Sacred Music

sacred music

The Yoga of Singing

To sing of the praises and wonders of the unfathomable, infinite, omni-present, all-pervading, unspeakable Divine in inspired devotional poetry has been, since long, one of the most powerful and beautiful ways of expression and exercise of union with the Beloved. In the teachings of Guru Nanak and his lineage, a musical heritage of this practice has been developed in highest perfection and sophistication.

However, in the wake of colonialisation and due to political and cultural pressures during the last century, much of the original wisdom of this art has been neglected and forgotten. Only a small number of dedicated devotees and musicians have preserved and continued this legacy.

Gurmat Sangeet Gurbani Keertan

There are some websites which share collections of recordings of traditionally executed Divine poetry music of this style, the Gurmat Sangeet Gurbani Keertan. The special thing about it is that some of these compositions are very old, some are “original” in the sense that they were composed by the Sikh Gurus themselves or their musicians during the 16th and 17th century together with the lyrics at the time of their conception.

In contrast to Western music, this music was never noted on paper, but only transmitted orally from teacher to student. In many Indian music schools this way of learning is still encouraged today. However, the music played in today’s Sikh temples is mostly composed in light tunes, sometimes according to Bollywood film tunes or easy listening, and in this sense less original, less effective in its spiritual purpose and musically less challenging and interesting.

Listen to some examples and browse for more below:

Bhai Avtar Singh sings Guru Arjan’s shabad “Meharvaan Sahib Meharvaan”
Find an English translation of this hymn

Bhai Kultar Singh Jatha plays Raag Bhairau, “Apne Sevak Ko Kabhu Na Bisaaro”
Find an English translation of this hymn

Bhai Dharam Singh Zakhmi Jatha plays Dasam Bani: Svaye, panna 12
Find an English translation of this hymn

sacred music

Find More Music of this Kind:

Gurmat Sangeet Collection – Rare and priceless recordings of traditional Gurmat Sangeet Kirtan:

The Gurmat Sangeet Project – Dedicated to the Preservation & Propagation of Gurmat Sangeet:

Kirtan Sewa on Soundcloud:

Nirbaan Kirtan: Bhai Joginder & Mohinder Singh Hazoor Sahib:

Rare Recordings: Raagis & Rababis from 78rpm Records:

Asa Di Vaar & Arti:

Asa Di Vaar Raagi Balwant Singh 2013:

Asa Ki Var Bhai Dharam Singh Zakhmi 1957:

Baba Siri Chand Ji’s Aarta at Gobind Sadan by Bhagat Ji:

sacred music

Classical Indian (and other) Music Websites:

Darbar Arts Culture & Heritage Trust:

Asian Music Circuit:

South Asian Arts UK:

Sri Bhaini Sahib Youtube Channel:

The Mardana Project:


Music Archive by Rajan Parrikar:

North Indian Classical Music Archive – Sarangi:

Raagmala at the Met, New York:

Ensemble Hesperi – Scottish Baroque and other innovative Early Music:

Find Choral Evensong Services:

More Favourites on Youtube:

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan:
Ali Ali Maula Ali Ali Haq
Sochta Hoon Ke Woh Kitne Masoom
Sansoon Ki Mala

Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad: Kangna (Coke Studio Pakistan)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Voodoo Child (Live In Maui 1970)

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