Prabhu Nam Kaur has a profound mastery of the sound current and is the mother of one of the most successful sacred music artists to date, Snatam Kaur. She is able to evoke a deeply sacred space with her devotional music. She has been studying the language Gurmukhi for more than 30 years and takes great joy in her ongoing studies of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy text of the Sikhs. She is one of the leading Ragis (musicians) in the Sikh community of the West, and is a well-known teacher of the Gurmukhi language and its musical form, Gurbani.
Prabhu Nam Kaur has been singing sacred mantra and shabad from the Kundalini Yoga and Sikh traditions for more than 35 years. She aspires to sing these songs of God with devotion, so that their wisdom and beauty can shine forth, and so that listeners can find their own ability to sing and experience them as well. Her most recent CD is titled, Seasons of the Soul, released in June 2010 by Spirit Voyage Records. She has also recorded the CD Mother’s Blessing.
Prabhu Nam Kaur began taking piano lessons when she was 5 years old until she was 20, and studied the flute for a few years in high school. She sang in the school choir and with her sisters at home, for fun. She never had any formal training in voice, but all the years of piano lessons transferred easily over to harmonium! Wanting to do justice to Gurbani Kirtan taught her a lot about singing. The first shabad she ever learned was Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur, in a class taught by Amarjeet Kaur in Los Angeles in 1974. She studied later briefly with Jasbir Kaur. Both of these teachers had come to teach at the request of the Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan. In 1977, she went to Amritsar and met Bhai Hari Singh, who played at the Golden Temple for 54 years before retiring. She has continued studying with him whenever the opportunity has arisen, both in India and in the US when he has travelled here.
Prabhu Nam Kaur says that her daughter, Snatam Kaur, continually inspires her, and if she has taught Snatam about music, Snatam has certainly taught Prabhu Nam much as well. Yogi Bhajan taught that the basis of being a singer of Gurbani Kirtan is a willingness to serve the shabad, quite a spiritual practice in itself. She looks forward to deepening that practice.
She lives in San Leandro, California, USA, and is married to Sat Santokh Singh, who teaches Self-Worth workshops throughout Europe and the US. She is the mother of Snatam Kaur, who travels the world sharing her music. She teaches yoga and kirtan. She has six children altogether, ranging in age between 21 and 46. By name: Andrew, Jiwan Shakti Kaur, Snatam Kaur, Nam Kirn, Steven, and Rishi Parbhaat Singh.
Snatam Kaur writing about her mother, Prabhu Nam Kaur:
“Somebody asked me once what it is like hearing my mother sing….. When I hear her sing it is like hearing my own voice. How can you explain something like that? In the womb she sang to me, throughout my child hood she sang to me. When I hear her sing it takes as about as much effort as it takes a person to look at the palm of their hand for me to sink deeply into a state of bliss…If you have ever seen my mother sing the Shabad Guru it is like watching someone who is absolutely and deeply in love. ….Her voice gently dances through the space around her, reverberating off of the bedroom walls and echoing into the living room, bathroom, the whole house, and floating out the windows. The Shabad Guru became a part of the house, a part of us, so familiar that you almost don’t remember that she is singing, because the whole house is singing.”
Watch Prabhu Nam Kaur and Snatam Kaur at the 2011 Sacred Chant Retreat in Costa Rica
Part 1 – Kaval Nain Part 2 – Deh Shiva Part 3 – Govinda Govinda