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Shabad Kirtan, the sacred music of the Sikhs, is a tradition that developed under the ten Sikh gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak (1469-1539) and his lifelong companion and musician-disciple, Bhai Mardana (1459-1534) the rababi. The tradition, however, has deeper roots, embracing the sacred musical revelations (shabads) of earlier saints associated with the Bhakti movement, such as Jaidev, Namdev, Ravidas and Kabir, and great Sufi masters such as Sheikh Farid. Under the auspices of the Sikh gurus and their disciples – the rababi and ragi musicians – this syncretic tradition of spiritual teachings developed into what was one of South Asia’s richest rag-based music traditions including a diverse array of genres including dhrupad-dhamar, khyal, git, ghazal, and var.
Inspired by Tradition
Kirit and Jasdeep, perform Shabad Kirtan in a style which is both fresh and yet inspired by the values of this rich tradition. The simple but powerful instrumentation of the tanpura and jori accompaniment echo the sounds which were once common place in Shabad Kirtan. They perform a mixture of exclusively rag-based repertoire, which includes their own compositions as well as centuries-old repertoire that was once heard in the Golden Temple of Amritsar. They do so in accordance with the ancient principles of Shabad Kirtan that serve to invoke a spiritual experience among the listeners.
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