Raag Yaman in Roopak

September 26, 2007

I’ve uploaded this video of myself playing raag yaman in roopak taal. Sorry about the video quality I used my mobile phone and this recording was done at night hence the darkness.

I am playing my esraj that was made by Manoj Kumar Sardar, the sound has not be altered in any way. The phone mic does not do completed justice to sound of the saaz.

Guru Rakaha

Angad

Sunset in singapore

September 23, 2007

Sunset in singapore, originally uploaded by Angad Singh.

 

Ramiya Hou Barik Tera

September 17, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I was going through the kirtan that I have and I chanced upon this shabad Ramiya Hon Barik Tera.

For almost two hours now I ve been playing it over and over again. The innocence in the voice of the Sonia Kaur who is singing appeals to me.

Please click here to download the shabad.

Rab Rakaha

Angad

Tanti Saaz shopping

August 27, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

After my last post, I decided I had enough of trying to make adjustments in my saaz cause nothing seemed to be reducing the rattling sound from the top of the instrument. This rattling sound was so annoying, I could hardly concentrate and do reaaz properly.

I decided it was time to buy a new saaz. The question was from where? I did not know any one who could help me get one from gurdial singh, nor could I wait indefinitely. The other choice was Raj Musicals. I had a word with Manav Singh ji, my friend from Bangkok. He told me  that if you want a top notch saaz from Raj you should go through some famous people. If an average person wants a saaz he will quickly make one for you and in the process over look some details. These minor defects can be fixed but only by an expert. And  you dont have a teacher near you, it can be a serious headache.

That did not make things any better for me. It was then I came across Manoj Kumar Sardar and Brothers who are based in Calcutta. They are supposedly the best makers of esraj and tarsheanis.

I took the chance and I called them up. Spoke to Mr. Manoj Kumar himself, he was very warm and spent time explaining to me the different varities of instruments they have ( in terms of kind of wood and price). On his recommendation I ordered a one piece tun wood esraj with wooden pegs for my main strings.

A month later when I received the instrument, it is just out of the world! The workman ship is just amazing! You can check out the pictures of the instrument here, here and here. I shall upload a sound sample one of these days!

Manav and I did a short practice over skype and he was totally bought over by the sound of he instrument. He has written an entry about it. Click here to read.

Now some of you may think Esraj is not our saaz in terms of Sikh Tradition, I agree it is not. Ideally I too wanted a dilruba. However, the lack of good quality dilrubas made me explore the option of the esraj. The main thing for me is the sound, the esraj sounds almost alike if not better. So till I can find a good dilruba or taus, I will stick to this saaz!

Finally to all of us out there who don’t have teachers near by, Harsangeet.com is going to launch soon. We are in the process of getting the content ready.( Do not sign up yet we are still under construction.)

You can call 91-33-2237 5835 and ask for Mr Manoj Kumar and do remember to tell him Angad from Singapore has recommended him. So as to ensure a good deal!

Thats all from me in Singapore

Guru Ang Sang Hove

Angad

Dilruba

July 5, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji ki Fateh!

Over the past few months I have received emails asking me for details on dilrubas. I myself have also been looking and asking loads of people on what makes a good dilruba.

In this post I attempt the following questions.

· How much should a dilruba cost?

· What to look out for when buying a dilruba?

· Who makes the best dilrubas?

· The role of Strings?

In the past few years there has been a sudden demand for dilrubas. Thus a number of music stores now manufacture and sell this beautiful instrument. A simple google search of the word “dilruba” will give you an idea about the popularity of the saaz.

How much should a dilruba cost?

Price, I believe is one of the factors responsible for the popularity of the dilruba. It is important to note that price is not directly proportional to the quality of the instrument. Most dilruba’s are sold in the range of Rs 7,000 to Rs 9,000 for the basic models. A hard fiber glass case costs around Rs 2,000 while a cloth one costs about Rs 300. This makes the dilruba one of the cheapest stringed instrument of the Sikhs. Make sure you ask for extra string . Min one roll each for main strings and I roll for the tarab strings. Also ensure they give you rosin and a bow.

What to look out for when buying a dilruba?

