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Khalsa Secondary Academy

Guru Nanak Dev Ji 550th Interfaith EkOnkar31Raag Celebration

Dec 2019

This event was the brainchild of Professor Jaspal Singh Kooner, a leading cardiologist at the Imperial College London and was designed to revive Guru Nanaks original message for all humanity. The event was an interfaith tribute to Guru Nanak Dev Ji in celebration of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th Birth Anniversary, we held a tribute through Gurbani Kirtan, sung in 31 raags. The event was an educational event for our students as well as the wider community to teach about the 31 Raagas, traditional instruments and the secular message from Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

A world leading ensemble of 24 classical vocalists and instrumentalists from India, UK and Pakistan came together to share and educate our students and members of the community on Guru Nanak’s wisdom in the 31 raagas. The event was held on the 7th and 8th December, at The Khalsa Secondary Academy, Stoke Poges, SL2 SQB, Buckinghamshire. 

Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana started the tradition of Raag Kirtan. Sri Guru Granth Sahib stipulates an individual Shabad to be sung in the specified raag. A specific raag is chosen to evoke a certain mood and emotion. This allows the mind to focus and dwell on the core message of the Shabad. When sung correctly, Raag Kirtan can provide a transformational experience, with the power to lift our inner spirit into a journey of eventual spiritual fulfilment. Musical practices employed in contemporary Kirtan have diverged widely from the true traditions and rich heritage of Raag Kirtan. However, the pure spirit of Raag Kirtan, like a natural spring, can never dry up.

The ‘Ek Oankar 31 Raag’ darbaar is a humble attempt to revive the practice of Raag Kirtan and to create an environment for the journey of spiritual fulfilment The world-leading vocalists participating in ‘The Ek Oankar 31 Raag’ darbaar will include Ustaad Shafqat Ali Khan Latafat Ali Khan, Faizaaan Ali Khan, Nader Ali Khan (Sham Chaurasi Gharana), Bhai Satninder Singh Bodal (Patiala Gharana), Ustaad Fareed Hasan (Dilli Gharana), Bhai Gurmeet Singh Shaant (Sri Harimandir Sahib), Ustaad Mohammed Amaan (Agra Gharana), Bhai Gurdev Singh (Sri Harimandir Sahib).

Accompanying instrumentalists will include Bhai Surjit Singh (Sarangi), Bhai Kirpal Singh (Dilruba), Bhai Dharambir Singh, Bhai Jasdeep Singh, Roopa Panesar (Sitar), Bhai Pinky Singh, Harkirat Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gurdit Singh (Pakhavaj and Tabla), Bhai Kaviraj SIngh, Bhai Kiranpal Singh (Santoor), and Ustaad Sapwat Simab (Rabab), Bhai Balwant Singh (Bansuri), Bhai Avtar Singh (Taus). Guru Nanak Dev ji spoke of peace amongst all, we follow his path and words, our wish is to bring together people of all faiths to take in the Raags and share together as one Unity. 

Our Gurus chose traditional instruments with unique features and natural sounds to enable Raag Kirtan. Guru Nanak made the Rabab famous when he chose Bhai Mardana Rababi, his Muslim-born companion to accompany the singing of divine Shabads. Thus, the rabab became an emblem of Shabad Kirtan for all time. The Dilruba has been attributed to Guru Hargobind and Guru Gobind Singh. The Sarangi translates to ‘one-hundred colours.’ Because of its sonic versatility this instrument is known as the mother of all stringed instruments. The sarangi closely resembles the human voice and can easily be mistaken for a person singing. The Sarangi was used in the court of the Guru Hargobind Sahib. The Taus, shaped like a peacock, produces a wonderful deep and heavenly melodious sound. It is attributed to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

History of the traditional musical instruments can be seen at the following video link:

Sikh Musical Heritage; the Untold Story Documentary

The recordings of the event will be shortly made live on the website. In the meantime, they can be viewed here:


Day 1:

Day 2: