Reflections on June 2015

manika-kaur-reflections-1506-001This month I’ve come to the end of editing two important projects: my music video for the track ‘Aukhee Gharhee’ and the live footage of a concert I gave earlier in the year in Dubai.

The music video for ‘Aukhee Gharhee’ will be released very soon via my social media channels – stay tuned. It was shot on location in rural Punjab and features some of the children I support through their school education via Kirtan For Causes. Editing was a challenging process owing to the hot and dusty conditions within which we filmed. It was imperative to me to present the video positively, to highlight the beauty and joy that lies within the region and within the hearts of the young people that live there. I wanted to focus on their zest for life, their love of learning and their contagious sense of fun and mischief. One of my favourite moments in the film shows a gaggle of kids collapsing into giggles, smiles broad and wide on each of their innocent faces. The final scene shows lush meadows bathed in golden light and the sacred Harmandir Sahib. Another focus for the video was to illuminate how education can bring happiness, so I chose ‘Gian Di Jyot’ (which means ‘knowledge is light’) as the theme for the video.

What we don’t show in the video is the humid conditions on the day nor the glaring sun that shone at seriously full beam for three days straight. Violinist Jyotsna Srikanth and I, along with all the children and crew involved, were absolutely exhausted by the end of the shoot, having re-taken scenes over and over to capture just the right balance of light and dark, shadow and line, fun and poignancy. Though the shoot and edit were hard, thanks to everyone involved and the efforts of Clockwork Studios, Mumbai, the artistry came good. I’m thrilled with the results and can’t wait to share it with you – stay tuned.

This June I also completed editing a video of the open-air evening concert I gave to my family and friends in Dubai back in February of this year. Looking back through the footage, memories of that magical concert fill my heart with delight and sweet, starlit music. I was honoured to have so many guests at this concert to support the album and project. Myself and master percussionist Talvin Singh rehearsed for three days prior and performed together seamlessly at the show.

I can’t wait to perform Talvin again at The Union Chapel, London on the 22nd August 2015. Each time I travel abroad, meeting new Sikh brothers and sisters and revelling in the mystery and splendour of kirtan with them, I am reminded how blessed I am and how it is my duty to dedicate my life’s work to Kirtan For Causes.

This month I was also interviewed and featured on the cover of Australian magazine, Indian Link. In the piece journalist Preeti Jabbal described listening to my music as ‘like sinking into warm, plush grass and staying there all day; gazing at the sky and letting the sound envelope you’.

The month ahead will be a busy one, jam-packed with rehearsals for my London debut on the 22nd August. At The Union Chapel I will perform with a full live band, a feat I haven’t completed before. As a young woman I began to sing kirtan whilst accompanying myself on the harmonium as is common practice. Nowadays I often sing with both live musicians and a backing track at once. This time I will sing completely live with a large ensemble of esteemed musicians. What’s more, I’ll be performing my own brand new compositions. My nerves are beginning to stir, but I’m ready for the challenge and confident it will be a night of spiritual awakening and musical discovery – all raising money for not just a good, but a vital cause, the education of our children. All profits from ticket sales go directly to Kirtan for Causes, I do hope to see you there. Waheguru Ji 🙂