Gurunam Singh’s new release “Change”, his fifth solo album, was produced by Thomas Barquee, a master of mantra production who works regularly with Snatam Kaur. Gurunam’s music is soulful and inventive, and this new album takes his music to a new level. After his albums “The Journey Home“, “Silent Moonlight Meditation,” “Honoring the Divine Feminine” and “Crimson Sadhana“, fans have been eagerly awaiting his next release, and they will not be disappointed. Richly layered with sarod, guitar, harmonium, bansuri flute, esraj, santoor and tablas, this album is dripping with reverence and mystery.
Gurunam’s “Change” opens with the rousing “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh”, which calls on your soul to express its own victory, nobility and strength. It opens the album with power and depth, calling upon each of the 10 Sikh Gurus and allowing Gurunam to authentically express his love and devotion for his spiritual path. A battle cry for peaceful warriors, Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh stirs the soul and your chanting muscles.
The second track “Har ji” takes a different direction, bringing the chanter into meditation. Designed for use with the powerful “Breaking the Mask” meditation, this mantra shatters duality. It helps the chanter to come directly back into connection with the Divine without separation or illusion in the way. The mantra is “Har Ji Har Har Har Har Har Ji”. Har is the creative aspect of the Divine. Ji is the soul and is a word of closeness and intimacy. When you chant this mantra you are placing your soul very close to the creative flow of Infinity. The driving pace of Gurunam’s vocals lift and elevate the listener and support you during a challenging meditation. It’s hypnotic sounds also make for smooth listening outside of a meditation and would be a lovely addition to almost any Kundalini yoga kriya as background music.
“Ant Na Siftee” is a track absorbed in elevation and good feelings. The 24th Pauri of Japji, this mantra helps to dissolve negative family karma. It dissolves familial patterns and breaks through karma with the strength of a thunderbolt. Gurunam’s version is less a prayer for this to happen and more a celebration that it has happened. He is joyous and expansive with his vocals and the supporting musicians caught his positive vibe. This song drips with positive affirmation and will put a smile on your face and in your heart.
The fourth song on this album is the title track “Change”. Sure to be an instant classic, this song highlights Gurunam’s skills as a poet. The beats catch you right under your ribs and raise you up to dance. The lyrics will stay with you long after the song ends: “I couldn’t change thing, but even if I could, it would only change back until my soul understood what it needed to learn, or I’d continue to burn in a lie and even though I try, I couldn’t change a thing.” Gurunam’s passions, creativities, and sensitivities spill forth with lyrics like “I’ve got a million rhymes like the world’s got flowers, Got a million songs to bloom in the dark hours, Got a million ways to move you, Got a million ways to soothe you.” If you have the fortune of seeing Gurunam play this song live, you’ll see the crowds erupt when he starts playing it and get straight onto their feet to dance. This song is full of liberation and freedom. It is an anthem of acceptance and spiritual growth. Dance to it!
“Dhan Siri Guru Gobind Singh” is a true Sikh’s song for his spiritual father. Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, who founded the “Khalsa”, the concept of Sikhs as a spiritual family. He was a great soldier saint who protected his people physically and energetically. Gurunam praises him with “Dhan Siri Gobind Singh,” honoring him and connecting him with Gobinda, the energy of the Universe which is merciful and beloved. This track is so deeply layered and mysterious, you can get lost in the layers of devotion, as if you are chanting with an entire temple and not just one man.
The mantra “Namo Namo Dev Guru” was given by Yogi Bhajan as a “subtle mantra that refines your intention and clarity through devotion – bhakti. It imbues your mind with gratitude at the feet of the Infinite One. It removes fear. It kindles an intimate conversation between the Infinite and your Heart.” It’s easy to fall in love with this mantra. Gurunam has you at “Namo”. There is such sincerity and love in his voice, that it opens up a space for you to blossom. The sound of the tablas becomes a river that the song floats down and your heart gets swept up in the current. Chanting along to this track is like falling in love. You get swept away and never want to return. Although this mantra is not common in Kundalini yoga practice, it becomes familiar very quickly. “Namo Namo Dev Guru/Guru Dev Namo Namo/Ram Das Guru Ram Das Guru/Akal Saroop Akal Saroop Sat Guru”. It’s a sequence of surrendering. First you bow to the intelligence of the divine, then you bow to the wisdom of your heart, then you bow to the Infinite. The act of bowing becomes a paradox; in the process of bowing yourself down, you are lifted up.
“Unto Thee” is a song that Gurunam Singh fans have been asking him to record for years. These delicate, intimate lyrics take you to a place of incredible devotion. “Give up the fear of darkness surrounded in the light, Give up fear of being wrong and the need to be right, Unto Thee, Unto Thee, Unto Thee, Unto Thee, I give everything I am Unto Thee.” The simple arrangement gives the space for Gurunam’s vocals and beautiful words to speak directly to your heart. Let it all go. Leave it all behind. The only thing – the ONLY thing – that matters is the Divine. Allow yourself to be filled with peace, with love, and with kindness.
Gurunam holds the space for a profound change to occur within you. He sings with the wisdom of someone who knows that the world is just divine play, and the emotion of a man who has felt both pained by life and uplifted by it. He holds the space for us all to Change, to grow, to live and to love. Gurunam Singh’s “Change” is a masterful dance between a rising star in the kirtan world and a producer who understands people’s souls. The result is something beautiful, and I wouldn’t Change a thing, even if I could.