Kirtan / Chant

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by greenjuice, Jun 6, 2009.


  1. greenjuice

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    hi
    i'd like to ask you about kirtan styles among Sikhs. i know about the rags, and i've listen some kirtan on youtube, but i want to know something else. i know that the Akj doesn't sing according to the rags, and that the Namdhari use only instruments from the time of Guru Nanak, but are there Sikh that do a capella kirtan?
    i'm interested in vocal religious music in general (like church chanting and islamic anashid), so i just wanted to ask if anyone has heard about something like that in Sikhism..
    mentioning church chant, i would also like to hear your thoughts about the chant as we do it here in Serbia :) clips are 2,3, and 5 minutes

    YouTube - Visoki Decani - Pojanje Decanskih Monaha
    (pardon me God by your great mercy and by the abundance of your grace cleanse our sins, ...)

    YouTube - Kyrie Eleison - Chrch choir Branko (Nis, Serbia)
    (Lord have mercy)

    YouTube - Divna Ljubojevic - Blagosloven jesi Gospode - Blessed be the Lord
    (blessed are you Lord, teach me your commandments)

    this chanting on the clips is slower than Sikh kirtan that i have heard, especialy the Akj kirtan; are there rags similar to this kind of melody, i mean- this slow and calm?
     
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  2. spnadmin

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    greenjuice ji

    This are quite lovely examples of church music from the eastern orthodox rite in Christianity. Please tell me if they are in the Russian Church? Also are they singing in old Slovenian, or in Greek?

    The musical form of kirtan is governed by the raag of the shabad and is clearly defined for each shabad in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In some cases, the "tune" is as well. In Indian classical music, the form of the raag is essentially "protected" or "honored" by centuries of tradition and the raag form is the same or virtually the same whether sung by Hindu or Sikh.

    For example, listen to Raag Malkuns by nonSikh and Sikh raagis.

    YouTube - SHEHNAI(LOKESH ANAND)RAGA MALKUNS

    YouTube - Raag Malkauns by Gurbakash S Balaggan on Sikh Saranda


    Another example, Raag Basaant nonSikh and Sikh ragis

    Raag Basaant Ustaad Rashid Khan

    YouTube - Ustad Rashid Khan - Raag Basant

    Raag Basaant Bhai Rai Singh (sorry no video)

    http://www.gurmatsangeetproject.com/Recordings/RaiSingh/oregon/Basant%20Chadiya.wma

    -------------------------------------

    The shabads of Sri Guru Granth Sahib were designed to be sung to music, and this was actually the fervent wish of the 4th Nanak Sri Guru Ram Das. When not sung yes then they are "chanted" as "jap" or meditational prayer. The intonation, tempo and pronunciation for "jap" are taken seriously, with the Damdami Taksal being a community of scholars founded it is said by Sri Guru Gobind Singh for the puropse of teaching sangats the correct way to "chant" or recite the Shabad Guru.

    This video is from ragkaregakhalsa with an example of the Damdami method of pronunication. Amost musical. Without instruments. The raag is jaitsree. At this link http://www.rajkaregakhalsa.net/jaitsreekeevaar21.htm

    Another occasion when you will hear just interludes of song without instruments -- this is not chanting per se, but actually part of kirtan - as an example, in the Qawaali style of performing, using "call" and "return" and stretches of voice only.

    The style of kirtaan has changed from classical dhrupad with traditional instruments, such as sarangi, to the more modern khayal with harmonium accompaniment in the 19th Century or so. But recently there has been a return to the use of classical instruments and style as spearheaded by Professor Surinder Singh of the Raj Academy of Asian Music, and the Gurmat Sangeet project (for example Ustaad Surgeet Singh).

    There are other members who are truly experts on this subject and they can explain all of this much better than I.


     
  3. greenjuice

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    in the first clip the song is sung in modern serbian, in the second in greek, in the third in church-slavonic, and in all three clips people who sing are members of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

    nice melody in malkuns.. i saw in Mccaulife's book "Sikh Religion" rags writen in western notes, and those lines seemed short; this, what they played on the two clips, is that the whole rag?

    yes, i've heard this kind of reading, i downloaded Japji, it sounded like this; it also sounds much like when Bible is being read in the Orthodox church.

    thanks for the links, great stuff :)

    i would like to know about two more things..

    first, why do a lot of Sikhs don't use traditional instrument, but foreing ones, like austrian harmonium.. and i've noticed that some Sikhs oppose using guitars and other similar modern instruments, yet they don't see anything wrong in using the harmonium...

    and about the gurmantar; i know that when you repeat the gurmantar in your mind, it is called nam simran. i saw some great clips of people doing kirtan of gurmantar, there was one with three Sings singing Vaheguru in a large full gurdwara, which i liked the most, but cannot find it.. anyway, how do call doing kirtan of the gurmantar? nam jap? is doing that often? or is shabad kirtan more important and frequent?
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    greenjuice ji

    Pretty soon the discussion needs to be handed over to experts, soon I will be out of my depth.

    in the first clip the song is sung in modern serbian, in the second in greek, in the third in church-slavonic, and in all three clips people who sing are members of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

    Thank you for the informaton.

    nice melody in malkuns.. i saw in Mccaulife's book "Sikh Religion" rags writen in western notes, and those lines seemed short; this, what they played on the two clips, is that the whole rag?


