Gurbani – the
word of the Guru – is kirti, or eulogy of the
Creator. Kirti becomes kirtan when the singer harnesses
music to sing the verses of the Guru Granth Sahib
and other sacred writings. The Granth – the
wellspring of Gurbani – is a compilation of
verses taken from 36 masters, six of whom were Sikh.
The rest came from various other traditions. Music
was an important element in their expression of devotion.
Promoting a new social order of equality, they set
their verses to chosen ragas and rhythmic patterns.
Born in August 1952, Raagi Sarabjeet Singh Rangila
(Durgwale) received the teaching of the sacred kirtan
from his father, Bhai Sukkha Singh Almast (Quetta,
Balochistanwale). As a school boy in Bareilly, Bhai
Sarabjeet Singh participated in gurbani, drama and
dance contests at the annual function in the presence
of the chief guest, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
So impressed was Panditji with the young boy’s
multifarious talent that he said, “This is a
boy of many colours (rang)… his name should
be rangila.” And so, the name stuck for life!
Bhai Sarabjeet Singh received further training from
Prof Pratap Singh in Kashipur, Nainital district,
and the latter’s guru Dilli Taan Samrat, Nasir
Khan Sahib. He starts the evening with a shloka in
Raag Kalyan, written by Guru Arjan Dev ji. This is
followed by a shabad, also written by the fifth guru.
The third composition is by Bhagat Ravi Das ji, one
of 16 bhagats such as Kabir, Farid, Pipa and others,
whose ‘bani’ is also enshrined in the
Granth. The artiste concludes with the very popular
‘Sun sun jeevan teri baani…’, also
by Guru Arjan Dev ji.