Due to an increasing demand, a lot of manufactures are now making dilrubas. Like most Indian instruments every manufacturer makes the dilruba according to their own styles. As a result we have dilrubas in various sizes and shapes (sound box). This is not much of a problem. The main problem here is the quality workman ship. Many instruments are sold without paying attention to the final details. At this point we must keep in mind that these instruments are extremely sensitive thus attention to detail is essential in the making of a dilruba.One of the most important part of the dilruba is its main bridge. The quality of the sound depends a lot of the bride (there are other factors like shape of sound box and strings too). In most cases the bridges are not carefully made or placed. I have experienced this 1st hand. David Courtney has done a write up on bridges and bridge modifications. Click here to read it.

Next we talk about the sound box. The sound box should have some depth and should not be too narrow. Unfortunately I can’t provide you with measurements at this time. The stem or the fingerboard must also be proportional to the size of the sound box.

A broad deep sound box will give the instrument a richer tone and there will be greater resonance. A flatter and narrower sound box will give the instrument a sharp sound. The two dilrubas in the pictures are a good example of what I am trying to say.

Who makes the best dilrubas?

Moving on to makers. This question is a very complicated one and there is no 1 answer to this. There are two major players in the market. One being Gurdial Singh based in Jhallander and the other being Raj musicals in Delhi. The other makers are Manoj Kumar, Bina Musicals, Delhi Music, Bharat Music, Nagi etc.

Gurdial Singh

Apparently amongst the finest sounding saaz are made by them. Unfortunately, unless you know them in person or have some contacts do not expect to get a beauty. If you get one consider your lucky! Also you need to know what you want and don’t want in your saaz if you are buying from them. In addition it is recommend you collect the saaz in person, or have a knowledgeable person do it for you. They are notorious for selling you what they want to rather than what you want. Apart quality, they have very little value for time. If they say 3 weeks there is no guarantee they will deliver in 3 weeks. They make take a month may be more. This to most of us is really important cause we don’t live in or near Jhallander.

Raj Musicals

Most commonly used dilrubas are made by Raj. They generally deliver in time. However, in the bargain, they compromise on the finer details of the saaz. Thus   you may get a saaz that may have a small deffect in it, the bridge may be little faulty or the strings may not be the correct ones etc.

Manoj Kumar ( just added)

Over the past few weeks I have received emails asking me about the Manoj Kumar dilrubas.  I have spoken to a friend who has played the instrument and the feed back I received was that he would rather play a manoj kumar dilruba than a raj dilruba. The sound is more sarangi like.

The workmanship, I can assure you is awsome. My esraj was made by them. They take a whole month to make the saaz, but what they make is extra ordinary.

One thing to note is that Manoj Kumar dilruba’s come with 6 main strings not 4 like dilrubas frm raj or gurdial singh..if you want only 4 please let him know when you place the order.

Finally the moment of truth… which one is the best? I really don’t know. You have to evaluate your self and make the decision.

Other brands

I don’t know enough to talk about them.

My dilruba is made by Nagi. Now heavily modified. It sounds alright…I am still working on getting it to sound mellow lets see what happens. I would not recommend this saaz unless you want to experiment with string and bridges etc ( read: ready to spend lots and lots of time…).

You might wonder why did I buy it?

I needed an instrument at that time and this one was available in Singapore so I did not have to pay for shipping (almost as much as the instrument itself !). Most importantly I did not know any of the above things.

Role of Strings

Strings play a key role in the sound quality of the dilruba. At this point I must mention. If you have just gotten your saaz please don’t change your strings just as yet. The wood needs time to get resonant. With time and regular reaaz your saaz should sound better.

Only when you have decent control over your bowing and you can play some basic compositions. You will be in a position to judge the quality of the sound. So till then unless you snap a string please don’t change them.

David Courtney has written a detail page on strings and tuning as well. Click here to read it.

Wow! I guess that was the longest post in a long time. I hope this post helps you identify a good dilruba and improve the sound quality of your dilruba.

Ps. If you have more infomation about Dilruba in terms of structure please let me know.

Happy Practicing..

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad

Gur Arjan Vitoh Kurbani

June 16, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Guru Arjan sahib saheedi was the very first saheedi in sikh history. After him, numerous including the Guru sahibs who followed gave up their lives but not their faith.

Guru Arjan Sahib has contributed to the development of Sikhism in numerous ways. Hecompleted the building of the Harimander Sahib, The Adi Granth and contributed the most number or shabads and saloks in the Guru Granth Sahib, the most famous being Sukhmani Sahib.

