Dr Gurnam Singh Ji was first introduced to kirtan by his father Bhai Uttam Singh Ji. He later studied kirtan under Patiala’s famous Professor Tara Singh, was inspired to make this his life's work and the rest speaks for itself.
Founder and head of the Gurmat Sangeet Chair at Punjabi University in Patiala of which he is currently the Dean, Dr. Singh is currently compiling the Sant Sucha Singh Archives of Music. In these archives, various styles of ragas sung by famous ragis and artists are being preserved, along with an online music library. Recently Dr. Gurnam Singh has compiled Gurmat Sangeet Sandarbh Kosh (terminology and dictionary of Gurmat Sangeet) and has also written a myriad of literature - 18 books, 123 research papers and over 200 research articles on varying topics from Sikh Musicology to Raag Prabandh and Qualities of an Ideal Kirtanist.
Known for reviving shabad kirtan with original string instruments at Darbar Sahib, Dr. Singh was also the first to sing shabad kirtan in all 31 ragas and 31 raga forms from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji - to date, he has done so 3 times. Referring to Dr. Singh’s efforts, SGPC President Avtar Singh said “The Sikh community is thankful to Dr Gurnam Singh, who has helped in saving the great traditions of Sikh musicology well in time.”
Classical vocalist ‘Singh Bandhu’ Surinder Singh says, “With his contributions, Gurnam Singh has become an institution of music. He has done more work than dozens of institutions put together.” Famous Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh has appreciated Dr. Singh by stating he is “...an authority on Gurmat Sangeet” and has collaborated with Dr. Singh on a shabad CD called Dhur Ki Bani in which famous Indian singers have sung.
As an authority in Gurmat Sangeet, Dr. Gurnam Singh has been acknowledged nationally and internationally - Shiromani Ragi Award by Punjab Government (2001), Senior Fellowship by Sangeet Natak Academy (2003), State Award by Punjab Government (2010), Shiromani Ragi Award by SGPC (2011) and for the year 2017, he received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy Award by the President of India. A renowned Kirtaniya and scholar, Dr. Gurnam Singh is destined to create history and new milestones. “The only goal of my life is to make people aware of the true value of Gurmat Sangeet,” says Dr. Singh.