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Snatam Kaur Article in Light Connection September 11, 2006

Posted by hargobind in Snatam Kaur.
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Snatam Kaur:
Celebrating Peace

Snatam Kaur’s concerts are a joy. I can’t really explain them much better than that. I simply know that afterward I feel great and smile a lot. She has been on a world tour and in September comes to Southern California. On Sept. 1 her new album, Anand, produced by Spirit Voyage will be released. (More information at the end.) Her tour sponsored by Peace Cereal, was dedicated to inspiring people of all walks of life to celebrate the peace that is within, and from that place of strength, to reach out to others as neighbors and nations in the spirit of peace. —Steve Hays

Steve: The tour that you have been on is called “Celebrate Peace,” and we are now in the world that looks very chaotic and unpeaceful. Why did you name it “Celebrate Peace,” and how are you contributing to peace?

Snatam Kaur: What I have found in my travels is that there are actually a number of people that live in different creative ways. There is so much misperception in the media. I believe that war is everywhere and granted there are a lot of controversies and turmoil, but I sometimes feel that if only we viewed how many people are out there really working toward peace­—if only we could feel and understand that—it would give us so much more hope. And so, Celebrate Peace i s named that because we are saying that peace exists inherit within each person and within each heart. It is a matter of recognizing it and then celebrating it, and in that way being active for peace.

Steve: So how do you define peace?

I feel that peace is really defined in each person’s life in the moments of their greatest struggles and the greatest challenges. Peace is the ability to stay true to yourself and in any situation­—find the light, or find the way to grow and transform in that situation while uplifting yourself and other people. In our country, we are fortunate enough to have all that we have. We have so much peace in our land, and yet at the same time, we can find so much to be anxious about,or stressed and worried about. I feel inner peace is really important because that inner peace does have an effect on the universe around us It does have an effect on all of humanity. Even in the United States we have so much to be thankful for, but we don’t necessarily have this inner peace. Inner peace is so important.

Steve: What is your spiritual background?

I am a Sikh and born a Sikh. My parents became Sikhs just before I was born. My grandparents are of the Jewish faith and Snatam actually means universal. So even though I was born and raised in the Sikh traditions,I have a love and acceptance of many faiths. We really believe that the light of God is within everybody and for everyone. So the Sikh path is that we wear the turban, banas, our clothing. We have a spiritual practice every day with yoga and meditation. Music is an integral part because our main practice is worship through music. The Sikh path has been absolutely the core of my being and the core of my experiences. It has really enabled me to reach out to people of other cultures, faiths and traditions­­—but this is my rock.

Jennifer: I remember chanting at last years concert, words that I didn’t even recognize, yet I felt an energy shift. What do you feel is conveyed through your music?

We always tune in at the very beginning of each concert. We tune into that Spirit that is within everyone. The concert is really about a spiritual experience and the sacred words are in a metaphorical sense unlocking the door. It is finding the right combination to unlock the door to the heart, and it is just like clockwork. The sacred chants work that way. Basically I really have to be present and in a space of service. When I am in that place, then the energy can really flow. So, its really incredible to be able to sing these sacred words and share them with people.

Jennifer: Describe you music. Who is it for?

When I am recording or in concert the music is from the experience of my soul to connect with God. Within this process, the music seems to serve a lot of other people including people of different faiths, traditions and mothers and children. It’s pretty amazing. I think that when the experience is coming from our hearts with faith and humility, then the music is for everyone. Granted, somebody like Brittany Spears, might not necessarily pick up my CD, but it could happen.

Jennifer: What do you mean by divine sound current?

Divine sound current is really what we talked about before. It is a combination with the sacred words and the intention of your heart to be in a place of service. Then there is a beautiful sound current that comes through the chanting. It is hard to describe, but what I can say is that it unlocks the doors of heaven. It is a way to connect to peoples hearts. When you get into the flow then it doesn’t necessarily matter what you sing. People may not understand the words that we are singing as the songs are in the language of the Sikhs. Because of the divine sound current people don’t care what the words mean. They are feeling really beautiful in their hearts and that is also what we experience.

