Panthic, Community

Competition Inspires Youth Kirtan

By Anju Kaur | June 03, 2011
About 150 participants and guests sang kirtan at the Washington Capital Sikh Youth Kirtan Sammelan this year, many of them returning again and again to learn more and more difficult raags and compositions, and to have another shot at singing a shabad with perfection.
“I think the kids are enjoying having a platform that can help them preserve the rich musical tradition that we have,” said Harsharan Kaur, one of the organizers working with the Dharmic Committee at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Foundation of America in Silver Spring, Maryland. “And I think that is what keeps them coming back.”
Most of the jathaas were from the Washington metropolitan area, but some also came from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They gathered at the gurdwara on Saturday, May 28.
The experienced kids understood the rigors of fulfilling all the requirements of the competition. Some of the newer jathaas, which did not read the rules, missed points.
The rubric includes memorizing the shabad, and explaining the meaning of the shabad, the raag and the taal, in Punjabi, also by memory. A mangalacharan, slok or dandaut, must precede the shabad. 
Points were given for accuracy of sur, taal and laiya; and for alaap, taan and percussion quality. Judges also scored pronunciation, coordination of the jathaa and emotion of the shabad.
Only Gurbani Kirtan is to be recited, and in the raag as indicated in the Guru Granth Sahib, also known as ‘nirdharit’ raag. It’s a 20-point deduction, out of 100, if the shabad is not in the right raag.
“I think it was a little hard to learn this shabad because there were different taals…,” said Avneet Kaur, from a Maryland jathaa. Her jathaa member disagreed her.
“I think this shabad was sort of easy but the speeches were nervous and hard to learn,” said Jaskeerat Kaur, in the 11 to 14-year-old jathaas group. The third jathaa member disagreed with her.
“I think the shabad was hard for learning because we had to learn a lot of sargams and it took us a long time to practice,” said Saihajleen Kaur. They began practicing the shabad around January or February.
Each jathaa also was separately graded for outstanding achievement, which awards their skilful use of traditional stringed instruments such as dilrubaa, taus and jorhi. Only one jathaa from each age group receives this honor.
“The way I think of this competition is that it’s a great way to get people from a bunch of different types of Sikh learning associations and to get around and just play and give it all your best, and hopefully you get first place,” said Tarun Pal Singh of Virginia, whose jathaa received the outstanding achievement award in the 11 to 14-year-old jathaas group.
“I’ve been coming to this competition since I was very young,” said Japjyot Singh, member of a Maryland jathaa in the 15 to 18-year-old jathaas group. “In the beginning, my parents had to force me to come and do this competition, but now, especially this year, I’ve been growing and maturing, I gained a really big passion for kirtan and Gurbani, so I came back this year to see how well I could do, if I put passion for it, and I got third place. I’m hoping that I can do better.”


Junior Group, 7 Jathaas (7 to 10-year-olds)

1st Place and Outstanding Achievement: Guru Angad Institute of Sikh Studies, Virginia Manmeet Kaur Singh, Harjaap Singh, Kirath Kaur, Divjot Singh, Karanvir Singh, Karan Singh, Navneet Kaur. Shabad: Har Jan Rakhey Gur Govind.

2nd Place: S. Parkash Sangeet Academy, Maryland Satkaran Kaur, Tahra Kaur, Preeta Kaur, Seetal Kaur, Nihal Singh Shabad: Meera Dana Dil Soch Raag: Tilang

3rd Place: Sri Harmandir Sahib Academy, Maryland Prabhnoor Singh, Ganeev Kaur, Harpreet Singh, Harkirat Singh, Divjot Singh. Shabad: Darshan Mango Deh Pyarey Raag: aasaa

Intermediate Group, 3 Jathaas (11 to 14-year-olds)

1st Place: Sri Harmandir Sahib Academy, Maryland Rasleen Kaur, Simran Kaur, Mankaran Singh, Arun Singh Shabad: Humari Pyari Amritdhari Raag: aasaa

2nd Place: Washington Sikh Center, Maryland; Guru Angad Institute of Sikh Studies, Virginia Sajjan Singh, Jeevan Singh, Kiran Kaur, Saminder Singh Shabad: Satgur Kay Charan Dhoye Dhoye Poojahu Raag: kedaaraa

3rd Place: Guru Nanak Foundation of America, Maryland Jaskiran Kaur, Jasneer Kaur, Arita Kaur, Angad Singh Shabad: Mayi Santsang Jagi. Raag: kedaaraa

Outstanding Achievement: Guru Angad Institute of Sikh Studies, Virginia Iksha Kaur, Anika Kaur, Karambir Singh, Tejul Kaur, Harpreet Singh, Simrat Kaur, Tarun Pal Singh, Sanpreet Singh Shabad: Rakhey Rakhan Har Aap Oubariyan

Senior Group, 8 Jathaas (15 to 18-year-olds) 1st Place and Outstanding Achievement: Guru Nanak Foundation of America, Maryland Harleen Kaur, Haneet Singh, Nihal Singh Shabad: Lalan Ravya Kavan Gatiri Raag: soohi

2nd Place: Guru Nanak Foundation of America, Maryland Prabhleen Kaur, Gurleen Kaur, Prableen Kaur, Nimarta Kaur, Japji Kaur, Harleen Kaur, Hargeet Kaur, Prabhleen Kaur Shabad: Tohi Mohi Mohi Tohi . Raag: sri

3rd Place: Guru Nanak Foundation of America, Maryland Angad Singh, Japjyot Singh, Kunal Singh, Jay Singh, Kavan Singh, Gurun Singh Shabad: Man Japo Ram Gopal Raag: kannada