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Tantee Saaj in Gurmat Sangeet


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bhalo bhalo rae keerathaneeaa ||

Blessed and good is such a kirtanee, who sings such Praises. ang 885

These priceless photographs show keertaneeay with Tantee Saaj - Stringed instruments. Can you imagine sitting in Darbar Sahib and hearing Keertan with Tantee Saaj - it would be pure bliss !

The first picture is from Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha's Gurshabad Rattanakar Mahan Kosh.

The instruments are Left to Right :

Sitar - Dutara - Taos - Taanpura - Saranda - Rabaab and Tabla


The second picture is from the Gertrude Bell Archive - It shows a scene from Darbar Sahib from January 28 1903

While Bell doesn't think much of the Darbar Sahib "It's not at all old nor particularly interesting as a building, but extremely picturesque"

She does relate a story of two 'lute players' - "There were two men outside playing on a sort of lute and singing praises of the Granth, but they can't have been very serious worshippers, for when I stopped to photograph them, I heard them interpolate into the song "and the Memsahib came and took a picture" - all in the same squeaky tune. Perhaps he was telling the Granth about me! "

What can you say? - it was the height of Empire - The White Man's burden and all that - patronizing colonial nonsense !

You can't make out where the lute players are - but from the geometric pattern in the marble floor it appears to be the courtyard in front of the Akal Takht ??

Enjoy !!


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excellent stuff

By the way i doubt thats a 'tabla' more liekly a Jori which is particular to the Gurus court, it is slightly different. If you want to listen o the difference listen to Baljeet and Gurmeet Namdhari, whose table ji plays Jori/pakavach in shabads like 'Meri Abai'.

This is only a tip of an ice berg, the thing to consoder most isn't the instruments but the singing itself, can any of us imagine real Druphad style? Would we even appreciate it being so uneducated in the Guru s music, and then you can appreciate the taanti saaj, jori, pakavach etc.

At one time the whole of India came to Darbar sahib as the hub for musical excellence, now we have nothing but two 'Kungerees and a tabla'.

And also don't forget that even though the 5th guru complosed his own music, the styles and majority of saajs are apart of a much greater heritage. To learn the Gurus sangeet we must be more open minded in our approaches. For example jsut liek in the indian musical world today, alot of the great ustads are musslman.

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