Blue Lions, an iconic UK-based band of nihangs (Sikh warriors) which performs Sikh kirtan, hymns and Indian classical music, had a sellout debut concert at Royal Albert Hall on February 13, 2017. These British-born second and third generation Nihangs who sport turbans and a ‘banas’ (robes), presented a sterling performance of Indian classical music, including […]
Blue Lions, an iconic UK-based band of nihangs (Sikh warriors) which performs Sikh kirtan, hymns and Indian classical music, had a sellout debut concert at Royal Albert Hall on February 13, 2017.
These British-born second and third generation Nihangs who sport turbans and a ‘banas’ (robes), presented a sterling performance of Indian classical music, including traditional works and very rare compositions, some of which are hundreds of years old. While talking to TOI on Saturday, Kamalroop Singh, a member of Blue Lions, said they played to a diverse crowd which had come to learn about Indian classical music and Sikh shabads.
“Touched by the magic of the verses, many could not find words to express their appreciation of the divine experience,” he said.
The Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences, is a large building in the city of Westminster, London. Opened in 1871, the hall is dedicated to by Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, who had died 10 years earlier.
He said the Britishers always had an inclination towards learning about Sikh kirtan and Indian classical music as well as mysticism, but recently there has been a spurt of interest in yoga, mantras, and meditation. “Many leading celebrities have embraced Sikhism,” he said.
The Sikh kirtan, mantras or prayers of any religion are sung in classical 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, USA, Holland, Estonia, Maldives, Mauritius and Uganda. “Our key performance 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 Mirabai at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, and the Monaco Opera House. But the most spiritually elevating experience was performing kirtan at Sachkhand Hazur Sahib, Nanded, Maharastra.”
Kamalroop said their shows also give them a chance to tell British about Sikhs and their religion.
“Sometimes we face discrimination at airports. Only the other week I was stopped by armed officers at London’s Stansted airport. However, most people love the Nihang dress. They pose questions and it’s our cue to tell them about our religion and how meditation is a healthy way to live, in harmony with life and other people”.