Throughout the ages music has been used as a pathway to achieve an elevated mental and spiritual state. It was not until the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji that music was organized and practiced in such a distinct manner. Raags have been coming long before Guru Nanak Dev Ji, but He combined the beautiful art of raags with the beautiful words of Gurbani. The combination of the raag and Gurbani made an impact like no other. Guru Nanak preached about the divine message throughout the world not by speaking but by singing.
The Bani of the Gurus that is compiled in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is written in 62 different raags, each distinct from one another. While SGGS ji has 31 SHUDH(main) raags, there are also 31 one MISHRAT(variational) raags. As the art of raag kirtan becomes rare over time due to foreign influence leading to dilution of traditional kirtan, much effort is required to preserve this challenging yet beautiful style of kirtan. Many Sikhs are putting in tremendous amounts of dedication into reviving this style of kirtan. The "62 Raags Gurbani Kirtan" CDs set was compiled as an effort to partake in that seva of preserving this style of kirtan.
Vismaad Academy, Sacramento has been working on teaching the youth this complex style of sangeet (music) for over half a decade, and took the uprala(effort) of starting and completing this project, with Gurus blessing. The compilation is very unique as the 62 raags have only been compiled once by Dr.Gurnam Singh(Punjab University) making this the second compilation ever to cover all the raags of SGGS ji.
Another very distinct accomplishment that has been made through this project is that the recordings were entirely done by the youth. Bhai Harlove singh, who has learned Gurmat Sangeet through Vismaad Academy has completed all recording of this project at the age of 20. The Accompanying table vadaks are also under 23 years of age. Their mastery of the tabla can be clearly seen through their usage of complex laggis, relas, tukras, chakrdars, etc. Sukhwinder singh, Tarnpreet Singh, and Amrit Singh all played a very valuable role in this project as they were doing the seva on the tabla, without which this project would have not been possible.
This project was completed to not only preserve the 62 Raags of SGGS ji but also to motivate the youth to start taking action to add practice of Gurmat Sangeet in their daily lifestyle. The CD sets consist of the 62 Raags sung in various styles of kirtan from dhrupad, classical, light classical, to partaals. The CDs contain many partaals (including in Raag kanra, Raag ramkali, Raag Prabhati Bhibas, etc.) to ensure that while preserving the 62 raags, the rare and complex style of partaal is also preserved.
The project was also a great way to preserve the practice of tanti saaj. Many of the recording were done with the accompaniment of tanti saaj such as dilruba. The entire project took over two years to be completed and required a lot of effort, but it is all in hopes to preserve this beautiful style of kirtan that our Gurus blessed us with.