Some Firsts at the Hayward Gurdwara

Posted: 01 Sep 2011 05:59 AM PDT

Although I have done fusion music in private gatherings, and for long done it on recordings, yesterday was one of the first times we tried fusion music in the Hayward Gurudwara. (For those who do not know what a Gurudwara is, it is the “door of the guru” — the place of worship for disciples of my dear Guru Nanak)

And I say the royal “we” because it was also the first time that I played with a guitarist called Chris Pais. Chris is a mechanical engineer who works for FuelCells, Inc. I recently met him and he, like me, wants to play for the love of it.

We sang Malhar: “My heart is drenched when it thunders and my Guru’s words shower upon me. The music was loud; and people were not used to listening to it. Still, no one come at us with sharp objects; so I am encouraged that Gurudwaras might accept fusion music. After all Guru Nanak was the most popular fusion musician of his time; he didn’t have Gurudwaras to sing so he made the world his Gurudwara.

It was fun introducing Chris to the Gurudwara norms … he took off his shoes to get into the Gurudwara and covered his head with a scarf that was available outside. We had tea in the beginning; the program, as usual (unlike Indian norms) was very punctual and we had to abruptly end our tea break because we were up to sing. I gave an explanation of Malhar (Mian Ki Malhar versus the traditional Malhar). When I looked up to him at the end of our singing and asked if he was OK if we would donate the “tips” back for the community. He readily said yes. Then we had langar or the “community feast.” On the menu was a mixed vegetable, cholay, daal, dahi, kheer, jalebi and pakoras. Oh, langar is sooo good!
Chris was right. We should have taken a photograph of all the firsts. Looking forward to more live performances with Chris and fusion music.