Gyani Dyal Singh Ji
Gyaniji singing at the New Years Program at the Millis Gurdwara Sahib on January 31, 2005
Gyani Dyal Singh is one of the leading figures in the world of Gurmat Sangeet today. He has served as the Principal of the Gurmat Vidyalay at Rakab Ganj in Delhi since 1967. Gyani Dyal Singh was born in the village of Badla Singha in the district of Meerut. In 1946 he came to the Rakab Ganj Gurmat Vidyalay to study Kirtan, Tabla, Sarinda and Dilruba under the tutelage of Gyani Hardit Singh Ji. Gyani Ji spent five years at the Vidyalay as a student. In 1952 he joined the jatha of Bhai Samund Singh, one of the most accomplished Ragis of the century, as his accompanist on the Dilruba. On the recommendation of Bhai Santa Singh Kanwal, he ehtered the service of Bhai Gian Singh Ji, Abbotabad, who was working on his seminal work, Gurbani Sangeet. Gyani Dyal Singh Ji was given the task of annotating ancient shabad reets (compositions) so that they could be documented in Gian Singh Ji's work. From 1959 to 1964 he served at Sri Harmandir Sahib, playing the Dilruba during Asa Di Var recitals as well as in the Sodar Chauki in the evening. In 1965 he worked again with Gian Singh Ji to provide additional input on Raga Theory, Alaaps etc. for Gian Singh Ji's work - Gurbani Sangeet. In 1967, when Gyani Hardit Singh Ji passed away, the task of running the Gurmat Vidyalay passed to Gyani Dyal Singh Ji with the unanimous support of the leading Ragis and scholars who had gathered to bid farewell to Gyani Hardit Singh Ji. Gyani Dyal Singh has served the Vidyalay and the Sikh Panth with exemplary dedication, often at a great cost to his health and well being. The Vidyalay has produced and continues to produce dedicated and talented Ragis who have kept the traditions of Gurmat Sangeet alive. Prominent among his students are Bhai Surjit Singh (Long Island), Bhai Kanwarpal Singh, Bhai Parkash Singh (New Jersey), Bhai Gupal Singh (Boston) and several others. Gyani Ji has also authored four volumes titled Gurmat Sangeet Sagar, which are a veritable treasure trove of compositions in several Ragas. The compositions include ancient shabad reets that have been passed down through generations, Partals, Dhrupads and Guldastas. Gyani Ji has also authored a book on Table instruction titled Table Mridang Sagar, as well an annotated Asa Di Var, set to multiple Ragas. Gyani Dyal Singh Ji continues to live an extremely austere life and teach at the Gurmat Vidyalay in Delhi. Gyani Ji's contributions to Gurmat Sangeet have played a huge role in inspiring the Gurmat Sangeet Project.
A word on the exclusive recordings featured on this page : these recordings were made more than a decade ago in Delhi in an informal session when Gyani Ji was demonstrating some compositions in morning Ragas. The shabads are not complete as they were recorded more as a teaching aid. As an interesting side note, accompanying Gyani Ji on the Tabla is Bhai Angad Singh Ji of Delhi, a well known Ragi who is popularly known as "Reetan De Badshah'. These are an invaluable asset to students of Gurmat Sangeet as all these compositions are available in Gyani Ji's monumental 4 volume work : Gurmat Sangeet Sagar. I am grateful to Bhai Harbhajan Singh, Gyani Ji's student and excellent Tabla player, who provided me with these recordings.
Complete recordings of some of these shabads will be available on the Recordings page, rendered by Bhai Surjit Singh, Bhai Kanwarpal Singh and Bhai Gupal Singh.
Update (January 2006)
The Boston Area Sangat had the pleasure of of hosting Gyani Dyal Singh Ji for about a week in December 2005 and January 2006. During this visit, several special Kirtan Darbars were organized at the Milford and Millis Gurdwaras. Gyani Ji was accompanied by his senior students, Bhai Kanwarpal Singh and Bhai Amrik Singh (on tabla). In addition Bhai Gupal Singh, another of Gyani Ji's students was present. For a special Kirtan Darbar organized on January 7, Bhai Surjit Singh (Long Island), one of Gyani Ji's seniormost students, was also present.
Recordings form these Kirtan Darbars were recently addded to this web-page. In addition the children from the Gurmat Sangeet Project, Boston Chapter, sang several compositions, either composed or documented by Gyani Ji.
Gyani Ji's presence, as expected, inspired his students greatly; Bhai Kanwarpal Singh, in particular sang with rare grace and beauty in both of these programs. He also had the distinction of supporting Gyani Ji when he sang. Bhai Amrik Singh, as always provided stellar tabla accompaniment. Since Shamsher Singh, who usually playes with the Gurmat Sangeet Project Jatha was away on the 31st, Bhai Amrik Singh very kindly agreed to accompany the children as they sang their Partals and Guldastas on the 31st.
Bhai Kanwarpal Singh and Bhai Amrik Singh were here when we were working on the Partals prior to the 31st. Whenever they heard the children practising, they would spontaneously join the session, providing invaluable advice and guidance on Partal Gayki. In particular they greatly helped the children sing the various parts of the Partal at the right speed, which is a critical component of Partal Gayki.
Update (June 2006)
Gyani Ji had promised that he would return in the summer and true to his word he did ! The MIlford Sangat had the pleasure of listening to Gyani Ji's Kirtan the entire month of June, 2006. The shabads listed here are an important record of traditional Gurat Sangeet. The notations can be found in the four volumes of Gurmat Sangeet Sagar, written by Gyani Ji over the years.
Update (June 2006)
In September we worked with Gyani Dyal Singh Ji and the Jatha of Bhai Kanwarpal SIngh Ji to to record and preserve priceless puratan (ancient) compositions. This is just a sneak preview; many more recordings will be added. Thanks to all who contributed.
Gyani Ji and his students at Millis; December 31 2005
Bhai Kanwarpal Singh and his Jatha at Millis
Bhai Gupal Singh at Millis