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Rohanpreet Singh’s Kirtan Program

Rohanpreet Singh was on holiday in Bangkok last week.
I got to accompany him on Esraj for his Kirtan program.

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You don’t really get an idea of how good his voice is because of the distorted sound in the recordings. The speakers in the Darbar Hall were too loud, and my recorder is too sensitive.
I’ve uploaded one file from the practice session as well so you get a clearer idea of how well he sings. Please note that it’s a very informal session that just happened to be recorded. Bhulla Chuka and Interruptions Di Maaf Karna
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Right click the links and choose “SAVE AS” to download to your computer.

I wish God blesses him with fantastic success in his music career, and I hope he continues to happily do Kirtan Seva like he does now.

Bhai Gurmit Singh Shant – In Bangkok 2010

I got the chance to accompany Bhai Gurmeet Singh Shant during his visit to Bangkok.

to download – Right click the link(s) below and choose the option to ‘SAVE AS’

File 1: 2 Shabads.
#1 Semi-Light Raag – I don’t know what it’s called.
#2 Raag Malhar
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File 2: Raag Asa
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2 more files from 22nd August 2010
There are Shabads in Raag Bilaval, Raag Vadhans, and more.
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I could barely keep up with him – but really enjoyed the attempt. Bhai Sahib sang beautifully.

New Recording from 29 August 2010. Raag Bilaval , Raag Soohi.
Bhai Sahib used a Surmandal instead of his vaja – the overall effect is much nicer if you compare it with the previous recordings.
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Learning Raags #1 – Yaman

As music enthusiasts, we are very lucky that we live in an age where we have access to so many performances by great musical masters on the Internet.
Youtube is an amazing resource if you know how to learn from it.

Lets learn Raag Yaman / Raag Kalyan by lisening to some recordings, keeping our ears tuned, and picking out patterns.

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Gurmat Sangeet guidance

Someone asked me for guidance on learning to play Gurmat Sangeet on Esraj or Dilruba.
I am no scholar or historian. My ‘proper’ knowledge on the subject is limited.
I can only share my listening preferences with you by telling you what sounds good to me.
If you like the ideas, feel free to use them.

As far as I’m aware , the Esraj is not directly linked to Sikh history.
It could be called a sitar-saranda hybrid, or a dilruba-saranda hybrid. I couldn’t tell you because I don’t know what came first.
I like it because my Esraj is easier to play than my Dilruba. I get better sound from it. That’s it.

Being able to create a nice meditative atmosphere during Kirtan is slightly more important to me than the historical authenticity of the instruments being played. Unless the particular event is a historical showcase.

Ideally – the instruments played in a program should be historically authentic in terms of their link to Sikh history and played well. But If I have to choose one over the other, I would choose a non authentic instrument that is played well.
The Bani and your state of mind matter most.

The harmonium will slow down your progress as a singer if you get too attached to using it.

As far as I’m aware it has no real place in Sikh History either. It is a european invention that came to India not too long ago.

I like harmoniums that have a heavy bass type sound. They’re nice as support to fill out the lower frequencies.
Ideally, the volume on harmoniums should be low, almost like a drone that occasionally supports the melody.

Some Ragi Jathas get too excited with their harmoniums and play too loud, all the time.
They have to be sure to project their voice even louder than their harmonium. If they can’t, then their voices get drowned out. Either way, it gets annoying quite quickly.

Take Turns
Instrumentalists and vocalist should take turns, as if the session is a duet so the Sangat can get involved and sing along.
To the audience/Sangat – everything becomes a monotonous drone if it’s repeated the same way too many times.
My dad pointed this out to me – and asked me to listen to different recordings to confirm whether it makes sense or not – I did ; it does.
Variety is a good thing. It keeps people’s attention.
Take breaks, take turns.

Alaaps & Filler Tunes
I think these are great.
If it’s a Kirtan session, I prefer that the vocalist does Parmaans instead of alaaps. I hope I have the correct word. It’s where they recite a few lines from different Shabads that address the same topic as the one they’re singing.
Long “AaaaaaAAAaaaaAAAAAAaaaAaa” type alaaps are distracting, unless it’s a purely musical event. Short ones are ok.
Parmaans are so much better because you get the same contemplative type mood as an alaap, but you have the infinite Substance of Gurbani to back it up.

This is just my Opinon, so there’s no right or wrong here. You’re very welcome to have a different viewpoint.


I like this tune – It’s GREAT practice for learning how to use different instances of a Sur in the same composition.
It’s TOUGH ( for me anyway ) – forces me to try and stay sharp … which . as you can see I’m not quite there yet.

I also tried converting it from it’s original fast 4 beat/8 beat rhythm into a relaxed 14 beat cycle .

All in good fun. Hope you like it.

Counting Beats, Taals, Tihais, Chakkardars

From my experience, many people get impatient with themselves when they listen to Indian Classical Music because they don’t understand what’s going on.
It’s actually very easy to understand if you ask the right people.
Even if you have NO clue about the technicalities of what Raag is being played, I think you can thoroughly enjoy a performance if you can follow the beat.
I know that’s how I started.

This workshop is for you if you

  • * want to understand how Taals work in the Indian system of music
  • * as a listener, want to be able to count the beats so you know what’s going on – you’ll enjoy all the Indian Classical Music concerts you attend from now on because you can follow the beat. You’ll appreciate the millions of Indian Classical Music videos on Youtube much much more.
  • * easily learn to count the more complex cycles – like Vilambit (VERY slow) ektaal… and beats with fractions like “10 3/4 (10.75) beats” —– apply the same concepts when you listen to any other Vilambit taal or other cycles with 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 fractions.
  • * Learn how Tihais and Chakkardaars work so you can enjoy them more
  • * and Finally: learn a very simple system for creating even the most complex Tihais

Everything in this workshop will be explained it to you in a way that’s straightforward, practical, and simplified as much as it can be.

This lesson is available for purchase but you need to login or register first.
Cost: 18USD . You will have access to the content for 150 days.

We think 150 days is plenty of time for you to Really 'get' the lessons in this particular workshop. It will be our responsibility to make sure you get answers to your questions + feedback within the given time limit.