Speakers & Performers

Who's Taking Part in Our Event

Keranjeet Kaur Virdee

Keranjeet Kaur Virdee MBE will be highlighting the work she has led as CEO and Artistic Director at South Asian Arts-uk (SAA-uk) in harnessing the power of music to enable and empower people from all walks of life.

The discussion will highlight the work she has led around celebrating Sikh and Hindustani music and will highlight SAA-UK’s ambitions for the next decade and beyond.She will also highlight how SAA-UK is enabling and empowering individuals and communities to participate in culturally relevant activities, develop confidence to be less insular and fearlessly share the richness of their artistic cultural practice with people from all walks of life while maintaining pride in cultural heritage, create and evolve through extraordinary experiences.

Dr Harjinder Laille

Harjinder is a renowned kirtani and parcharak. Harjinder learnt kirtan at the age of 6, when he was introduced to the Vaja by his mother. Subsequently he received tutelage under the learned scholar Professor Santokh Singh.

Harjinder was blessed with the sangat and tutelage of Baba Gajan Singh who taught him santheya, and Ustad Ranjit Singh who taught him tabla. In 1999, Harjinder met Ustad Surjit Singh Aulakh who began Harjinder’s education on tanti saaj. In the same year, Harjinder met Ustad Surinder Singh Saund (Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham), who became Harjinder’s vocal ustad. In 2007 Harjinder was fortunate to be blessed with the company of Bhai Baljit Singh (namdhari) under whose guidance Harjinder developed his knowledge and education in kirtan and tanti saaj.

His ‘day job’ is as an associate professor in Cyber Security at the University of Warwick. His passion and love is kirtan. Harjinder’s pedagogic philosophy is rooted in the Ustad-Shagirad relationship.

Namdhari Jatha UK

The Namdhari community are renown for preserving traditional Sikh music and kirtan. With an inherent emphasis on the guru-shishya relationship, the Namdharis have integrated music into their daily practice.

In this presentation, Kirpal Singh and the Namdhari Jatha will introduce the audience to the legacy of kirtan and music in the Namdhari community. From the early pioneers of classical music, the musical traditions and genres, through to the emphasis on kirtan. This will be followed by a performance of kirtan which affirms the ideas and thoughts conveyed in the talk.

Roopa Panesar

Roopa Panesar is considered one of the finest sitar players to emerge on the Indian Classical Music scene from the UK. She is a disciple of the renowned educationalist and leading musician of the UK, Ustad Dharambir Singh ji MBE (a disciple of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan), and was recognized as a talent for the future. She began her training at the age of seven, under her Guru until present day. She also learnt from the senior most disciple of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Arvind Parikh ji. Her musical vision has been enriched while receiving guidance from other outstanding musicians visiting the UK including Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pt Buddhaditya Mukherjee and Ustad Bahauddin Dagar.

Roopa has toured extensively in the UK, Europe and USA performing at prestigious venues and festivals and released her debut album “Khoj” in 2011. She performed in her debut tour of India in 2014 where she played to vibrant audiences in Delhi, Mumbai and SRA Kolkatta. She had a highly successful tour in USA in 2017 and has played in major festivals like Darbar Festival and Womad.

Aside from touring Europe, US and India she has made numerous BBC appearances, collaborated with Mercury Prize winner Talvin Singh and the. She released her debut album, Khoj (‘discovery’) in 2011. Roopa also played at the VJ75 memorial, in the presence of HRH Prince Charles, which was broadcast on BBC 1 and performed with Sir Simon Rattle for the CBSO 100 programme. Also qualified as a Chemical Engineer, Roopa made her choice to follow her musical passion and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional Sitarist. She is among a very small number of Indian females, worldwide, who have launched their careers as full-time touring Sitar players.

Charandeep Singh - Kirtan Fi

Kirtan Fi is the world’s first record label specialising in Hi-Res Lossless Gurbani Kirtan recordings. Kirtan Fi records, mixes, masters and publishes primarily, live Gurbani Kirtan, ranging from big Kirtan Smagams (events) to private sessions (studio sessions) with individual Keertani and/or Jathas. Kirtan Fi is jathebandi agnostic (non-partisan) to style / genre of Kirtan. Such as Raag, Non-Raag, Akhand Kirtan, Western or Fusion.

Kirtan Fi is spearheading the future of digital Gurbani Kirtan recordings and not only looking forward, but also into the rich and beautiful historic past of Gurbani Kirtan. Remastering of Puratan Kirtan (old Kirtan) recordings is an absolute must to help preserve our heritage, however, also to present to the world the history of Sikh Music and our Guru-given colourful heritage.

The opportunity to work on legitimately, the absolute definition of “Puratan Kirtan” recordings is beyond comprehension. These never-before-heard recordings are an absolute treasure of the Sikh Khalsa Panth dating back as far as recording technology goes.

Narinderjit Laille

Narinderjit has a deep passion for spreading the teachings his Guru ji passed down to him. Rooted in the ethos that learning should be experiential and not just a transfer of knowledge.

His teaching is inspired by the oral tradition, where students are challenged to use a wider range of senses and techniques to support their learning.

Narinderjit has been engaged in teaching and performing for over 30 years. He is a disciple of the legendary Pandit Sharda Sahai and the Benaras style of tabla. Having been performing kirtan since a very young age with his brother, Harjinder Singh, Narinderjit has developed a keen interest in solo Tabla performance.

Tabla classes are full of fun but also very structured so students develop and enjoy the process at the same time. Classes incorporate peer-to-peer learning and students are set objectives to pass on their own learning to other peers every week. This reinforces their experience of their own lesson, ensuring lessons are retained and deeply ingrained.

Harminder Singh - GSA

Harminder Singh Dhinsay is a Programme Manager working for a global insurance broker and an alumni of the University of Warwick. One of the first students of the GSA (the Gurmat Sangeet Academy) and now a director and tutor supporting students of all ages as they begin their Tanti Saaj journey.