There are very few groups left in Himachal who follow the folk traditions as they are, in their original forms. The folk music and dance traditions of Kullu engages more than twenty people together at once. It is always in group formations, which has half people who are singing and the other half dance in doubles. Something apart from the songs and dance that is mesmerising is the dress that they adorn while performing. Sundar Singh and his group is one of the rare and unique groups who have managed to keep the traditions alive till now.
The dance that Sundar Singh and his group has mastered is known as Kulvi Nati. Kulvi Nati has 12 different types of Nati which are native to the state. This dance form is performed by the folk artists in a slow form in the beginning and pace gets faster with time and rotations of circles. This dance has also earned a listing in the Guinness Book of World records for being the largest performed folk dance of the world when more than 9000 women participated at the International Kullu Dussehra event which was dedicated toward spreading the message for the empowerment of women and girls across the world to promote Himachal government’s campaign of “Beti hai Ammo” which translates to “Daughters are priceless”. The people of Himachal Pradesh began to call this event “The pride of Kullu”.
The group members with Sundar Singh are highly talented and thorough with their music and dance. They have many years of experience in playing the folk instruments as they had started learning the same from a very tender age. The musical instruments used by the groups are Dho, Nagada, Narsingha, Karnal and Shehnai. The group is always up for wring new songs about nature, their surrounding and different situations and perform them at the local festivals and events.
Sundar Singh sings a song about Kuvi Dussehra which has reference of beautiful scenic locations and thus tries to captivate all of that in his songs. It brings out the beauty of the festival in connection to the families and friends and their unification at a social space , giving value to the society. The song somewhat goes like this:
Although the folk artists go through a lot of struggle at their end but still maintains the enthu for learning and exploring more at every point in time. This thought gave birth to the “Kashyap Narayan Yuvak Mandal ”, the name of the group which was conceived by them in their village Banogi, Kullu.Together they have performed almost everywhere in and around Himachal Pradesh. They have a favourite amongst them which is Kullu Dussehra and Una Utsav. Without fail they have been performing there for so many years. They wish to perform everywhere in the country and also international platforms.
A revolutionary vocalist from Banogi (a village in Tirthan valley), who unfortunately lost his father at a tender age of two and his mother during the early years of his school life. He moved in with his grandfather and began to take a deeper dive into the musical culture of Himachal Pradesh as he learned various forms of “Nati” (a traditional dance form that has earned a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records) from his guru, Balakram Ji. Inspired by the traditions of Himachal, he has played an instrumental role in the revival of folk music culture in the state and aims to showcase it across the globe. Sundar Singh began his journey in the field of music as a teenager and imbibed the skills from the elders of his village who would perform during various cultural fairs.
Sundar Singh started a music club in Banogi called “Kashyap Narayan Yuvak Mandal” in order to support and collaborate with new and upcoming folk musicians in the region. His dream is to establish a music academy that specializes in traditional folk music and teaches the art to the youth so that the prolific musical displays of his culture never vanish into the western influence.