Every night we have a unique experience and go to different places. And really, my reasons for touring are a little bit selfish. I really enjoy the experience of the divine self coming through. And of course, to connect with people all over this planet.

Steve: You’ve been in Europe recently, how has your reception been there?

It has been overwhelming. The people really came out to support us. We had about 900 people in a beautiful cathedral in Spain. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life because of the acoustics of the church and also the sheer love of the Spanish people. It was amazing—through the roof! So we had an incredible evening that night. It was very memorable. We had a great time in Europe.

Steve: Would you share your definition of what a successful tour is and some of the experiences you have had along the way?

My definition of a successful tour is that we make connections with people and that something from our tour inspires them in their own lives. Also, we have grown as a band together and we each individually have grown. To me, success means that you have walked on your path with the knowledge that you have gone deeper within to find the truth of the self.

Touring as much as I have, has helped me to see people more for who they are and to relate to people on a real level with words. So I started to realize that it wasn’t about performing for people and impressing them in that way. It was an opportunity for me to pray for the audience, to pray for each child in the yoga program and to give back positive energy. I began to see that it was more about connecting people in a real way.

Jennifer: I have noticed that you have worked with children, yoga and music, even in prisons. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and your motivation and vision with this?

In our society we have a large population of children either in juvenile hall or in foster care. It’s really easy to forget about these children or ignore them, but it is really one of the most pressing issues in our society. These children could start a potentially negative cycle. We have been partnering with organizations that go into foster homes like White Shield in Portland, Oregon and Yoga for Youth, which is based out of Los Angeles. We have started to partner with their teachers and go into juvenile facilities and share our music in conjunction with yoga classes. This has a real positive effect because yoga is a very good way to get in touch with what is going on inside. It helps them find self esteem, which many of these kids lack. Many of them don’t have any self esteem. It’s challenging. It has helped me get back to the basics of what is real and what is important. It has been a breath of fresh air for these kids to have a yoga class. They really look forward to it.

Jennifer: Are there other methods or practices that you suggest to people who want to cultivate a deeper sense of peace in their lives? Even more than the practice of yoga?

I just feel that taking time each day, whatever your faith is, to connect with your soul is very important. For some people this may be taking a five mile jog and playing the piano afterwards. That is a real beautiful practice. I guess I would just encourage people to have their practice, not only for themselves, but to send prayers of healing out to the world and to humanity. The power of prayer can really manifest healing on this planet. So instead of just praying for what you want resolved in your life, I encourage you to take your prayer and pray for other people on this planet and for humanity to make it through.

Jennifer: I know you have been very service oriented since back in your High School days and have been very involved in social change, action and awareness. What do you think is the most powerful work we can do on this earth?

I think the most powerful work is the work that is right in front of you. We often times reach or look out beyond our means, beyond our capacity, and then feel frustrated. I think the most powerful work is what is right in front of you. You know, people with their families, and making choices in terms of voting, and what we can do for the planet at large. There are so many potential things for our environment that each of us can do. People in the yoga and spiritual community have a great responsibility to live very consciously. This includes recycling, composting and planting trees.

Jennifer: Thinking about sustainability, do you believe that sustainable peace can be achieved?

Yes, but we have to work pretty hard for our environment and create better links with the people we don’t normally talk to and do some major work within our community. Do I think it is possible? I have to. And, why not?

Jennifer: I was very curious when I read about you, that you felt the sacred chants and sacred chants from other faiths are an important expression for healing peace and social change. I was curious how they might help us in present day situations? For example, how they might apply other than in a concert situation?

With the situation in the Middle East, our concerts and sacred chants we can pray for each other. We can pray for each other through the sacred words of our traditions. I think it is very powerful celebrating each others faiths, embracing them and experiencing them. There is a very powerful thing people can do in their communities. They can have Intra-Faith services dedicated to peace on the planet. After September 11th we started gathering as an Intra-Faith community in praying for peace on the planet.

