Bhai Avtar Singh

Bhai Avtar Singh

Bhai Avtar Singh and his father Bhai Jawala Singh were devout exponents of Gurmat Sangeet and traditional styles of Kirtan. Bhai Avtar Singh was born in 1925 in a Gursikh family with a direct historical connection to Ragis from the times of our Gurus. Bhai Jawala Singh imparted his knowledge of Gurmat Sangeet to Bhai Avtar Singh and his older brother Bhai Gurcharan Singh, and together, they were the eleventh generation exponents of Gurbani Kirtan. The family has been involved in Gurmat Sangeet for over 400 years, and Bhai Avtar Singh and Bhai Gurcharan Singh have rendered invaluable service to the Sikh Panth by preserving Gurmat Sangeet in its pristine form. They documented hundreds of traditional Gurmat Sangeet compositions in their book "Gurbani Sangeet Prachin Reet Ratnavali." Bhai Avtar Singh was always an accomplished player of many musical instruments, including the Taus. After a hiatus of 59 years, he picked up the Taus again in 2005, thus bringing back the practice of Gurmat Sangeet with the use of a stringed instrument. Many recordings feature Bhai Sahib playing Kirtan on Taus. Recently, the Kirtan Jatha has been renewed upon being joined by Bhai Kultar Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh Ji's son, who gave up his professional career to propagate the family's tradition as exponents of Gurmat Sangeet. He forms the twelfth generation of Ragis starting in the times of the Gurus. The jatha has continued to show its unwavering commitment and dedication to the traditional style of Kirtan and has continued the old traditions of the Gurus' Ragis. In 2004, Bhai Avtar Singh, with Bhai Swarn Singh and Bhai Kultar Singh, played a crucial role in the Interfaith meeting at Forum 2004 in Barcelona, Spain. They represented the Sikh community for almost seven days and showcased the Guru's music at its best. They performed many recitals of Gurbani Kirtan in front of a cross-section of the world community and were the marvellous face of the Guru's music for the world. Bhai Avtar Singh was always very humble and had a lot of "Nimrata," which was always so moving for the Sangat. He was an inspiration to all the Sangat, both at the venue in Spain and back in the UK. He was always ready to teach his art to young students, and many hundreds have been inspired by him. Bhai Avtar Singh, who was 81 years old, passed away peacefully at about 10.50 PM (IST), November 24th, 2006, at his residence, with his whole family present. His death was a great loss to the Sikh community, who acknowledged his devotion and dedication to Gurmat Sangeet.
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Bhai Avtar Singh
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