Kids Corner

Image below, first from bottom - The Dya Singh Group: left to right - Keith Preston, Parvyn Kaur, Harsel Kaur, Andrew Clermont, Dya Singh, Jamel Kaur and Dheeraj Shreshtha. Second from bottom: l to r - Saffal Singh, Parvyn Kaur, Saahiel Kaur, Dya Singh.

             with Saffal Singh



Singing With Dad:
A Daughter Reminisces on
Dya Singh



I was five the first time I remember tottering on stage behind my father.

The lights were bright, the theatre felt cosy and I could hear the crowd rustling as they settled in their seats. Throughout the performance, I sat cross-legged in front of my older sisters, nervously singing along with my dad in chorus.

My sisters would argue that for the first few years, I simply sat on stage looking cute, pretending to sing. I had no idea we were creating a unique style of world music.

My father, Dya Singh, had put together some of Adelaide's best musicians that had been rehearsing for weeks - but as always with Dad, you never knew exactly what to expect when he went on stage.

These memories come flooding back to me as I stand in front of a wall of audio tapes lining Paul Petran's Music Deli office at ABC Radio National in Melbourne. I'm here doing an internship as a music producer and journalist. Music Deli has been producing live recordings of various artists since 1986.

I'm surrounded by rows of recordings from Port Fairy Folk Festival to Womadelaide, with artists I've grown up listening to, like Jeff Lang and Sheila Chandra.

I feel like I'm at the epicentre of live music recordings in Australia. I've been getting lost with the variety of sounds and music I've been hearing. I've also been keeping a keen ear out for recordings of the Dya Singh band that I have been a part of for the last 20 years.

It's an amazing journey growing up in the Dya Singh World Music group.

I have been touring internationally since I was five, sharing the cultural and religious music of the Sikh people in our own Aussie style. Performing in all the major Australian folk and world music festivals, I've been exposed to a wide range of music.

The music we do has a spiritual essence that promotes universal truths of love and equality. My father is not only a great musician, but also sings with pride and passion for his beliefs. My inspiration comes from the foundation he has given me and through his music, I've had the opportunity to explore my own voice and develop my own musical career - but after spending time with Music Deli, I've realized that there are so many other ways to share music with the world.

*   *   *   *   *

I've described two Dya Singh recordings from the Music Deli archives below - to illustrate the range of his work.


2003 Bellingen World Music Carnival

One of the first recordings of Dya Singh was by Music Deli in 1988 at an event for the Adelaide Fringe promoting multi-cultural harmony and showcasing talent from immigrant communities. I was only three at the time and had fallen asleep before Dad even started playing.

A few years later, in 1992, Dad decided to make music his profession and began performing more regularly.

Music Deli has recorded Dya Singh several times over the past twenty years.

This is a recording and interview with Dya Singh from 2003 at the Bellingen World Music Carnival. I was in my final year of high school that year, so didn't travel with Dad much but my sister, Harsel, was representing the girls, along with musicians Keith Preston, Dheeraj Shrestha and Andrew Clermont.

2007 Multicultural Arts Victoria Concert Series

The latest recording was taken at a concert series presented by Multicultural Arts Victoria in Iwaki Auditorium in June 2007. My niece Saahiel Kaur, 6, and nephew Saffal Singh, 4, sat between Dad and I on stage for the first time at that concert.

Through the performance, I noticed how their nervous excitement changed as they got more comfortable with singing into the microphones in front of a large audience. It reminded me of how I felt when I was five years old on stage, unsure about what I was doing, but after some time, developing into a natural performer. I felt a responsibility to encourage and support the next generation just as I had been, being brought up in such a musical and diverse environment.


[Courtesy: Music Deli]

June 20, 2009

Conversation about this article

1: Sant Joeji (Adelaide, Australia), June 21, 2009, 2:04 AM.

Parvyn, I want to congratulate you for the write-up on Bhai Sahib Dya Singh, your dad. Bhai Sahib has indeed brought Sikhi to another level of appreciation for us and this indeed has motivated the youth and kept them in the fold. Keep up your good work and may Waheguru bless you in all your endeavours.

2: Amrit (Brisbane, Australia), July 02, 2009, 10:23 PM.

Dear, you certainly are an inspiration to the next generation. Your unique sense of self and certainty of who you are, are no doubt treasured lessons the kiddos will take from you. Mwah! and hugs to you.

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A Daughter Reminisces on
Dya Singh "

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