A story of romantic love and of Divine love.
They have been around since 2009, singing at private Kirtan gatherings and Yoga festivals have just recently returned from their tour of Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai, as their style of music rapidly emerges across Europe and Asia, I felt it was time to explain Kirtan and the harmonious sound of this one soul in two bodies that are Jagdeep Kaur and Amritpal Singh, who have created this divine and magical love potion called Qi-Rattan putting them on the map of world music playlists. I assure you, it just takes one hit and you’ll be hooked to their unique sound.
They were formally introduced to each other through their families and a 3-hour conversation developed into a beautiful love story, which soon bonded with creativity and musical talent at the heart of their marriage. “The bond between Amritpal and I runs far deeper than just being husband and wife” say’s Jagdeep Kaur. “The connection we have with each other is what is expressed through the Gurbani Kirtan (Guru’s sacred mantra) that we sing, this helps us to understand and connect with the Divine and this energy is what is projected to the sangat” (the company of like minded people)
So what is Kirtan?
Alongside the popularity of Yoga in the West over the last decade, we have also witnessed the inseparable interest in musical chants complimentary to yoga ripple across the horizons. There is a wonderful variety of New age music available on iTunes to Amazon and it includes music for all kinds of yoga, relaxation and meditation. There are many established and emerging artists creating fusion sounds with classical Indian instruments and powerful ancient chants. For some its easy listening for relaxation and others it compliments their spiritual practice during the ambrosial hours at dawn. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the chants, after all Kirtan sung from the heart, is the universal song of the soul. Music is the food of love.
You may have heard Kirtan (devotional singing) played in a yoga class or sung live when visiting an Indian temple. Kundalini yoga teachers often play kirtan in the background during a yoga class or particular mantras are selected for chanting. Kirtan as we know it, is not exclusive to Hindu and Sikh traditions, chanting and devotional singing has existed in many ancient cultures. Qi-Rattan sing the sacred poetic scriptures of the Sikhs from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Ancient chants have the ability to quieten the mind. Vital musical qualities and compositions are thus, in that their “soul” purpose is to open the heart, raise our vibration and heal us at cellular level. At a Kirtan event, one is required to cover ones head in respect of the Guru’s sacred word and it’s not just about listening; one is normally encouraged to join in with the singing where all voices merge together as one. When sung from the heart the sound current and energy one feels can induce profound states that carry you within to experience meditation, bliss and ecstasy. In essence Kirtan is a spiritual practice and does not need to be a religious experience.
Jagdeep Kaur 32 years, now also a mother learned to play guitar in school and was bought up learning Kirtan from her father. As a young child she was exposed to her mothers musical tastes which; included Bollywood sounds, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Karen Carpenter and disco diva’s including Diana Ross. Although her parents recognised her charming musical ability it wasn’t encouraged as a career path, so she focussed on training in Chinese Medicine, Reiki, Acupuncture and Healing with Sound, which became the foundation of a holistic lifestyle.
Amritpal Singh comes from a great linage of musicians. His great grandfather played the Sarangi, a Classical Indian instrument that has a violin type of sound. His first music teacher, was his father, Bhai Gurdiyal Singh Rasiya. A highly acclaimed Kirtan musician. Amritpal’s father often asked him to accompany him on his musical tours to play the Tabla, a percussion instrument with a distinct sound played in the tradition of North Indian classical music. Over the last 10 years, Amritpal has developed his talent specifically with revered Tabla supremo Pandit Yogesh Samsi. One just has to tune into Amritpal’s rhythmic performances which are delivered with delightful clarity that is almost hypnotic to know he’s passionate about Tabla after all, he’s been playing since the age of 10. He is now considered to be one of the UK’s leading Tabla players.
And so, it was a momentous evening, early in 2009, when Jagdeep finally agreed to sing with her guitar at one of Amritpal’s events called the Kirtan Development Project hosted in various venues across London. The audience just grows bigger at every event. Feeling slightly nervous, as she wasn’t playing the traditional harmonium but instead her loyal guitar, accompanied by Amritpal on Tabla, Jagdeep mesmerised her audience with a chocolate velvety voice full of emotion, so beautiful that she bought tears to peoples eyes. And so Qi-Rattan began it’s journey and with the changing winds, what followed was a series of events. In 2011 Jagdeep was fated, to stand in for Snatnam Kaur when she was unwell and was unable to perform at a highly publicised event. Excited yet nervous, Jagdeep accepted the invitation, she took a deep breath and went on to stage and sang, touching peoples hearts intimately.
The talented duo Qi-Rattan had been spotted that evening and became known to esteemed West London Kundalini Yoga teacher Rashpal Kaur who introduced them to Abbey Road Studios and urged them to record their Debut album titled Tarang – The Divine Flow. They were destined to record in exactly the same studio as famous rock stars The Beatles. Jagdeep’s lush voice is central to the success of Qi-Rattan. Every time I have listened to Tarang, I can honestly say that her voice brings back memories of the 1970’s sound of Karen Carpenter. A voice that can naturally hold notes in similar style and sing breath taking melodic harmonies in chocolate velvety tones together with sacred mantra is the elixir of Qi- Rattan. Amritpal’s expert ability in classical Tabla, gently nurtures Jagdeep’s voice, allowing the musical composition to blossom like a flower in the sun. These elements truly compliment each other in every way. Wondering where the inspiration for the compositions for their Kirtan came from I asked, “So who writes the music”? Jagdeep confirmed “ The compositions belong to Amritpal’s father, the rest is improvised as to how I feel at the time”.
Although the musical roots of Qi-Rattan are classical, they have evolved a style of Kirtan that is contemporary. It appeals to people from all walks of life and is not just played amongst chic yoga circles. Their latest CD is called Jaag Re – Awaken. The inspiration for this album Jagdeep says, “Is the awakening of ones spirit, becoming aware of our rising consciousness, from what we eat, our thoughts, our actions and how they affect us, the people in our environment and the world that we live in”. Most of all you’ll love to hear Jagdeep Kaur play the 12 string acoustic guitar, together with various other musicians playing the double bass, bass guitar, synths & piano as well as the violin. Since recording the album Jaag Re, they have been working on more material and will step back into the studio in the near future, to record yet another heart warming album to let your sprit soar in synergy with the Qi-Rattan ethos which is, that we are able to discover the jewel within.
You can experience divine flow in immersion, Qi-Rattan are live at The Tabernacle in the heart of Notting Hill on Friday 20 March at the Spring Equinox Concert also featuring Jaikartar and BenJahmin. Organised by Rashpal Kaur
Article written by:
Nicci Dhamu is the designer and owner of www.sohavi.com launched online in November 2014. A stylish high quality range of jewellery in sterling silver and gold vermeil inspired by sacred symbolism.
She is also a passionate yogini. After first discovering Kundalini yoga more than 14 years ago she is a highly experienced independent children’s yoga teacher based in West London, the creator of www.Little-Yogi.com As a published writer Nicci has written articles for various magazines and also Bellakidz on line.
The Sohavi collection will be exhibited at the Spring Equinox Concert on the 20th March at The Tabernacle.