Sikh Music Documentary
Sikh Musical Heritage - The Untold Story
Sikh musical heritage is a colorful and rich tradition with creativity at its heart, but for a practical purpose. Sikh music, also commonly known as Kirtan or Gurmat Sangeet, is the foundation for the Sikh way of life.
The tradition of Kirtan in Sikhi started with Guru Nanak Dev ji, who used it as a tool to communicate internally between mind and soul; Kirtan was also used for external communication with people from all walks of life across diverse cultures.
Our primary aim for this documentary on Sikh music is to share the importance of Kirtan in every Sikh’s life and preserve our rich musical heritage.
The documentary will reveal extensive academic and community based research carried out over the past few years – research that uncovers an untold story of what Kirtan is, why it is important and why Guru Nanak Dev ji used Kirtan as a means of communication.
Through this documentary project, we want to create a high quality visual account of historic events in the field of Sikh music, from its introduction in Sikhi with Guru Nanak to its evolution over the years.
We aim also to bring forward factual evidence to provide an unbiased record of a few key episodes that will bring light to certain aspects lost from our musical heritage through British influence in the 18th and 19th centuries. This will allow us to share a part of our history that has been not only overlooked but also forgotten.
So please join us in this community effort to revive and preserve Sikh musical heritage, as we set out on this journey together to discover historic events that have influenced Sikh music and brought it to what we know today.
We recognize as a community that there is a vast need for education on critical topics such as Kirtan to reveal the Sikh way of life as practiced during the time of Sikh Gurus. However, no such project has been undertaken to date that aims to close this educational gap.
Although we may have heard the names of string and percussion instruments from Sikh musical heritage such as Dilruba, Saranda, Rabab, Sarangi, Taus, Jori and Pakhawaj, we are provided with neither their contextual importance nor the reason for their disappearance from society. We wish to answer these questions for a wider audience so that as a community, we can better understand one of the most vital aspects of Sikh history and its connection to our practice of Sikhi today.
Professor Surinder Singh has dedicated his life to the field of sustaining and sharing the art of Sikh music. It is through his passionate hard work and research that this project has been made possible. The information it will make known is critical to connecting the bridge between past and present as we all build a brighter future.
If we forget to appreciate what has been blessed to us, we will continue to lose more of our valuable heritage. If we become aware of what was taken from us and what we are losing, we can work together to preserve a crucial element of our heritage.
Shooting for the Sikh music documentary began in spring 2015. Shooting is in India, the United Kingdom and the United States. We are preparing for the project's first screening.
Upon the screening of the documentary at film festivals across the world, we intend to submit it to TV channels, after which the documentary will be made available to the wider community.
Please extend your support by donating to the project and share the details with your family and friends. We thank you for your generous support.
If you have any questions about the documentary project, please contact Preetinder Singh at preetinder[at]rajacademy.com.