When Manjit Singh expressed his interest in music as a teenager, the response from his parents was negative.
“You should become a professional and earn a good name and income,” they said and enrolled him at an engineering college.
“Life will be so ‘mechanical’ as an engineer. I want excitement and creativity in life,” he said, but they were not convinced.”
There was little that a 15-year-old lad could do those days. However, as he got closer to music and heard the mellifluous voices of some of the stalwarts in the field, Manjit became more determined to pursue a career as a singer and later as a teacher.
His involvement in the Cultural Society at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology accorded him opportunities to give vent to his talent. He brought home several trophies, prizes and certificates of excellence won at competitions. He made his parents proud but not enough to break their resolve to see their son as an engineer.
The passion for music was so strong that Manjit quit engineering without a warning.
“I became a symbol of failure to the members of my family and near relatives. I was however confident of making it one day as a good musician,” he said.
His journey as a professional singer began under the guidance of his Guru Ustad Kulwinder Singh, a Master of Tabla in Punjab and a disciple of the late Ustad Allah Rakha. Years later, with qualifications and expertise, Manjit joined a local school as a Tabla teacher.
Success was not far behind; in less than three years, he published his first CD called, Taal Sadhna, appeared at the National Youth Festival of India and toured extensively in UK, performing at a number of concerts.
An invitation from the New Zealand Sikh Society Hamilton in 2008 changed his life.
Teaching children to sing Kirtans and play the Tabla earned him the love and admiration of the community.
Manjit is now an Auckland resident, employed at the Sikh Heritage School owned and managed by the New Zealand Sikh Society Auckland Inc in Takanini. He also teaches music at the Manukau Indian Association.
He shares with his wife Daljeet Kaur, arguably their most precious treasure – their daughter Rhythmpreet.
They also share an ambition to establish a School to encourage people from all communities to learn Indian music.
Editor’s note: For more pictures of Manjit Singh, visit www.indiannewslink.co.nz
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