Sikh Musicians offer lessons in Indian Music

kirtanMeditational classical Indian music can be heard and learned at Shepparton’s Gurduara Sahib Sikh temple as three visitors from Punjab demonstrate their skills.


Temple spokesman Dhami Singh said the three musicians had been travelling across southeast Asia, including Thailand and Malaysia, before visiting Australia to bring Sikh culture and music to different communities.

Since arriving in Australia, head musician and singer Bhai Makhan Singh, harmonium player Bhai Sohan Singh, and tabla master Bhai Harvinder Singh have visited Brisbane and Griffith before arriving in Shepparton this week.

Mr Singh said the musicians would play every day and were happy to give free lessons to anyone who was interested.

‘‘It takes at least 10 years of training to master classical music in India. They will be helping our priest here in Shepparton playing and singing for the next three weeks,’’ he said.

He said British priests and missionaries introduced the harmonium in India in the 19th century.

The wind operated instrument went on to become popular among Indian classical stage and devotional singers.

The original European design of feet-operated bellows was adapted for hand bellows because Indian classical music is performed sitting down.

Mr Singh said the two tabla drums were called the dayan and bayan, derived from the Hindi words for right and left.

He said the visiting musicians would provide free classes on both instruments every evening.

‘‘If anyone is interested, all they need to do is walk into the Gurduara to book in,’’ Mr Singh said.

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