    The clips were only examples of the raag Malkauns. Played by a Hindu and a Sikh ragi. Malkauns is a raag that seems to be one of the favorites of those who are deeply steeped in knowledge of kirtan. Malkauns is not mentionned in SGGS. But here is a link that tells you where to find the raags that are in the Granth.

    Raga - SikhiWiki, free Sikh encyclopedia.

    yes, i've heard this kind of reading, i downloaded Japji, it sounded like this; it also sounds much like when Bible is being read in the Orthodox church.


    thanks for the links, great stuff :)


    you are welcome.

    i would like to know about two more things..

    first, why do a lot of Sikhs don't use traditional instrument, but foreing ones, like austrian harmonium.. and i've noticed that some Sikhs oppose using guitars and other similar modern instruments, yet they don't see anything wrong in using the harmonium...


    The harmonium began to become popular throughout northern India with Muslim, Sikh and Hindu musicians when Christian missionaries began to enter during the 19th Century. Here is a clip of Nuzrah Ali Khan with harmonium accompaniment YouTube - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Voice From Heaven Part 2

    The prohibition against singing Gurbani kirtan to popular tunes in gurdwara services came with the Rehat Maryada of around 1925 which codified gurdwara services. However in 3HO services guitar is used. The trend away from the classical instruments has a more interesting story, but the resurgence of their use is even more remarkable.

    and about the gurmantar; i know that when you repeat the gurmantar in your mind, it is called nam simran. i saw some great clips of people doing kirtan of gurmantar, there was one with three Sings singing Vaheguru in a large full gurdwara, which i liked the most, but cannot find it.. anyway, how do call doing kirtan of the gurmantar? nam jap? is doing that often? or is shabad kirtan more important and frequent?

    I have never heard the gurmantar sung in Gurdwara. Only chanted. I know there are many many videos and audio downloads of this and the musical version of gurmantar is not exactly kirtan, but then again it is kirtan, and it is very often performed at smagams (kirtan festivals) often by very famous musicians.

    One last thought to leave you with. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj, kirtan is foremost the means to contact the divine naad, or Shabad Guru, the vibration of the Divine. It is a form of meditation, that need not involve actual music or instruments at all. It occurs in consciousness as a form of simran or meditation upon the Divine Name. There is a danger in elevating the performance of kirtan to substitute for the meditation of Shabad Guru. That is why "jap" and musical forms of kirtan are both kirtan in terms of meditation.

    Kirtan Part 2: The Gurbani's Caution

    From the article,

    ਬਿਲਾਵਲੁ ਤਬ ਹੀ ਕੀਜੀਐ ਜਬ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੋਹਣੇ ਜਾ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ ॥ ਰਾਗ ਨਾਦ ਛੋਡਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੀਐ ਚੂਕੈ ਮਨਿ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥੨॥: Bilaaval tab hee keejeeyai jab mukh hovai Raam. Raag naad Shabad sohne jaa laagai sahaj dhyan ....: When the Naam is in your mouth, then sing the Bilaaval (Bilaaval is the name of the Raga. The word "Bilaabal" also means perfect Joy or bliss. accordingly, this verse can also be interpretd as: the perfect bliss can be experienced only if the Lord's Name is in the mouth). The melody and music, and the Shabad are beautiful, only when one naturally focuses his meditation on the celestial Lord. Leave behind the melody and music, instead, serve the Lord (by meditating on His Name); then, you will obtain honor in the Court of the Lord. O Nanak, by becoming the Gurmukh (spiritual being, etc.), contemplate God, and rid your mind of egotistical pride ||2|| (sggs 849).
     
  5. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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    AAD ji...
    You are seldom..out of depth....
    From what i can see you can swim in the deepest ocean of Gurmatt..and not be in trouble...
    THAT is a Guru bestowed GIFT...use it well.:happy::D:D
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    Gyani ji

    I am relying on people like you to fill in the major gaps of information as this explanation of mine is a sketch not an oil painting. This is a meager beginning -- NOW THE EXPERTS MUST CHIME IN! Thank you.
     
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