This was a real powerful way we could all take part in praying for peace. And it kept growing and growing and flourishing. So get to know your neighbors. Your neighbors can be of a different faith, and that is just fine. It’s not that we are not a strong people here in the United States. It’s not that we are not connected through our own faith. It is that we are not really connected to each other as individuals. So that is something I really feel strongly about. Here in the United States we can create dialog and open the door to communication.

Jennifer: Is there anythong from your tour that stands out as a touching or meaningful example of compassion or faith in action?

Look at my blog and you’ll see a picture of a girl named Stefania. She is recovering right now from cancer. I met her at a hospital in Edmonton, Canada. Her mom told me that “every night Stefania talks to God.” I thought that she must be praying to God every night about her difficult situation. Her mom said, “no every night she thanks God for all the blessings she has in her life.” That is how she talks to God. It’s incredible that this six year old girl in the hospital, facing major challenges including chemotherapy, thanks God every day for her blessings. This was really inspiring for me.

Steve: What is next for you?

We have a new album coming out on September 1st called “Anand.”

I am just recently married. The album is going to be a reflection of my experience in feeling that inner joy and feeling the gift from someone who really loves you and giving back to someone you really love. So that is a real celebration for me. We intend to keep the tour growing. Also we really intend to focus a lot more on children. We hope to really continue this work in more and more meaningful ways.

Spirit Voyage, a dear friend of Snatum Kaur is excited to announce the release of the new album Anand , which will be available September 1. Their CD release celebration will be held at Golden Bridge in Los Angeles on Friday, Sep. 8 at 8pm. Snatam Kaur will be in concert at Seaside Church in Encinitas on Saturday, Sep. 9 at 7:30pm and also at the Church of the Brethren in San Diego on Tuesday, Sep. 12 at 7pm. For more information call 888-735-4800 or go to http://www.snatamkaur.com


Release Party for Anand at Golden Bridge September 7, 2006

Posted by hargobind in Gurmukh, Snatam Kaur.
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Here is the agenda as I know it for the Golden Bridge Release Party. There is going to be an awesome concert. Then there is either classical indian dancing or bhangra performance by Jai.

Then there is a DJ, Tej Gill & dancing to follow. There will be desert and fun and loads of people. I wish I were going but sadly I was not on top of my game and got the short end of the stick.

If you can make it there, it is going to be a blast. And I will tell you what. If you message me up here, I will put you on the guest list so you get in free.

Check it out on the Golden Bridge site

Snatam Kaur article from kyndmusic.com August 25, 2006

Posted by hargobind in Snatam Kaur, Uncategorized.
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Snatam Kaur – Musician For Peace


August 17th, 2006
By Julie van Amerogen

Snatam_Kaur_High_Res_Photo_Credit_Jasper_Johan.jpgSan Francisco, CA – Devotional singer Snatam Kaur, was born and raised with yoga and meditation as a daily practice. She has lived in India and studied with masters of the Sikh traditional style of music called Gurbani Kirtan. In her devotional music she combines her training in violin, voice and percussion with her meditative practice. She has shared her music throughout the world through concerts and workshops for people committed to working for social change.
In this interview, Snatam sounds off on her music and spiritual practice, her commitment to peace and how growing up while her father was managing The Grateful Dead has influenced her music.

“The journey for me, to become a musician for peace, has required me to reach deep within and reach out to people in ways I never knew I could do. It has been absolutely wonderful. I know that the power of this journey through music has given me so much, and pray that others through their own gifts and talents may also make the same journey of reaching in and out. That is how peace will prevail on earth.”

KyndMusic – Describe the music you are presenting on your CDs and tour.

