Onkar is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor by profession and a singer by choice. He has been performing for over 30 years across Canada, the U.S. and India at Gurudwara’s, temples, private functions & world sacred music festivals. He has produced 3 albums of Sikh Gurmat Sangeet (based on Raga’s) with English discourse. He has collaborated with the band Eccodek on two fusion albums, Shivaboom and Singing in Tongues.
The Journey– It was at the tender age of 5 that my musical journey began. I was fortunate to have been raised in an environment that was immersed in music and spirituality. Music was just a regular part of my day just like eating or sleeping. For me, music simply resonated with every fiber of my being. It feels so natural, so fulfilling, and it reminds me of why I have been put on this earth. At the age of 5 or 6, I began learning Sikh hymns (shabads) and started performing at Gurudwara’s (Sikh places of worship) at the age of 8-9. Although we had a normal childhood of school, sports and extracurricular activities, any spare time was devoted to music, be it singing or playing an instrument such as the harmonium or tabla’s (east indian drums). I felt so fortunate that music came so naturally to me. It was truly a gift. To this day, I cherish it as such. At the age 15 or so, I began to take a deep interest in North Indian Classical music and Gurmat Sangeet (Sikh devotional hymns sung in Raga’s). Moreover, at this time I was inspired by my father to create an english discourse and to include it within my sessions of Gurmat Sangeet. This was highly appreciated by all far and near. I started to appear on the television program “Dhur Ki Bani” which aired all across Canada, where I would present my own musical compositions of Gurmat Sangeet along with the English discourse. This was certainly an important part of my musical journey that I will never take for granted. Subsequently, we produced 3 independent albums, which were very well received.
Throughout this musical journey, I have had many teachers such as Bhai Karnail Singh ji, Bhai Shamsher Singh Ji Zakhmi, Bhai Avtar Singh Ji, Bhai Dilbaugh Singh ji and last but not least, Ustad Sohail Rana. Each has given me a unique gift in terms of music and how music should be expressed. I am eternally grateful to them.
Over the past several years, music has become quite exciting for me. I have been fortunate and humbled to have performed at venues such as the ROM , DesiFest and the Spirit of the East Concert with SAMA (www.samamusic.ca). Other venues have included the Bandshell stage, C.N.E. for MMM. These have all been unique opportunities for me to explore other genres of music. In April 2009, I had the fortune of joining several musician’s where we had a great and humbling opportunity to perform and sing the US and Canadian National Anthems at a Toronto Raptor’s NBA game. I was joined on the dhol by Gurpreet “The Tabla Guy” Chana, drumset by Jiwanjot Singh and the dilruba played by Harman Singh.
This journey is not possible without the love and support of family, friends and fans. I am eternally grateful to you all for your continued encouragement. To my parents and my siblings, I am thankful to your support. I am also thankful to Gurpreet Chana (www.thetablaguy.com) who has been an instrumental part of my musical journey for well over 20 years. Collaborating with him over these years has been nurturing and comforting.
To my precious children whom I love dearly, I hope music will touch you as it has for me. Last but not least, to my beautiful wife Baljeet who has been a constant source of support for my musical endeavors. Her understanding and love for my musical pursuits has made this journey fulfilling and meaningful. I truly appreciate and love her with my whole being.
Onkar Singh – onkarsinghmusic.com