This morning I was eating my breakfast as usual sitting with my daughter before she left for school, reading the latest happenings through twitter, and saw a tweet by @humblethepoet of a new music video that was posted online. This wasn’t a "Humble the Poet" video, but a music video by a young American guy named Shankar Tucker who is currently living in Mumbai on a special scholarship to learn with Hariprasad Chaurasia. He plays the clarinet along with all kinds of other instruments. I thought it was so cool seeing and listening to these videos which I can tell he put a lot of effort into. As soon as I heard the clarinet playing, I thought of my other friend Ram Dass Khalsa who is also a talented musician who plays the clarinet (among many other instruments) and makes fusion/mantra/chant music.
Being a Sikh and Growing up in India has definitely made me fond of Indian music. I love many of the classic Indian musicians and particularly love the flute (Pt. Hariprasad Chairasia is awesome). Though I have western roots, I have loved listening to music which is a fusion of east and west. Probably most of my favorite music is Indian/western fusion music. So, when I see a young guy like Shankar Tucker, its pretty cool to see this music alive and growing. It’s cool seeing him and other young Indian musicians working together making some great music.
Over the years I have gotten to know many young Sikh musicians, and always try to encourage and support them in this creative art. I love that my daughter is learning music (violin) and hope that she continues to enjoy and play music. These days in school and life in general learning music is not a priority, so the few who do get into music are very lucky. I think it really is reliant on parents encouraging and taking the time to help kids learn music. It takes a lot of time….not only for the kids but for the parents. As part of my daughter learning Violin one of the parents (my wife) has to learn with her as well, which creates a better support structure and investment on the parents part. If you have kids, I encourage you to share the gift of music with your children!
There are actually a lot of Sikh style music/gurbani that is fusion type (My mother included is actually a popular musicians). Here are a few other musicians that you can explore that I can remember (This is in no way a comprehensive list & is just a few artists that are listed on SikhNet). If you have others that you want to suggest…please do comment! I love finding new music!
These days we are seeing lots new Sikh musicians come out. Surprisingly for me, Rap music is pretty popular to Sikh Youth and there are quite a few Rappers these days. I recently became friends with another musician (Tavleen Singh) who made the music sound track for one of the recent popular SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival videos: "Born to Lead". I’m looking forward to him releasing the track that he ends the film with.
Anyways… looking forward to hearing more Indian fusion style music…. please do share your favorites!