Snatam Kaur – I feel very blessed to share sacred chants from the Sikh tradition as well as songs in English that give the experience of peace. I grew up as a Sikh and found a great amount of internal peace and strength from this rich musical tradition. Also growing up in the United States has given me an appreciation for Western music as well, so our music is really a mix of East and West.

KM – What can people expect to experience at one of your concerts?

SK: In our concerts we combine both western and eastern sounds. I play the harmonium and violin. Guru Ganesha plays the guitar. Krishan Prakash plays the tabla and has a whole drum set. Many of our pieces are easy to sing with… as we believe that audience participation is important because in our concerts we send healing prayers to the planet. There are also spaces in the concert where people can just listen and relax into the music.

KM – How did you come to be working as an ambassador for peace – involved in spreading peace through music and more? What is your background?

SK – First of all, I follow the example of Guru Nanak the first Guru of the Sikhs who taught that God exists in all beings and who forged the path of peace which I now walk on today. That is the basic foundation of all of my work. With the Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan as my spiritual teacher I grew up with his example of reaching out to people of all faiths and praying for peace.

He founded International Peace Prayer Day, where I was invited to come and sing on numerous occasions. From this experience I saw how powerful and transformative the spirit of peace can be, and how music is one of the best ways to convey it! Growing up as a Sikh in the Bay Area I also had many opportunities to interact with people of different faiths, as my father was very active in interfaith work and outreach. I was also a founding member of an organization that my father started called Creating Our Future which gave teenagers the skills and self esteem to create peace in their communities.

KM – I understand that your father, sat santokh, was also a manager of The Grateful Dead during your early years. How has his relationship with the Dead influenced your music?

SK – That’s a good question. The Grateful Dead always left a lot of space for open and free music exploration within the concert experience. We also do this as well. I love finding new doors to open and explore.

KM – Can you tell the story of your first gig?

SK – One of my first stage experiences was when we played at Earth Day 1990 in San Francisco to a crowd of 70,000. My father, being good friends with the Grateful Dead arranged that we would play right after Bob Weir. He was kind enough to let me play his guitar, and even came to some of our practices to help us out.

Basically my band consisted of me, a guitar, and ten of my friends from High School who were active in our Social Action Club and believed strongly in helping the planet. I had written a song called “Save Our Earth” and taught it to my friends. We had no idea what we were in for. After Bob Weir finished his set we got up on stage and he gave us his guitar. To our surprise the crowd started yelling for him to come back on stage and we were met with disapproving “boos!” It was such a surreal experience. With shaky hands I strapped Bob’s guitar over my shoulder, and we started singing with the simple three chord song. I can remember just deciding to go to the heart and soul of what we were doing there, and remembered that we wanted to help the environment and inspire others to do so as well. About a minute into the song the jeering stopped, and pretty soon a good portion of 70,000 person crowd was swaying back and forth and singing with us! It was such and elevating experience!

KM – What is it like singing the music of your Sikh faith, in a language foreign to many people who hear you? How do they receive you? What do you intend to convey to them through the music?

SK – I’ve grown up in the United States and learned to really embrace my tradition because it is a source of inner strength for me. And people get that it is a source of inner strength once they hear the music. The poetry, and the sacred words from the Sikh tradition are so healing, beautiful and transformative for me on a personal level that I think people get that feeling and experience those things when they listen to our music. I’ve learned that people, all people, want to be happy and to basically feel good. Once they feel the peace that is in these sacred words, their hearts seem to just open and the most foreign language becomes completely understandable. It really comes down to the basic power of love. I feel that because I love the energy of these sacred words, and absolutely surrender myself to that energy in every concert, that this energy comes through with love for everyone else. I learned a long time ago that the reason I wear a turban is to remember to be a kind person. For me, sharing this sacred music is an act of kindness.

KM – You have facilitated some workshops in conjunction with a non-profit organization called Yoga for Youth. Can you tell us about that experience?

