On February 7, 2021, Mohinder Partap Singh succumbed to COVID, leaving the community and his family devastated. . Today, his son Kabir took on the challenge of documenting his father’s life and musical legacy in a film.
âThere is a Partap brother in all of us – radical, irreverent, revolutionary,â says Kabir, adding: âSant Partap, my grandfather, the patriarch of the Partap family and the father of the Partap brothers, embodied these characteristics, influencing an entire generation of the Sikh faith prior to his passing in 2018. The brothers skillfully pursued their fathers’ iconic contribution to the Sikh faith and art form, transcending both traditional expectations and honoring tradition. we walk a tightrope between generation, faith, creativity and authenticity.
While their love for Puratan Gurmat Sangeet always came first, the brothers were progressive, choosing Western musical instruments from an area often defined by its aesthetic purity. Davinder is famous for taking the violin back to mid-performance, while simultaneously maintaining his famous vocal integrity. He is credited with being one of the first and only artists to do so on the international stage. Davinder recalls: âMohinder Partap Singh played those taals that no musician had ever played before. Mohinder’s tabla knowledge and mastery was so deep, nuanced, intricate and intricate, Mohinder was not a teacher, he was the seminal tabla school himself! Even more remarkable and rare was his ability to accompany me vocally while playing the tabla – his memory and recitation of Gurbani was unprecedented.
The youngest of the Partap brothers, Ravinder says, âDavinder and Mohinder had the unmatched ability to take centuries-old musical compositions and techniques out of textbooks and transform them into scintillating and complex live performances. The balance they found between rhythm and melody brought the bandits to life on stage with a brilliance and depth never seen before in classical Indian music. They have explored and mastered frontiers that others have not even begun to explore.
As members of an often conservative artistic community with predominantly classical themes, the Partap brothers themselves have remained unabashed. They loved to pair turbans and beards with mandarin costumes, bell bottoms and distinct silk prints in a style all their own.