Kundalini yoga music is often characterized by its sweetness. Many of the Kundalini yoga music albums in my collection are sung by women with angelic voices, dripping with sweetness like honey from a honeycomb. But lest anyone get the impression that male artists can’t keep up, Gurunam Singh’s debut album The Journey Home will set the record straight: men can make beautiful Kundalini yoga music too!
Gurunam Singh started writing his own music after high school. After he was introduced to Kundalini Yoga and Sikh practices at the age of 22, his musical practice shifted to chanting and writing devotional music. He has spent some time studying classical Indian music, though his albums reflect his Western influences as well. What stands out most about Gurunam Singh’s music is its stunning simplicity. On The Journey Home you won’t hear a lot of complex vocal improvisations or runs. Instead Gurunam lets the tone of his voice and the power of the mantras do all the work.
The Journey Home starts off with “Ong Namo – I Bow” and “Gobinday Mukunday – Eight Names,” both gentle tracks. That isn’t to say they are slow, they aren’t sung like lullabies. But the quality of the singing isn’t forceful or intense; Gurunam’s voice is really soothing in tone. Where the first two tracks are gentle, “Mul Mantra – Root of Existence” is peppier. It almost feels like Gurunam wanted to take the soothing, mellow energy created by the first two songs and transform it into a celebration using these sacred words of Guru Nanak. On “Mul Mantra” Gurunam’s enunciation of each word gives it a crisp feel, which works really nicely with the underlying beat.
“Pavan Guru – Lord of the Wind” has a really nice drum beat, which gives a nice, light balance to the strong tone of Gurunam’s singing. More than the previous tracks, his voice has an intense, almost heavy quality to it. I could easily include this in a hatha yoga music mix, where it would provide a nice soundscape for asana practice. “Ardas – Prayers” has a beautiful string accompaniment, and nice vocal harmonies. Because the mantra is so simple, this is a really easy track to sing along with.
“Dukh Par Har – From Pain to Peace” is a real departure from the rest of the album. It’s the most intense track on the album vocally and instrumentally. Gurunam’s voice really pulls you along, drawing you into the rhythm of the words. The first time I ever heard this track I felt intimidated by the speed of the mantra, but it’s so easy to pick it up and to get lost in the sound of the words and music. Finally, “Thou Art the Lover” is an English devotional offering, and really shows the emotional depth of Gurunam’s voice. When singing the verses his voice has an open, almost vulnerable quality. I always love to get a glimpse of the relationship between singer and their words, and Gurunam delivers the full experience here.
The Journey Home is Kundalini yoga music at its finest. Gurunam Singh is so unassuming when he sings. It never seems like he is “performing” or trying to put on a show. What you get is devotion, pure and simple. The Journey Home is a really soothing album overall, and would be a valuable addition to anyone’s yoga music collection. Find out more about Gurunam Singh and all of his albums on www.spiritvoyage.com .