SK – Yes, I have gone to a juvenile detention center to play music with Yoga for Youth, offering yoga classes for incarcerated youth. These classes offer an opportunity for these kids to heal on a very deep level, and teach kids yogic techniques for accessing the inner strength necessary to bring about positive ways of thinking and acting. We provide live music for the classes and teach the kids some chants and songs. For me personally it is an incredible experience as I am confronted by my own fear of being in such a dark and dismal place, yet completely inspired to see how our music is so gratefully received and how the sacred chants that we share really seem to provide comfort and inspiration to the kids. I look forward to continuing to work with Yoga for Youth to bring music to this population of kids behind bars.

KM – On a personal note, I understand you’re recently married. How do you cope as a couple while you spend so much time on the road?

SK – My husband, Sopurkh Singh, really believes in what we are doing. In fact he does the graphic design for the tour and my music cds. He is so loving and supportive, I often have to pinch myself to make sure it’s not a dream. We talk on the phone at least two times a day, and when I come home after touring we always make sure that we have good couple time together. He comes on tour a little bit here and there, but he really is putting a lot of energy into growing his new business, GRD Design.

KM – Describe some of the things you do while on the road to maintain your personal balance.

SK – The most important thing that I do is a spiritual practice, or sadhana, every day. This helps on so many levels, as it involves physical yoga, chanting and meditating. I also am very careful about what I eat. Having proper rest is important, and also taking good supplements seems to help a lot. I also try to walk a lot, and its a great way to see a new place.

KM – How is your personal practice different at home versus on the road?

SK – My personal practice is a bit different when I’m home. At home I often attend the community spiritual practice with my husband. This is always really nice for me after a long journey. But, I tend to keep the basic practice the same… as I find that the continuity helps to maintain balance.

KM – What influences your music?

SK – The strongest influences of my music come from the collaborative musical relationships that I have with folks in my band, my producer Thomas Barquee, and other musicians that I am inspired by. In the Sikh music world there are many talented, advanced, and deeply spiritual musicians. I am especially inspired and influenced by their music, especially the women artists.

KM – What’s next for Snatam?

SK – Well, for me I look forward to more music and touring. The level of musicianship, creativity, and spiritual connection has been incredibly while on tour, and I can only see this continuing to grow. It would be wonderful to have a family in the near future as well. So, let’s see how things develop.

* Sat Santokh, under his previous name of Burt Canigsan, was a business manager of The Grateful Dead from 1967 to 1969. He organized the Grateful Dead’s Rainforest benefit at Madison Square Garden in 1988.

Anand by Snatam August 18, 2006

Posted by hargobind in Hargobind's Favorites, Snatam Kaur.

Here are the clips of Snatam’s new Album. It will be available in about 2 weeks. She is so cool. We will do preorders when we know when it will ship. What do you all think?



Snatam Kaur on nriinternet.com August 15, 2006

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Snatam Kaur Khalsa is an emerging and celebrated spiritual music ambassador. Snatam, a Sanskrit word, meaning universal, nucleus, and friend to all; Kaur, a Punjabi word and a faith-mandated surname for all Sikh women, means a princess and lioness; and Khalsa, a Sikh term that defines the Order of the Pure; Snatam truly embodies a rare composite of those qualities through her devotional music and her radiant persona.

Her music is another bridge between the traditions and cultures of East and West. Snatam Kaur brilliantly interfaces Gurbani Keertan, the Sikh style of religious music, and the western classical and popular styles in her music and concerts. Snatam is popularizing her own unique style, rhythms, musical arrangements, and is introducing the Sikh sacred music to global audiences. Her music transcends traditional musical familiarities and frontiers, reaches deep into our soul where Gurmukhi, the language of Sikh scriptures, offers no formidable threshold that our spirit cannot cross or joyfully embrace.

Snatam Kaur is many attributes in one. She is an accomplished music soloist, songstress and poet, Kundalini Yoga master, spiritual healer, teacher, and cultural commentator. Her music is a bridge that combines many musical, cultural, and spiritual textures: of a Sikh Ragi (a musician well versed in Indian musical patterns known as Ragas); sacred Sanskrit, Buddhist, American Indian chants; Celtic song and music tradition, use of western orchestra, folk genre, jazz, and many other musical influences.

She presents her music with a deep sense of reverence. Snatam is modest and approachable, unassuming, and friendly. Her contagious optimism captures the imagination and attention to her words, message of peace, and music as a shared and precious human legacy. With a gentle passion, she offers:

“For people of all faiths, all walks of life, and through the power of our own voices singing songs of peace, we provide a place for the spirit of humanity to rise.”

She reminds us of the words of her mentor, Sri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogijee or affectionately, Yogi Bhajan:

“If you cannot see God in all, you cannot see God at all.”

The sacred Sikh commandments and spiritual wisdom that formed the foundation of Snatam’s faith and her spirit since she was a young child remind us:

“O mortal, recognize all humanity as One Race, One Brotherhood.”
“Every living being is a repository of Divine Light.”
“No one is outside the circle of God’s boundless benevolence.”

Snatam’s music and teachings seem to affirm this deep conviction and respect for all life, cultures, and faiths. Her interfaith, multi-cultural, and multi-generational audience and admirers of her music see her as an ambassador of goodwill and peace.

Snatam’s album Shanti, was nominated for a Grammy in 2002 and made it to the semi-finals in the New Age music category. This emerging star is now enthralling audiences of music lovers on her current “Celebrate Peace” World Tour, sponsored by Spirit Voyage and Peace Cereal and others, recently brought her to Indianapolis. Snatam Kaur’s Concert, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, was sponsored by the Indiana Yoga Association and Midland Yoga Center in Bloomington.

Snatam Kaur Khalsa, dressed in traditional Punjabi clothes with a neatly-tied white turban supporting a jeweled Sikh emblem, arrived without much fanfare and greeted the audience with some opening thoughts about Naad: Divine Sound Current. The concert venue was a very intimate space and full to capacity. There was a remarkable simplicity in the room with a tastefully decorated stage. A large blue mural with a sacred lotus design reminded the audience about peace as a central nucleus of our humanity.

Snatam, playing the harmonium and violin, led a moving rendition of songs and chants. Accompanying Snatam were Guru Ganesha Singh on the guitar, dressed in Punjabi kurta-pajama and the traditional white Sikh turban and young Krishan on the tabla (a pair of Indian drums) and percussion instruments dressed in Punjabi kurta-pajama with a patterned scarf on his head. Guru Ganesha Singh is a very spirited, exuberant, and expressive member of the group. Krishan offers youthful energy and impeccable sense of timing on the tabla and other musical instruments. Each musician gave an incredible account of his talent and complimented the richness of the experience. There seemed to be an invisible thread guiding their music in perfect harmony.

At a few points during the two-hour Concert, taped instrumental music, from her four CDs (Mother’s Blessings, Prem, Shanti, Grace, and latest album Celebrate Peace) under the label of Spirit Voyage Music, was added to the musical mix to further embellish the rich experience. One could hear the resounding echoes of sarod, enchanting sitar, versatile keyboard, and other ancient music instruments forming the musical backdrop.

It is the lilting and shimmering voice of Snatam that leaves a hauntingly beautiful resonance and imprint on the spirit, whether she is singing “Ek Ong Kar;” “Jut Paharah Dheeraj Suni-aar;” chanting “Tudhe Aagay Ardas …Guru, Guru, Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das;” or singing “By Thy Grace,” “Long Time Sun,” or an inspired rendition of a composition by a Sufi Saint in English. She invited the children to the stage and led them in a song inspired by another hymn in Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs, “Sun shines on everyone, it does not make choices….One spirit is in everyone, it does not make choices.”

With a serene glow on her face, Snatam offered sacred chants and mantras of “Ek Ong Kar;” “Gobinda, Gobinda, Hari, Hari;” several hymns by Guru Nanak (Founder of the Sikh faith) from Japji Sahib (morning Sikh prayer). Each sacred song was presented in a voice that seemed to originate from the deep sanctum of her soul. I felt that my spirit was being carried in and was a part of the powerful Divine Sound Current. I imagined the celestial realms reverberating with music and melodies of Praise at all times, as revealed in Raag Sodar in the Sikh evening prayer. I imagined singers and chanters like Snatam with divinely inspired melodious voices performing sacred music in the Highest Court.

When Snatam picked up her violin, played a few magical notes, and began to sing, “Aad Guray Nameh, Jugaad Guray Nameh, Sutguray Nameh, Sri Guru Devay Nameh,” the opening lines of Sukhmani Sahib of the Fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev, the glorious history, culture, spirit, and heritage of the Sikh faith came into my mind. I imagined standing at the magnificent Golden Temple in prayer and thanksgiving for the all-embracing and universal message of the Sikh faith that has traveled to the farthest corners of the earth.

I imagined music angels directing Snatam’s spirit, voice, and fingers; her cathedral voice emanating from realms beyond my sight or understanding and caressing the sacred. I felt the sound currents of the Sikh spirituals that she was singing descending into the innermost core of our being and gently stirring up some unopened chambers about the Immaculate Glory of God and His Divine Messengers. I felt that I was being given a privilege to witness the beauty, power, grace, and inspirations enshrined in the scriptures and music of all faiths and sacred traditions. When music critics talk about transforming music, I understood that in that fleeting moment of bliss. I had seen the sacred facade of music, the universal language of humanity that has the power to connect us with the Divine and with one another.

Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA
April 11, 2006

Snatam Kaur on www.mrsikhnet.com August 15, 2006

Posted by hargobind in Snatam Kaur.
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For some of the best resources on Snatam check out this link on Gurmustuk’s blog. http://www.mrsikhnet.com/index.php/category/musicians/snatam-kaur/

He has some awesome live recordings and really cool things to say. His whole blog is awesome.

Snatam Kaur Article from Grass Valley August 15, 2006

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This is an awesome article on Snatam from http://www.theunion.com/article/20060810/NEWS/108100130

Snatam Kaur’s message from Sikh tradition

Performer brings world tour to Grass Valley

SnatamBy Soumitro Sen, soumitros@theunion.com
August 10, 2006

In the cool shadows of the trees in the garden of St. Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley, Snatam Kaur looked more like an angel than a singer on a world tour.

Dressed in immaculate white, the 34-year-old American Sikh performer spoke of God, peace and music in a young, soothing voice.

The lush lawn – with overgrown hedges, foliage bent with purple blossoms and roses outlined by the afternoon sun – was a serene setting for Kaur as she explained the nuances of her craft: her spiritual music, chants and kundalini yoga.

“In all my music, my words are very positive and they are from the Sikh tradition,” Kaur said. “These words are meant to give a positive effect and inner peace. It’s been really powerful to be able to record positive music and see the effects of it.”

Kaur was born to American Sikh parents in Trinidad, Colo., in 1972. Her family was deeply influenced by the teachings of the kundalini yoga master, Yogi Bhajan. As the latter was a Sikh, the Kaurs were also drawn to the East Indian religion.

“I have the Eastern (Indian) and Western influences (in my music),” Kaur said. “But the most important thing is my heart and devotion.

“I compose my music. I compose with my musical colleagues on the road. Sometimes during concert, I will be inspired. When I am in a state of prayer, oftentimes my heart just opens and words of inspiration will come within the concert experience.”

Kaur is now in Grass Valley as part of her international “Celebrate Peace” concert tour. She has already performed in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden, and Canada, as well as in 28 major cities in the Eastern United States and 20 West Coast cities. Her next stop is Sacramento, where she performs on Aug. 11.

