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Bhai Avtar Singh Gurcharn Singh Ragi
Honoring
Bhai Avtar Singh Bhai Gurcharan Singh Ragi
It is an honor and a privilege to say a few words about Bhai Avtar Singh.
He has been a significant figure in my life for a number of reasons. I first met him when he conducted my wedding service, and, even at that time with all the stress and anxiety of getting married, I remember how impressed I was with the shabads he sang. The words resonated in my heart, the clarity of tone, the shudh raaga - these all combined together to deliver a performance that brought tears to my eyes!
We met again many years later. I was already in the US and busy with the mundane realities of day-to-day existence. I felt I had lost a part of my soul as my guru (for singing) was in India. Bhai Avtar Singh gave me back a piece of it when he offered to teach me.
It is an experience I will always cherish. He was kind enough to offer compliments when I grasped his teaching, but really it was his depth of knowledge and his one-ness with the music that made it impossible not to get it.
Bhai Avtar Singh is one of the last ones of a great tradition. He has a wealth of knowledge about gurbani, about raaga, about shabads and the nuances of the raag that they are to be sung in, all brought together with a devotion that makes the whole transcend the sum of its parts.
What more can be said? There are people whose lives are dedicated to their art. But even within the realm of sacred music, there are a rare few who are able to open up hearts and bring people closer to God. Bhai Avtar Singh is one of those rare few.
My Association
By
Manjit Kaur
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Bibi Manjit Kaur, a student of Ustad Munnawar Ali Khan and Bhai Avtar Singh Ragi, lives in New York.