Gurmat Sangeet Sammelan

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Photos: Jaswant Singh

By Jasbir Singh

HOUSTON: A three day event was held at the Gurdwara Sahib of SW Houston located on 14811 Lindita Drive, Houston, Texas 77083 from June 19, 20 and 21, 2015. Participants of this event were:

Padamshri Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, Hazoori Raagi of Shri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, India.

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Dr. Gurnam Singh, Professor & Head, Gurmat Sangeet Chair-Department of Gurmat Sangeet , Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab, India. Bibi Ishwanik Kaur, Classical sangeet performer , New Delhi, India and Bhai Bhupinder Singh Paras, Resident Raagi of Gurdwara Sahib of SW Houston.

For the first time in the United States a Gurmat Sangeet Sammelan of this style was organized by the management of Gurdwara Sahib of SW Houston in which all the kirtan was performed and the gurushabads were sung in the raagas as specified in Shri Guru Granth Sahib as per the tradition and Parampara estiablished by the ten Gurus with instrumental and percussion accompaniments. The event was attended in great number by the sikh community from all over Houston and Texas. Tremendous success of the event was reciprocated by the audience for a request to organize such an event again next year which was readily approved by the management. The dates and time of next year event will be decided shortly by the management.

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Gurmat Sangeet or Shabad Kirtan is the singing of hymns or shabads from Guru Granth Sahib, the central text of Sikhism. Traditionally, the shabad should be sung in the Raagas as prescribed in Guru Granth Sahib. It began in the 16th Century as the musical expression of mystical poetry concieved by the founder of sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Following him. all the Sikh Gurus sang in the ten prevalent classical and folk music syles, accompanied by string and percussion instruments. The style was where the text was of prime significance and music played a supporting, albeit important, role. Thirty one main raagas and the same number of variants were named. Several raagas and variants are unique to the Sikh Music. While Hindustani music underwent significant changes in the setting of Mughal Courts, and a separate stream of Carnatic music develped in southern India, Gurmat Sangeet retained its identity encompassing a variety of melodic forms and a well developed percussive system. In the 20th century, the devotional Gurmat Sangeet sung in Dhrupad style was overtaken by Darbari Khayal style. the harmonium took the place of stringed instruments. and tabla replaced the pakhawaj and jori.
Bhai Mardan (1459 – 1534) follower and long time companion of Guru Nanak was the first Sikh Musician. The Sikh musician were later on developed into three types: Rababis, Raagis and Dhadhis.

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For any comments orinformation regarding the event you may contact: Jasbir Singh, Vice-Chairman, Board of Trustees , 832-721-9947or Dr. Tejindra Gill, Secretary, Gurdwara Sahib of Southwest Houston. Email: