Nihang Band -The Blue Lions plays Kirtan at UK’s Royal Albert Hall

Blue Lions, a well-known UK-based group belonging to the ancient lineage of the Warrior Akali Nihang Singhs, performed a...

Blue Lions, a well-known UK-based group belonging to the ancient lineage of the Warrior Akali Nihang Singhs, performed a sold-out debut performance at Royal Albert Hall. They specialize in singing kirtan - the Sikh spiritual Indian classical music, hymns, and Indian classical music. 

These second- and third-generation Nihangs from Britain, who wear turbans and "banas" (robes), gave a stellar performance of Indian classical music including traditional works and very rare compositions, some of which date back hundreds of years.

Dr Kamalroop Singh, a member of Blue Lions, claimed that they performed for a multicultural audience who had come to learn about Sikh shabads and Indian classical music. He said, “Touched by the magic of the verses, many could not find words to express their appreciation of the divine experience,” 

Dr Kamalroop Singh is a dedicated teacher from the Indian Khalsa Nihang Singh order. In 1999, he went through the process of becoming a member of the Khalsa. After that, he spent the next 15 years living with the Nihang Singhs and Sants or saints while travelling all throughout India.

The Blue Lions begin with instrumental music and then sing various ‘Ragas’ and compositions before beginning the mantra chanting. They play antique stringed instruments such as the 'Taus,' which was designed by the Sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji.

The Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences is a big building in Westminster, London. The hall, which opened in 1871, is dedicated to Queen Victoria's husband, Albert, who died ten years earlier.

Kamalroop Singh claims that Britishers have always been interested in Sikh kirtan and Indian classical music, as well as mysticism. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in yoga, mantras, and meditation. Adding to it, he stated "Many well-known celebrities have converted to Sikhism,

The mantras and prayers of any faith, including the Sikh kirtan, are sung in traditional ragas like Dhanasari, Malkauns, Chandrakauns, Sorath, Kalyan, Durga, Sri Rag, Malar, Mia ki Malar, Asa, Jaijaiwanti, Bhairo, and Bhairavi.

The Blue Lions have performed in Spain, France, Latvia, Germany, Portugal, India, the USA, Holland, Estonia, Maldives, Mauritius, and Uganda. Their key performances are with Basement Jaxx at the O2 Arena, with Anna Phoebe with Bob Dylan, Boom Festival Portugal, Be-in Festival Portugal, with Terry Oldfield in Alicante, with the Monaco Opera House and the Mirabai at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

One of their most spiritually elevating experience was a kirtan performance at Sachkhand Hazur Sahib in Nanded, Maharastra.

The Indian classical music "Ragas" they play has a profound impact. The music emits a deep vibration that nourishes the listener. This restores balance to the mind, body, and soul.

According to Kamalroop Singh, their shows also give them a chance to educate British viewers about Sikhs and their faith. However, the band also occasionally experience discrimination at airports. Recently, he was halted by armed officers at London's Stansted airport. That being said, the Nihang costume is incredibly popular. Kamalroop Singh adds that when people ask questions, it gives them an opportunity to educate others about the Sikh faith and the benefits of meditation as a method to live a healthy life in harmony with others.

 

*Based on an article by Yudhvir Rana / TNN / Updated: Feb 26, 2017

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