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Gurmat Sangeet Darbar E Basant
Milford Gurdwara Sahib, March 8 2008

Bhai Sajjan Singh Ji

The tradition of Gurmat Sangeet has been evolving from the times of the Gurus to the present. Historically this has largely been an oral tradition, which has been handed from generation to generation often from father to son in families that have been associated with Gurmat Sangeet since the times of the Gurus. The absence of a written tradition and the lack of a consistent framework for the documentation and preservation of Gurmat Sangeet has had a devastating effect, as this centuries-old system for the transmission of the tradition has broken down under the pressures of the modern world.

Fortunately, at the turn of the century, a system for musical notation invented by Pandit Vishnu Narain Bhatkhande was adopted for use by S. Gian Singh Abbotabad, who under the auspices of the SGPC, produced two volumes titled Gurbani Sangeet in 1961. These volumes represented the first notable effort to document centuries old compositions that define Gurmat Sangeet and preserve them for posterity. This work was followed by other notable works by Bhai Avtar Singh and Bhai Gurcharan Singh as well as Gyani Dyal Singh of the Rakab Ganj Kirtan Vidyalay.

Despite these excellent efforts, Gurmat Sangeet suffered the onslaught of ‘modernization’, driven largely by the lure of popularity and financial gain, particularly in the last four decades. Ragis increasingly switched to popular tunes which required less effort and could be plagiarized from readily available sources such as film music, discovering that pandering to popular taste was often the shortest path to popularity and riches. The problem was exacerbated by the ready availability of very cheap mass marketed recordings, which further strengthened the grip of the banal form of Kirtan to the detriment of the Gurmat Sangeet tradition.

In recent times, particularly in the Sikh Diaspora, we have been fortunate to witness a reanissance of sorts, where young Sikhs in particular are beginning to show interest in understanding and preserving the traditions of Gurmat Sangeet.

This humble effort is dedicated to the preservation and propogation of traditional Gurmat Sangeet. The intent is to honor and recognize Kirtaniyas who have dedicated their lives to the preservation of the tradition. Another goal is to encourage young Kirtaniyas who have attempted to preserve the tradition and to present them to the Sangat at large, in the process, creating archival material that is truly reflective of the rich traditions of Gurmat Sangeet.

The 2008 Gurmat Sangeet Darbar E Basant was held at the Milford Gurdwara Sahib, in the Boston area on March 8, 2008. This page contains recordings and pictures from the Darbar.

Maha Maha mumarkhi chadiya sadaa basant Bhai Sajjan Singh Ji Basant
Is man ko basant ki laggai na soe Bhai Sawinder Singh Shuddh Basant
Tu kahe garbe bawali Bhai Sawinder Singh Basant Hindol
Tera dasan dasaa kaho rae Bhai Sawinder Singh Basant (Purvi)
Magh batit bhaye rut phagun Shraddha Agrawal Kafi
Maha maha mumarkhi chadiya sadaa basant Shraddha Agrawal Basant, Marwa Ang
Rut aile saras basant mahe Shraddha Agrawal Basant Purvi Ang
Pita parbrahm prabh dhani Bhai Gupal Singh Basant Hindol
Sabh madhmate kou na jaag Bhai Gupal Singh Bahar
Tin basant jo har gun gaye Bhai Sawinder Singh Basant (Purvi)
Swami pandita tum deho mati Bhai Amritpal Singh Basant Hindol
Mouli dharti mouliya akash Hardip Singh, Jasmeet Singh Basant
Holi kini sant sev Hardip Singh, Jasmeet Singh Kafi
Man kahaan bisaryo raam naam Amrit Kaur, Mehr Kaur Basant (Marwa)
Magh batit bhaye rut phagun Simran Kaur, Jasmine Kaur Kafi
Papi hiye me kaam basae Simranjit Singh, Vijayant Singh Basant (Purvi)
Sansar samunde taar gobinde Avneet Kaur, Baljot Jaur Basant Hindol
Maha maha mumarkhi chadiya sadaa basant Jaspreet Singh, Amandeep Singh Basant (Marwa)
Jin prem kiyo tin hi prabh payo Gurtaj Singh, Deepinder Singh Hindol
Har har simro sant gopala Simran Kaur Yaman Kalyan

Hardip Singh Chana, Bhai Amritpal Singh, Bhai Sawinder Singh, Shamsher Singh

Bhai Sawinder SIngh is a fine younr Ragi from the Washington DC area.

Shraddha Agrawal

Shraddha Agrawal is a classical vocalist, originally from Bombay. For the last three years, she has been studying with Ms. Kumkum Sanyal, a prominent Boston area teacher. She has performed at many venues in the Boston area. Shraddha is also a fine harmonium player and has accompanied several artistes in Boston area concerts. Shraddha put in a lot of effort into teaching herself traditional Gurmat Sangeet compositions to present to the Sangat during this program.

Shradddha began by singing ‘Magh Batit Bhaye Rut Phagun’ in Raag Kafi. This is an ancient Gurmat Sangeet composition set to slow Dipchandi, a cycle of 14 beats. This composition can be found in Volume 1 of Gyani Dyal Singh Ji’s Gurmat Sangeet Sagar.

The second shabad that Shraddha sang was 'Maha Maha Mumarkhi Chadiya Sadaa Basant' in Raga Basant (Marwa Ang) by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.. This too is an ancient melody set to Iktaal. While a version of this composition can be found in Gurbani Sangeet By Gian Singh Ji Abbotabad, the version Sharaddha sang is faithful to the Rababi tradition of Gurmat Sangeet. This composition was obtained from Bibi Jaswant Kaur Ji, a long time student of Bhai Taba Ji and one of the last surviving.links to the Rababi Tradition.

The third shabad is also a traditional composition that was sung by many old school Ragis such as Bhai Sahib Samund Singh Ji. The shabad 'Rut Aile Saras Basant Mahe' was sung in the Purvi flavor of Raga BAsant in Tintaal.

Bhai Gupal Singh


Bhai Gupal Singh is the Huzoori Ragi at the Milford Gurdwara Sahib.. Bhai Gupal Singh is a senior student of Gyani Dyal Singh Ji's and has also studied Gurmat Sangeet at Rakab Ganj.

Amritpal Singh, Hardip Chana & Jasmeet Chana

Mehr Kaur, Amrit Kaur, Jaspreet Singh

The Gurmat Sangeet Project, from its humble beginnings in the Boston Area in 2002 has developed into one of the premier organizations dedicated to the preservation and propagation of Gurmat Sangeet in the Panth today. It has a huge repository of Gurmat Sangeet renditions, all recorded in the presece of the Guru Granth Sahib and all available freely for download. It also has extensive teaching materials for the study of Gurmat Sangeet. Lovers of Gurmat Sangeet from all over the world have been generously contributing recordings to constsantly enhance its collection. The Gurmnat Sngeet Project Jatha, through its decidcation towards learning and preserving the Guru's musical tradition, is the embodiment of the organization's aspirations.