To Read on about Guru Arjan Sahib ji life please click here

Gur Arjan Vitoh Kurbani

At the 17th minute in this recording the legendary Bhai Dharam Singh Zakhmi ji explains what shaeed means. No offense to anyone but not every Sikh who dies can be called a shaeed. He goes on to talk about Guru sahib’s life and how he was educated who was instrumental in his upbringing etc..i leave it for you to listen to it yourself for the details.

 Some other compositions of Guru Arjan Sahib

Gun Naad Dhun Anhad Bhed

this composition is a purataan reet said to have been sung in guru sahibs durbar, this composition is sung in the dhrupad ang in chaartal of 12 beats

Mohan Neend Na Aveh Haveh

Again a puratan reet..this is a partal sung in raag bilaval. Guru Ram Das ji and Guru Arjan Sahib ji were 2 guru sahibs who gave us partaals.

With this I would like to end this post

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Angad Singh

You WILL Walk Alone!

May 8, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Early last week I received an email from a friend. His father who was in the mid 70’s passed away. Later in the week the funeral was held.

My friends and I went down for the funeral. This was the first time I had seen a funeral in Singapore. There were certain things about this funeral that particularly struck me. I shall explain how the entire process takes place and then focus on the parts that struck me.

When I reached the crematorium, the body lay in rest. We payed our respects and sat down, some of us were standing at the back as the hall was small. Salok M9 was being played. After this Aardas was done and body was moved to the furnace. We went to what is called the viewing gallery. The body was then placed on an automated trolley and it moved towards the furnace. The distance that the body covered was about 15 meters. This was the part that really struck me.

He left everyone behind and moved on..taking absolutely nothing with him. The family members just stood behind a glass wall and watched the body move and disappear in the furnace.

We do read and understand that we come alone we’ll go alone etc. In India, the only other place where I have been to a funeral you place the body on the funeral pyre and then light it. In this case it was very different, thus it really shook me up as I actually saw him leave everyone and everything behind and go all by himself.

After this we came back we recited Sohila Sahib and did Aardas. The next this I noticed was that most of the people at the funeral were people with white hair, I wonder what must be going through their minds at this point of time. Not along ago some one told me – going to a funeral is basically checking out the path that we are soon going to be walking on!

After Aardas we came back to the Gurudawara Sahib where the Alhaniya were recited. In the Alhaniya guru sahib basically tells us. Don’t cry over the person who has passed way, its of no use, let us sing the praises of the lord whose house we all have to go to someday.

I wanted to take a picture of the body in the casket moving on but my praji told me not to.

I Just wanted to share this experience with the rest of you..that all of us WILL walk alone.. so all you liverpool supporters…hahaha!!

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh

 

Hukam and Free Will

April 19, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Sorry for the lack of posts in the recents months. I have not really been reading very much as a result of which I did not have much to share.

Over the last 5 weeks I have been attending the Understanding Jap ji Sahib course which Amardeep ji is conducting. The first four weeks were dedicated to understanding some basic concepts of Gurbani so that we will be better able to appreciate Jap ji Sahib. I shall share these concepts in the next few weeks.

As the title mentions, I plan to talk about Hukam and Free Will. Often we get confused as to what is Hukam of God or the Will of God and what is Free Will. In this post I intend to share with you about these concepts.

Hukam/ Will of God

Any law of nature is Hukam. For example Newton’s Law of Gravitation or Newton’s 1st Law of Motion.

Before I go on, I must state that gurbani does not talk to our physical body, it talks to our invisible body or “Sooksham Sareer”. The ” Sooksham Sareer” is made up of three things. Mun (mind), Budhi (Intelligence) and Aahankar (Ego).

It is the ” Sooksham Sareer” that leads us to make decision, carry out actions etc. The three aspects of the “Sooksham Sareer” act as per the law of nature or Hukam . Some of you may wonder how does Aahankar or Mind always act under the will of god. In order to say whether some thing acts as per the law of nature or not we need to know what that law is.

Mun ( mind) – role assigned is the path of least resistance.

The mun will tell you koi na one more burfee wont mean any harm. or like my mun tells me…go back to sleep!

Budhi ( Intelligence ) – role assigned to do the right thing !

It is the Budhi that must take control of the situation and say no more burfee or no more sleep get up do path.

