Guruji – Ustad Gurmit Singh Virdee

Bhai Gurmit Ji was one of the most talented Sikh tabla players of his generation, an inspirational teacher, a creative photographer and a deeply spiritual person. A practising Amritdhari Gursikh and Sevadar at the Birmingham-based Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ), he was also a tireless Keertania. Young tabla players sat in awe listening to marathon long tabla playing during keertan programmes that ran for several hours.Ustad Gurmit Singh Virdee

Energy, dedication and enthusiasm ran through all of Bhai Gurmit Ji’s interests. He was instrumental in setting up TAAL – Rhythms of India in 1987. TAAL raised the profile of tabla, elevated the status of tabla solos, gave exposure to UK based players as well as bringing in world-class tabla maestros, like Ustad Zakir Hussain. In 2004, Gurmit Singh Ji helped launch a unique virtual organisation, www.tablaonline.com, aimed at promoting Indian Classical Music at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

The spiritual journey often merged with Bhai Gurmit Ji’s creative endeavours. His interest in music arose while doing sewa at a local Gurdwara in Kenya where he spent his childhood. He learnt his art from respected masters like Bhai Mohinder Singh Bharaj, a disciple of Ustad Lashhman Singh, a much sought after tabla player from All India Radio. Later from Bhai Gurmit Ji became a disciple of Ustad Bahadur Singh Ji, a contemporary of Mian Kadar Bakash who also taught Ustad Alla Rakha Ji. Finally, he learnt from Pandit Samta Prasad Ji, a doyen of the Baneres gharana.

(reference: www.saazmusic.org)