker of God could reach his goal. The mind is to be harnessed, conquered and controlled, just as the saddle and bridle only then will he reach his goal.

Another thing that Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha says is that the lyrics of panjabi ghoris were quite lewd and not appropriate. Guru Sahib transforms this cultural aspect and focuses the listener to “spiritual culture”. it shows us that there is indeed a “Sikh Culture” as opposed to a “Panjabi Culture”.

There is only 1 shabad in Ghoriyan and it is found on page 575 of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This shabad does not a rahao line thus the 1st line is used as the Asthai. Also if you listen carefully and read the words you will realise that Bhai Sahib adds the word “Ghori” in the begining of the first line. Now this was a puratan style to add words like “vah vah”, “piar” etc..

Dayh Tayjan Jee Ram Upaa-ee-aa Raam
I dont have a copy of this shabad so I have linked it from the archieve thus you will need realplayer to play the shabad.

The shabad is being sung in Raag Vadhans by Bhai Avtar Singh ji and the Dilruba/Taous is being played in the background.

Click here to read the translations from Guru Granth Darpan
the shabad is the 2nd one on the page.

I would like to thank Inderpreet Veerji for telling me about Ghoriyan.

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh

Gur Fateh!Its been quite a while since I have been listening to kirtan done by ragis like Dharam Singh Zakhmi Ji, Bhai Autar Singh, Bhai Balbir Singh Ji. Most of the recordings are live and in the recordings,at times the kirtaneeias mention that they are singing a purtatan reet i.e doing kirtan as it was done in the past. Some of these reets date back to the times of Guru Ram Das Ji.

While listening I wondered what is the significance of purtatan reets. Must kirtan be done only according to purtantan reets? I was grappling with the issue for a while. I asked myself as to what the significance would be. In addition I spoke to Amardeep Ji and Prof. Surinder Singh Ji.

Before I go on to talk of to the Significance of the Puratan Reets, I would like to mention that our gurus instructed us to sing in title raag and in this article where ever I talk about experimentation it is within the Nirdharit Raag.

I realized that puritan reets were just the way kirtan was done in the past and that is part of our heritage. So we have an obligation to preserve as much of it as we can. Now when I talk about preserving our heritage, does it mean we have no room to experiment and come up with our own compositions? NO. The guru sahibs gave us the title raag, they did not mention that we should in dhrupad or khyal etc. So its perfectly ok to make a composition in the title raag.

However, this does not mean we chuck the puratan reets away. The reason for this I believe is that we have already lost a lot of our heritage. For instance, the community is divided over what does GHAR stand for in the Guru Granth Sahib JI( Click here to read more about ghar). Thus we ought to maintain and revive our heritage. Another example would be that we have lost the traditions of sining the 22 vaars in the Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Now the only two vaars that are sung are Assa Di War and Basant Ki Vaar. Even with Assa Di Waar we dont know what Tunde Aas raje Ki Dhune is. It is mentioned in the title so its a commmand to recite the vaar in the dhunie but its lost. Thus me must work to revove our heritage else 50 to 100 yrs down the road people may even start to forget some raags like Maajh that are only present in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

The next question I asked myself was that why did these reets get lost? What made them unpopular? The puratan reets are generally set to a slow pace and that is what makes them unpopular. To sing at a slow pace the singer needs to be well trained and must have adequate control over his/her voice. In addition when one sings slow, the sangat also have to tune themselves in. They have to focus and pay attention. They have to make an effort too.

Now why is it that puratan reets were set to a slow pace. When one sings slow, he/she takes his time to say each word out clearly so that the listeners can also catch the words and try to contemplate on the meaning. The nirdharit raag aids in the understanding of the underlying message in the shabads. On the otherhand when kirtan is set to a fast pace. The singer, does not have the luxury of saying each word our clearly. As a result of which the sangat is unable to under the words. Numerous times I have wondered. Is it “Aisee Hoye Pare” or Kaysi hoye pare”, is it “Kaysee Aaarte Hove or Aisee Artee Hove”… The message gets lost and I believe that kirtan loses it purpose then.

