Bhai Baldeep Singh —Gurbāni Pade

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Bhai Baldeep Singh is the ‘Renaissance Man’ of Punjab, India. He has compassionately dreamt & zealously worked towards a radical reclamation & transformation of the cultural landscape of South Asia. Descending from a long lineage of masters of Gurbāni Sangīt, warriors & social reformers, he has rendered the vintage etiquettes of Gurbani Kirtan with utmost ease & perfection. By personally intervening with the wisdom & profundity of a magical luthier, he has revived extinct musical instruments. Besides setting up a conservatory at Sultanpur Lodi, he has developed a comprehensive educative process & is recognised as one of the finest teachers.

Bhai Baldeep Singh is also heads the Sultanpur Lodhi-Amritsari Bāj, which is the oldest surviving system of percussion in South Asia. He is also a pioneering luthier having revived several extinct musical instruments such as the taus (mayuri veena), dhrupadi rabab, saranda and jori/pakhawaj by personally handcrafting them under the guidance of Gyani Harbhajan Singh (1920-2005) who last built them until 1949.

Since 1991, he has emerged as a great Gursikh protagonist and mentor, inspiring people, research scholars and musicologists the world over many of whom have become custodians of priceless heritage endowed by the Gurus. Bhai Baldeep Singh has been associated with various committees, boards, academies and advisory councils. Unarguably the most respected pedagogue of his era, he has recovered the original practices of Nāda Yoga and the indigenous educative processes that produced master aestheticians over the centuries. His concerts, workshops and seminars became significant markers in a number of ways insofar as mutualism of Gurbani with rāga-nāda-laya-ved is concerned. Several of his articles, poems and papers have been published in renowned academic journals. He has won many awards and honours for his contribution to Gurbani Sangeet and Indian Classical Music and has been a role-model for the young and elderly alike. An ace audio-restorer, he has to his credit more than 1000 hours of recording of Indian classical and Gurbani Sangeet compositions. He donates his spare time to restore old recordings in his studio, which is among the world’s finest audio-restoration suites.

The concluding performance, sung by Bhai Baldeep Singh, brought protagonists from the across the world —Europe, Americas, Bihar and Punjab. One of India’s top Sarangi exponents, Patna resident, Ustad Roshan Ali, played along. After the performance he remarked that the rāga-alāpa of Bhai Baldeep Singh reminded him of the maestros from an age ago. Ashutosh Upadhaya, the son of the late legendary Pakhāwaj player Pandit Panna Lal Upadhyay of Bihar’s Gaya tradition, played the pakhāwaj. It may be important to note that Ashutosh is the Sahāyak Achārya, Baba Maiyya Singh Faculty of Percussion, Anād Conservatory now residing at, and teaches, Pakhāwaj at Sultanpur Lodhi, Punjab.

Dr. Francesca Cassio, Nirvair Kaur Khalsa, SS Harbhajan Kaur Khalsa, SS Siri Sevak Kaur Khalsa —all students of Bhai Baldeep Singh, sang the unique repertoire of Gurbani Sangeet along. Bhai Baldeep’s Pakhāwaj student, Parminder Singh Bhamra played some vintage percussion compositions unique to Darbar Sahib, Amritsar.