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Discordant Notes

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Discordant Notes

Amardeep Singh, Singapore

In the letter “The Message is Mixed but the Intentions are Goodâ€, Dya Singh states

“We are strong advocates of raag but we are also strong advocates of originality and also 'popularity' –“

However, I am not clear if the intent of ORIGINALITY of their group is expected to be from within the musical framework of Gurbani Keertan Maryada or from outside.

Any person well versed with music can easily explain with help of mathematics that there can be many permutations and combinations of Bandhishs (compositions) from within a single Raag. And also Raag music does not necessarily mean a composition of highly complex tune or beat. Raags can be very simple too….so simple that even Bollywood can’t resist using them in movies (like O Duniya Key Rakhvaaley) or Raag Aasa by Naushad.

I therefore fail to understand why we can’t explore originality from within the prescribed musical framework of Guru Granth Sahib. I can assure you that a whole life-time can be spent in such exploration work and still much would be left to achieve. The outcome would surely be many tunes that even the Sangat with an ear for less classical compositions can appreciate. All this can be easily achieved within the prescribed musical framework of Guru Granth Sahib.

“POPULARITY†which is also mentioned as another core value, is relative and subjective. “POPULARITY†lies in the hands of advocates. Let me explain this further. There was a time when only string instruments were POPULAR for Keertan accompaniment. But the lack of dedication of Raagis to learn string instruments and their selfish desire to quickly become professionals has lead to a Harmonium replacing the Tatti Saaj (String instruments). And today, if Keertan is done is Tatti Saaj, it would sound very weird to the ears. Harmonium is not a very suitable instrument for Indian classical music but the irony is that today it is the most POPULAR Keertan accompaniment. Doesn’t this prove that POPULARITY lies in the hands of advocates. If original Keertan Maryada is restored in Gurudwaras across the world, then I can assure you that within a period of 10 years the ship can be steered back to its course. Unfortunately, this can’t happen till we rise above materialism.

Let not the excuse of ORIGINALITY and POPULARITY over-shadow our short comings to whole-heartedly dedicate ourselves to preservation of original Keertan Maryada. I request groups like “Dya Singh Australian World Music Group†to become leaders in exploring ORIGINALITY from within the musical framework of Guru Granth Sahib and making Gurbani Keertan POPULAR amongst the masses. It is definitely not easy to undo last 70 years of deterioration, but then its responsibility lies with the ones well versed with Music and Gurbani Maryada.

Should we not collectively catch the bull by the horns and strive towards correction, I fear the youth will keep saying “……..;Kuch Kuch hota Hai†(“……..something-something happens†from a popular Hindi movie song) and never move on to saying that Listening to Keertan, Subh Kuch hota Hai†(“Listening to Keertan, Everything transformsâ€).

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