Amritsar: In a first-ever call for revival of traditional Sikh devotional singing using stringed musical instrument Tanti Saaj, an Italy-based organization has invited groups and individuals to a 'Kirtan and Kavishir' competition to be held in Novellara, Italy.
Talking to TOI on Sunday, president of Sikhi Sewa Society (SSS) Jagjit Singh informed that in traditional Sikh hymn singing, stringed instruments hold a significant place as they were adopted to create religious emotions to compliment the spiritual message delivered through kirtan. "Over the years, we have observed that stringed musical instruments are being replaced by digital musical systems, depriving kirtan of its very soul," said Jagjeet.
He informed that on the very first day of extending invitations for the competition on Saturday, they got confirmation from various groups and individuals performing kirtan with stringed instruments from France, Spain, Belgium, German and Austria. He said that as the competitions were being held at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Novellara, on March 26, participants-who would be divided in various age groups (from 11 to 30)-would get enough time to practice and give their best performance. It would help revive the old and forgotten tradition of performing kirtan using stringed musical instruments.
"We expect a group of Spanish girls to perform also," he said. Some of the stringed instruments which would be included in hymn singing were Mindung, Tanpura, Rabab, Sarod, Dilruba , Veena and Sarangi.
"This is just the beginning and one of our first efforts to revive the dead tradition. Hopefully our efforts will yield fruit and we will soon have our own European groups performing kirtan using traditional musical instruments," he said, adding that they are currently inviting Sikh hymn singes from India by paying a fee. He said that many groups and individuals have started practising for the competition and in absence of a teacher, they were taking classes over phone from master musicians in India.
"We are enthused to see the enthusiasm among participants," he said and added not only Sikhs, Europeans who have embraced Sikhism are keen to participate in the event.