From Amritsar we were invited to Batala to stay with Dr. Gurinder Singh (aka. ‘Dr. Sahib’) a humble dentist by trade and also a fabulous vocalist at the same time! We met him in London when he was touring the UK with his group (which you can see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2cPJsiY3xw). We felt so welcomed by them all as they housed us, fed us and showed us around Batala!
Today we paid an intriguing visit to a master Sarangi maker hidden in the small town of Nawanshahar in Punjab. Armed with an address and telephone no. by Dr Sahib and in the knowledge that the aforementioned has made Sarangis for the sons of none other than the late Sarangi maestro Ustad Sultan Khan, I didn’t know what to expect when the rickshaw driver dropped us off in front of what seemed an ordinary house on a quiet little side street. What a pleasant surprise when we walked in to find a sweet old man with a smile on his face sitting in a shaded corner of the courtyard carving away at a block of wood with his tools. We spent a lovely afternoon at his house as he talked us through the instruments that he and his forefathers have made. Unfortunately he didn’t have a completed Sarangi which i could purchase and considering a new one takes 2 months to make by hand I decided to chance my luck at picking one up further down the line around Delhi. That said, we left feeling so enriched by simply spending some time in his presence (despite not sharing a language in which we could communicate in!).