At times people when people come out a darbar saying, “the kirtan was very happening!” they are generally referring to the beat and tune not the meaning of the shabad. Remember we can experiment with the beat and the pace but the Shabad has to be the pardhan not the music.

So does this mean kirtan should not be done at a fast pace. We have close to 5500 shabds in the Guru Granth Sahib. In addition we also have the Dasam Granth, Bhai Gurdas Ji’s Vaars and Bhai Nandlal Ji’s bani. There are some shabads which out to envoke battle spirit( bir raas) are to be sung fast. Now if we sing Deh Siva Bar Mohe Hain to a slow pace its not going to invoke Bir Raas. However, if we sing the shabad to a slow pace we will be better able to understand the meaning in the shabads. So depending on what we are trying to achive at that point will determine how the kirtan should be done with regards to the pace/tempo.

Now one may argue that we have the translations so on the projectors (at least here in Singapore we do) so singing fast it ok. All I’d say is that it is one thing to read an interpretation and a totally different thing to realize it for yourself.

Coming back to should we always stick to Puratan reets, what is the significance of these reets. I firmly believe that its perfectly ok to come up with our own compositions, In addition I believe that the puratan reets are a major part of our heritage and if we don’t work to preseve it, who will? When coming with our own composition we much try not to sing too fast, remember we need to drive home the message not the beat and the tune..

So I humbly request you to sit and try to focus the next time a kirtaneea is making an effort to sing slow. Make the effort and you will see the result of that in no time…remember..god takes care of everything but you are the one who has to take the first step.

Bhot Janam Bichrey They Mahdo rendered by Bhai Amrik Singh Zakhmi is a very good example of what I am trying to explain.

To listen to some kirtan done by some of the kiranteeas of today in Nirdhart Raags and at a slow pace:

Bhai Kawarpal Singh

Bhai Gupal Singh

Bhai Rai Singh

Please feel free to share you views.

Amardeep Ji if there is anything that I have mentioned is not correct please correct me or if there is anything you would like to add please do.

Guru Ang Sang Hove!

Angad Singh


A gem I stumbled upon!

February 5, 2006

Gur Fateh!

I was browsing through and I came across some rare videos( obviously related to gurmatsangeet!). I was absolutely delighted when I saw the videos. However, there were some things I noticed in the video that saddened and scared me.There are 3 videos that I will share with you today. 2 of them are video recordings of Bhai Avtar Singh Ji, 11th generation Kirtaneea doing Kirtan in Canada. And the last one is of a Muslim Rababi Kirtaneea – Bhai Ghulam Mohd. Chand.

In the first two videos there are certain things I would like to point out to you.

The video gives us a chance to see how gurmat sangeet is done in the purtaan maryada. We get an opportunity to see first hand how much of concentration and effort is needed when singing the puratan reets. Puratan reets are those that were sung in the courts of Sikh Gurus. Some reets are said to have been composed and sung by the gurus themselves.

The other thing to note in this video is that playing a tanti saaz( stringed instrument) is not an easy task. It requires a lot of practice and effort. When Bhai Avtar Singh Ji is singing see for yourself the effort that is required. In addition you will notice Bhai Avatr Singh Ji uses the Taos for the Mangla Charan and the 1st Shabad. For the second shabad he uses the Vaja. When I saw this happen I realized that Bhai Sahib is not young anymore! We need to do something about this. Its our heritage if we( Sikhs) dont preserve it who will. However, before I could realize what was happening Nampreet Singh from Canada comes to the stage and picks up the taus and start playing it! I was smiling once again =)

In each of the video there are 2 shabads being sung.

