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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update:
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.

update:
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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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.

Practicality
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.

Harmoniums
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. So the harmonium should b played softly, almost like a drone to help fill out the lower sounds.

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.
Also
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.

Gurmit Singh Shaant with Ustadji Maiya Singh

Kirtan Program at my place in Bangkok, Thailand
15 Jan 2009


Bhai Sahib Gurmit Singh Shaant
Ustadji Maiya Singh on Esraj
Bhai Manjit Singh on tabla – he’s using the big tabla that sounds like a Phakavaj, but a regular Duggi.

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in 3 raags and 3 different Taals: Panj Taal 15bt, Ik Taal 12bt, and Tin Taal 16bt.
Shabad + Meaning: Basant Chariya Phooli Banraie.

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I think it’s Raag Bihagra. Roopak 7bt.
Shabad + Meaning: Ratte Ishq Khudaaie Rang Didaar Ke

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Raag Tilang. Tintaal 16bt.
Shabad + Meaning: Meera Daana Dil Soch

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Thumri . Sounds like it’s based on Raag Patdeep – but he uses every note and every combination of notes possible. Too good!
Shabad + Meaning: Har Bin Bail Birani Huihai

Guldasta

Update:

Audio Recorded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – for the 300 Saal Guru De Naal program. Shabad: Tu Thakur Tum Pai Ardaas

Didi (*is a casual title given to females you consider your sister) Arungeet Kaur is singing. We were blessed to have Sahib Singh, KL Malaysia Wale, on tabla. Several people told me he’s the best Tabalchi among Sikhs in Malaysia – I believe them. He didn’t do much fancy stuff in this recording as we had just met. He did a lot more in the following days after we requested he go all-out.

I’m using my friend Bakshish’s Esraj. It’s a RajMusicals teak wood Esraj.. smaller size than mine.  I had to borrow it becuase mine came with a cardboard box, and he has a proper hard case. I didnt want to risk taking mine on the plane.

Imagine, he LET me borrow it. Bro, if you read this, know that I’m very grateful, really.

As usual, kindly pardon my mistakes.

Ok here’s the file already: [download#19]
SAVE AS to your computer please – do not let it stream off this site.

Practice for an upcoming program.

I just learned this Guldasta from Aruna Didi (Arungeet Kaur).

Guldasta = a Raag Mala = More than 1 Raag is used in the composition.  It’s not like “Mishr” though, because you are not bending the rules of the Raag.

In this particular composition, every line is set to a different Raag.  Anyone care to guess + list which ones are used ?

I’ve got a lot more practice to do – I keep missing notes. It’s very confusing and it’s in a different scale from the one I’m accustomed to using.

Practice Session with Arungeet Kaur

Practice session for an upcoming program. – These files are actually just for me to learn the compositions.
I was told that I am not allowed to share these – but replied with a ” sorry Didi, not possible – I’m putting these up. ” So here they are.

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[download#13] (ends abruptly just before Didi’s son is about to make a very loud exclamation as he suddenly enters the room)

please SAVE AS to your computer and not let it download-on-the-fly (stream) as you listen each time. And please do not upload these files at any of the major Kirtan sharing websites. Why? Too casual / Practice session.

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Jam Session with Baba Wadbhag Singh Nihang

Awesome Jam Session in Malaysia

Wadbhag Singh Ji singing
In some tracks- Hargopal Singh Ji is on Tabla, in others , I am.
Kindly forgive my tabla playing – “tripped” too many times.

Also Please pardon any mistakes and “commentary” – It was an extremely casual practice session which just happened to be recorded. It was not intended as a proper recording as such.
The audio has not been edited.

Please only Right click and choose “SAVE AS” to save to your computer.
Do not let it stream from this site.

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I have 3-4 more files. Will upload soon.

** Do not re-post these files on any other Kirtan-sharing websites –
why? they
1) are private
2) too casual
3) and full of mistakes **

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More of Bhai Gurmit Singh Shant

Recorded at my place , 16th Jan 2008.

I requested him to sing only “Vadde Taal”
He actually told me the names of the Taals later on, but I didn’t write them down and therefore forgot them. If he visits your city – ask him – and let me know ?

Raag Basant – 15 beat .. Meanings: Basant Chariya Phooli Banraee

Raag Dhanasri – 18 beat .. Meanings: Har Charan Sharan Gobind Dukh Bhanjana
Right Click and choose SAVE AS to download the files !

***

Raag Kaliyaan – 9 beat + Raag Bihagra – Roopak .. Meanings: Nain Mahinje Taras De Pasee Didaar & Ratte Ishq Khudaae Rang Didaar Ke

Malkauns 12 Beat ..

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Raag Maajh

Jamming with Satnam Singh in Singapore

Raag Maajh Alaap

then Changed Seating Arrangements .

Raag Maajh Shabad

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Traditional Sikh Kirtan – Puratan Reet

If you’re a Kirtan-lover or even if you’re generally intersted in music – check the following link:

Jap Man Narhare Narhar Swami – Raag Shudh Sarang

This is Puratan Reet Kirtan (Translation for those not familiar with Sikhi: Old School “Sikh Music“)
The chorus is first sung in a 15 beat cycle – yep, no type-o: 15 beats.
And then they switch to a fast 12 beat cycle for the verses.

Switching rythmic cycles is an old Sikh tradition started by Our 4th Guru , Sri Guru Ram Das Ji.

This composition is about 350-400 years old.

.
.

I dont know about you, but every time I hear it, I get chills (in a good way).
On top of that, If you are in to spirituality/Sikhi etc and understand the meaning – it just takes you to another level.

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