Aahankar ( Ego) – role assigned , cloud the budhi

Ego will make you feel all big and proud and cloud yr intelligence and tell you, ” I am invincible and you go to an exam without much prep.”

As you can already tell the Mun and the Aahankar work hand in hand to ensure you don’t always do the right thing. That too is Hukam!

Free will also lies under the domain of Hukam, the law it follows is that you have the choice to do what you wish to do.

Having established that Free Will lies under the domain of Hukam, we cant say, ” Oh if god wants me to be good I will be good , etc”. We ought to do out best, putting our budhi to the right use and fight against the mind and ahankar. Doing so we must be able to leave the result to God, that is not in our control unlike our actions ( via our budhi).

That is all I have to share from my notes. Amardeep Ji if there is anything you would like to correct or add please let me know.

Guru Ang Sang Hove

Angad

One of a kind

April 18, 2007

 One of a kind, originally uploaded by Angad Singh.

 

These shoes are made specially Fauja Singh ji by Adidas. I got this picture from Kuljeet Singh’s face book who had the honor to run with Bhai Sahib ji.


 

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Some of us are not aware that the entire paath of the Dasam Granth Sahib ji has been recorded and put online for us to download and listen. The format is exactly how it was done for the Guru Granth Sahib ji

In addition, GurmatVeechar.com has uploaded a new folder of Kirtan done by Dharam Singh Ji Zakhmi. These are recordings from Kenya. Its about 4gb + in all. I have listen to 1 or 2 files and its total bliss. Click here to download.

Next post will be sometime after the 4th of April, I intend to write on Hukam and Free Will =).

Guru Rakaha

Angad

Baddal’s at it AGAIN!

March 28, 2007

Theif Minister…oops I mean Chief Minister of punjab is upto his anti panthi activites…click here to read on..

Sorry I have not been posting much. I haven’t had much time. The term is going by very fast. Amardeep Ji is holding a 6 month long Japji Course which I am attending I will post some summaries from his lectures and his slides (after I ask him). There are no recordings being done as he is not comfortable with that.

Have a blessed week ahead!

Guru Rakaha

Angad

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

An article on Sikhs and the positive effects of the internet written by Neha Singh Gohil for The Columbia Journalist. Neha had written to me sometime ago with regards to the turban tying video.

Click to read the article

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad Singh

Lohrindhra Saajan Mera

March 18, 2007

Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

jYqsrI mhlw 5 ]


loVIdVw swjnu myrw ]
Gir Gir mMgl gwvhu nIky Git Git iqsih bsyrw ]1] rhwau ]


sUiK ArwDnu dUiK ArwDnu ibsrY n kwhU byrw ]
nwmu jpq koit sUr aujwrw ibnsY Brmu AMDyrw ]1]


Qwin Qnµqir sBnI jweI jo dIsY so qyrw ]
sMqsMig pwvY jo nwnk iqsu bhuir n hoeI hY Pyrw ]2]3]4]

Guru Sahib tells us in the Rahao line that God resides everywhere..he says I go looking for him all the time and I find god everywhere.

In the 1st Antra he says that remembering god our fears and doubts are dispelled.

The the 2nd antra reiterates the point that god is omnipresent and everything is his creation.Guru Sahib concludes the shabad by saying when we realize this will we gain enlightenment, this happens when we are in the saadh sangat.

Click here to download the shabad.

Ps I do not know who sung this shabad. If anyone has information on that please let me know.

Have a blessed week ahead

Rab Rakaha

Angad Singh

Mun Jaapo Ram Gopaal

March 13, 2007

In this video bhai sahib ji sings a partaal from raag kannra- Mun Jaap Ram Gopaal.

I would like you to take note of how bhai sahib ji first recites the shabad before singing it. He does before reciting any old composition. I wonder if this was how it was done in the past.

The thing I want to point out is that the taals used in this reet are chaar taal and ek taal. Listen closely you will able to understand the difference in the two taals in terms of tempo and flow. Also watch bhai swaran singh ji play the pakahwaj char taal bols!

Guru Rakaha

Angad

ps the shabad ends at 8min 40 secs you can stop the video there!

So true

February 23, 2007

!!!, originally uploaded by kaurflicks.

Those of us who tie turbans will totally relate to this!

Not very often for me but the day I have a bad turban day that day turns out to be very messy!