Kaur recorded her first solo album with Virginia-based Spirit Voyage Music in 2000. It was called “Prem,” meaning “love” in Hindi. She’s made five solo albums, and her sixth is awaiting release in September.

“Technically, there are so many ways to learn and expand in music that I am still learning to this day,” Kaur said. “But because of my devotion to the possibility of peace on the planet, I get out there and tour and get CDs out without inhibition because I feel the spirit of peace must be awakened in the heart of humanity.”

Kaur has a cozy band accompanying her. It is comprised of her guitarist, Guru Ganesha, and her percussionist, Krishen Prakash, and herself. She plays the violin – which she learned as a child – and the harmonium, an Indian reed instrument.

But Kaur is more than a singer. She is a food technologist, with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Mills College for Women, in Oakland.

She has worked for years in the Sikh-owned Golden Temple Peace Cereal in Eugene, Ore., and is now their brand ambassador. All of her concerts are sponsored by Peace Cereal.

“The Peace Cereal gives 10 percent of their proceeds to peace organizations around the U.S. and Canada,” Kaur said. “While touring, we give peace grants to local organizations. We gave out two grants last weekend at Eugene, Ore.”

Jai Dev Singh, 25, who works at the California College of Ayurveda in Grass Valley, brought Kaur to town.

“Her music is very inspiring to me,” said Singh, who also teaches kundalini yoga at the Wild Mountain Yoga Center. “It inspires me on my path. In her music, I can feel her devotion, and that makes me want to stay devoted.”

Singh said Kaur’s Grass Valley concert and chanting workshop are fundraisers for the Briar Patch Co-op Community fund.

Kaur will perform today at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley, from 7:30 to 9 :30 p.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance and can be bought at Briar Patch Co-op Community Center. They can also be obtained for $20 at the door.

“It (the concert) is family oriented,” Kaur said. “There is a time when we invite children to come on stage and sing with us. We do this because we feel that for peace to manifest and to last, children have to be a part of the process of creating peace.”

After scores of performances around the globe, Kaur is surprisingly down-to-earth. And in her musical journey, she has learned lessons beyond her age.

“From what I have learned in my life, it’s the small steps that are right in front of you that are the most important toward peace,” Kaur said. “Sometimes people feel they are too small to make a difference.

“To be honest with you, I am fascinated with how creatively kindness manifests all over the planet in so many ways. I feel that people just don’t know about it.”


To call Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

What is Sikhism?

Sikhism is an Indian religion founded in Punjab, a state in western India, in the late 15th century. The followers of the religion are called Sikhs. As of the 21st century, there are nearly 25 million Sikhs worldwide.

Sikhism was established by Guru Nanak (1469-1539) and subsequently led by a succession of nine other gurus (Indian term for a “spiritual master”).

Ever since the death of the 10th master, the Sikhs have regarded their sacred text, the “Guru Granth Sahib” (also known as the “Adi Granth”), the sole guru or teacher.

Snatam Kaur August 15, 2006

Posted by hargobind in Snatam Kaur.
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Snatam called the Spirit Voyage HQ yesterday and I tried to sell her a CD. It was Prem. Turns out she already has it.

It also turns out I was not always a fan of Prem…

Snatam then told me a story from 2002 in Oregon that I had no recollection of and completely deny. Supposedly Thomas Barquee sent her the final cuts of the album together and I happened to be leading group sadhana in Eugene that day.Prem That morning I asked if anyone had music with a good dance beat for the set that we were doing.
Snatam hesitantly volunteered Prem and I dissed the cuts. I was like, “This ain’t dance music”, joking. I have always had a really light hearted connection to Snatam so I could have said this without being over the top offensive. I totally forgot this but Snatam remembered this crystal clear. There was some real irony to me trying to sell her Prem.

Snatam’s new album- ANAND August 11, 2006

Posted by hargobind in Snatam Kaur.
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This album is so tight. I heard the final master the other day. This CD is going to be so hot.

I will post some clips of it later.