Mehervan Mehervan Sahib Mayra Meheravan – Bhai Avtar Singh Ji – 145MbAisee Preet Gobind Sio Jore – Bhai Avtar Singh Ji – 154 Mb

In the last video Bhai Baldeep Singh Ji ( grand nephew of Bhai Avtar Singh Ji and the person who revived the Taos ) talks about how during his research trips to Pakistan he was fortunate to meet some of the survinging members of the Rababi community. After partition in 1947 they most of them migrated to Pakistan and now they have no source of lively hood. Sikhs dont invite them to do kirtan as they are muslims and not sikhs. However, some of them still sing the guru’s bani.Bhai Ghulam Mohd. Chand. sings a bandish in Dhrupad. I am not too sure what he is singing though. I will not spoil the video for you watch it your self.

Bhai Ghulam Mohd. Chand.

I hope you watch these videos and realize that we are loosing our own heritage everyday. We ought to do something about it.

Guru Ang Sang Hove!

Angad Singh


January 31, 2006

Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur have written shabads in Basant Raag. Basant is a raag traditionally associated with the spring and many of the shabads that the Gurus composed in this raag use the metaphor of spring (the blossoming of flowers, the forests awakening in energy and so on), to express the beauty of the spiritual union with Waheguru. It was once a tradition that, during the spring, Raagis would sing the first shabad in Raag Basant.In the Guru Granth Sahib Ji there are 2 main seasonal Raags: Basant and Malahar. Basant raag can be sung at any time in Basant season. Shabads with the theme of happiness are clustered under this raag in Guru Granth Sahib. The same applies to Malhar Raag. Malhar is the monsoon season. As you know the Guru Granth Sahib has been arranged according to Raags. The bani written in raag basant starts on page 1168 of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib.

There are some variations of the Basant Raag such as Basant Bahar, Budhha Basant, Basant Hindol etc..

Sarbpreet Singh Ji of the Gurmat Sangeet Project Wesbsite has written about the tradition of Basant Ki Var and some of the traditions associated with Basant Raag.

Some Shabads being sung in puratan reetan in basant raag

Dek Phool Phool Phoole

The shabad was sung by Amrit and Mehr Kaur in Basant Bahar. They sang in Partal ( Chartaal- 12 beats, Iktaa- 12 beatsl, Tintaal- 16 beats, Soolfak- 10 beats). Before they start singing they talk about the tradition of singing this particular composition.

To read the explaination of the Shabad by Prof Sahib Singh Click here

Pahal Basanti Agaman

The shabad is sung by Sarabpreet Singh Ji in budha Basant in 16 beats( Teentaal). Before he sings Sarabpreet Singh talks a little bit about puratan reets and Gurmat Sangeet.

Basant Ki Var with shabads:Tum Sach Dhiavoh Mughad Manaa and Teri Kudrat Tuhi Jaane

These two shabads are sung by Nampreet and Jaswinder Singh. The instruments they are using are Dilruba and the Taoos. They start with a Mangla Charan. Then they sing the pauri of Basant Ki Var followed by the 1st shabad. After which they sing the 2nd pauri of basant ki Vaar. Then they sing the 2nd shabad. They then complete the Basant Ki Var and then end off by reading a salok. This was the way kirtan was dones in the Courts of our Gurus..

To download more shabads sung in Basant Raag

Toronto Basant Gurmat Sangeet Darbar

Kirtan Darbar at Bridgewater, NJ March 2, 2005

Bhai Gurmej Singh’s recordings on Gurmat Sangeet Website

The documenting of an oral tradition
To read about the documentation of Gurmat Sangeet and list of books on Gurmat Sangeet.

In a day or so I will post Shabads sung in Raag Basant by Bhai Avtar Singh Ji. In the mean while please download and listen to the shabads in Basant Raag and try to read the meanings as well. If reading in punjabi is difficult for you. I would suggest you still read from Darpan and not the english translations as there are numerous cases of literal translation of the shabad and that results in an incorrect message. Gurbani is poetry and cant be directly translated.

Guru Ang Sang Hove

Angad Singh

Ps. I have not been able to find the last 3 shabads on darpan I will do so and will put up the links.