BUENA PARK / LOS ANGELES, CA - Bringing together one of the oldest religious traditions, Jainism with one of the youngest religions, Sikhism, can be challenging. However, Loyola Marymount University’s Theological Studies Department and The Uberoi Foundation worked together successfully in this endeavor.
Nirinjan K. Khalsa, Clinical Professor Jain and Sikh Studies at Loyola Marymount expounded on the topic ‘ Engendering the Female Voice in Sikh Devotional Music.’She spoke on how women in India are not permitted into all-male vidhayalas (institutes) which train professional raagis (Sikh devotional musicians) and how there is a trend towards women learning Gurbani Kirtans.
Bhai Baldeep Singh, a Gurbani Kirtan exponent spoke on ‘Kirtan Parampara: Memory, Music, and the Oral Tradition of Gurbani Sangeet.’ Aleksandra Gordeeva, a PhD candidate in Asian Religions from Yale University, examined poems and plays from the voluminous literature dedicated to the renowned Jain minister Vastupala.
The lectures were followed by evening concerts consisting of Sikh Kirtan with Dr. Francesca Cassio and Jain Stavan with Nikhil Dhami. The highlight of Feb 27 was a change in venue to the Jain Center of Southern California in Buena Park which hosted the evening concert. Jain Stavan with Vina Jhaveri and a Sikh Kirtan with Bhai Baldeep Singh kept the audience mesmerized as it brought the devotional music of the two religions and cultures to life. Anyone interested in learning more about Jain and Sikh cultures and music traditions can do so by visiting the exhibit ‘Sikh Devotional Music and Jain Temples’ at the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University which is open to the public until March 19 from 8 am till 8 pm.