Guru Rakaha

Angad

Bhai Avtar Singh ji in 1987

February 23, 2007

in this video he is singing along with his brother Bhai Gurcharan Singh ji and Bhai Swaran Singh ji is playing the jori as always!

Mid Term Recess!

February 17, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Today is the start of mid term recess. This means half the term has whizzed pass! The second half of the term will be even busy as I will have numerous projects and tests coming up so next half will go by at a faster pace.

Fortunately for me this term break coincides with the Chinese New year so we do not have any school related work to do for at least the next 4 or 5 days!! =) That gives me enough time to put together all the necessary documents need to in order apply for internships.

Yesterday I went to the Gurudawara Sahib and I picked up a lot of old copies of the Sikh Review. I intend to read them over this coming week. I will share any interesting articles I come across. Also I bought the book on Gurbani Vyakran by Prof Sahib Singh ji.

Also at present I am reading the book “Aad Beer Baare” – About the compilation of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji by Prof Sahib Singh ji. I am more than half way through the book. I totally love the way he has written and challenged numerous sources on the lack of logical reasoning( in context of the teachings of Guru Sahib) in determining how the Guru Granth Sahib ji was compiled.

The shabad I have been listening to off late is ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਉਨੁ ਸਹਾਈ ਮਨ ਕਾ.This shabad is written by Bhagat Kabeer Ji. In this shabad Kabeer ji says what is the point on relying on a mortal when they will be gone tomorrow. He adds that our mind is like a bird and likes to wander around and in order to harness it one needs to be in the saad sangat. Prof Sahib Singh ji has explaied this shabad in greater detail.

ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਕਉਨੁ ਸਹਾਈ ਮਨ ਕਾ sung by Narinder Singh Banarasi

Enjoy your weekend!

Guru Rakaha

Angad

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I was browsing SikhSangat.Org when I came across this article. Its really heartwarming to know that Sikhs having studied overseas are going back to Punjab and are doing their bit.

Please read the article on Emaan Singh Maan

(link been corrected)

I hope he lives up to his ideals. Its great he is speaking up against drugs, alchol and female infanticide.

Guru Ang Sang!
Angad

Kaisee Aartee Hove

February 6, 2007

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Over the past few weeks I have been listening to the shabad Kaisee Aartee Hove . This shabad is present in Sohila Sahib we recite each night (early morning for some!)before sleeping.

DnwsrI mhlw 1 AwrqI

<> siqgur pRswid ]


ggn mY Qwlu riv cMdu dIpk bny qwirkw mMfl jnk moqI ]
DUpu mlAwnlo pvxu cvro kry sgl bnrwie PUlµq joqI ]1]


kYsI AwrqI hoie Bv KMfnw qyrI AwrqI ]
Anhqw sbd vwjMq ByrI ]1] rhwau ]


shs qv nYn nn nYn hY qoih kau shs mUriq nnw eyk qohI ]
shs pd ibml nn eyk pd gMD ibnu shs qv gMD iev clq mohI ]2]


sB mih joiq joiq hY soie ]
iqs kY cwnix sB mih cwnxu hoie ]
gur swKI joiq prgtu hoie ]
jo iqsu BwvY su AwrqI hoie ]3]


hir crx kml mkrMd loiBq mno Anidno moih AwhI ipAwsw ]
ik®pw jlu dyih nwnk swirMg kau hoie jw qy qyrY nwim vwsw ]4]1]7]9]

In this shabad Guru Nanak Dev ji very beautifully describes the nirgun(form less) roop of waheguru.  From the 1st to the 3rd stanza, he is using various examples to describe the nirgun roop.

Also in the 3rd stanza, in which he distorts the poetrical symmetry he says, the true aarti is doing what pleases waheguru, not the physical thaal and deeva. Finally in the last stanza guru sahib finishes by pleading to waheguru to keep him attached to his feet forever.

I believe,  the underlying message  in the shabad is that we the true aarti, the true worship of waheguru is living the path  and living that path is only possible with the guidance of guru sahib.

Aartee, Kaisee Aartee Hove!

Guru Ang Sang!

Angad


Inspirational!

January 25, 2007

Difficult..Really?, originally uploaded by Angad Singh.

Each time I see this photograph, it inspires me to go on doing reaaz. This was taken at one of the numerous music camps the Raj Academy organizes each year all over the world.