SANT PARTAP SINGH
The great Sant Partap Singh Ji was born on May 2nd, 1929 to Balwant Singh and Gulab Kaur in Bohar Wala Wadala, a village in the Indian State of Punjab. He began performing harmonium and singing at age 10, learning from legendary tabla performers Bhai Taba and Bhai Lal (Fakhre a-Punjab). He was encouraged by his parents to pursue Kirtan, or the musical narration of holy Sikh scriptures, and by the age of 18, Sant Partap Singh Ji had become head Ragi (musician) in the Gurdwaras of Dera Sahib and Nankana Sahib before partition, as well as Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Delhi, India and Patna Sahib. Of all of his great performances, he has the fondest memories of playing music at these renowned Sikh temples.
Sant Partap Singh Ji later mastered the violin and piano, and is known around the world for his singing of classical Indian ragas, light classical ragas, Thumri, and Puratan-style Kirtan. He draws inspiration not only from classical Kirtan, but all genres of Indian classical music. He credits the great Bhai Taba ji with his training.
In 1952, at the age of 22, Sant Partap Singh Ji became the first Ragi to perform in Burma accompanied by his brother Bhai Ram Singh Ji. On the same trip, he visited Malaysia and Singapore, performing to audiences in both nations. In 1968, Sant Partap Singh Ji traveled to Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq to perform, ending in England, where he would later visit with his family. Throughout his illustrious career, Sant Partap Singh Ji has had the great honor of performing alongside Ustad Mian Qadir Baksh (the great maestro of tabla), Bhai Taba Ji, Bhai Lal Ji, Bhai Sunder Singh Ji, Baba Malang Ji, Bhai Sain Ditta Ji, Bhai Santu Ji, and Bhai Desa Ji—all renowned Sikh, Hindu and Muslim performers who united to perform prior to the Partition of India. The great Sant Sujan Singh was also an admirer. He not only enjoyed listening to Sant Partap Singh Ji’s Kirtan—he also regularly joined Sant Partap Singh after Kirtan to reflect on the performance, and often sang Sant Partap Singh Ji’s compositions in his own performances.
In 1944, Sant Partap Singh married Jaswant Kaur, with whom he had 8 children, including Davinder, Mohinder, and Ravinder—The Partap Brothers—each of whom has gained global recognition in their own right. He visited the United Kingdom in 1972, and shortly after that, he traveled to Canada and the United States of America. In 2013, Sant Partap Singh Ji was recognized as one of the most senior Ragis of his era.
Sant Partap Singh Ji passed peacefully on October 16th, 2018 at the age of 96. He credited his health and mental dexterity to his passion for performing Gurmat Sangeet daily. He was surrounded by family and loved ones.