Eeshar Singh

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In the heart of Yorkshire, the music of India thrives in the hands of young santoor virtuoso Eeshar Singh. Born and raised in Bradford, his musical journey began at the SAA-UK Hindustani Academy where he discovered his passion for Indian classical music. Since then, he has become a sought-after artist, gracing stages across the UK with his unique approach to traditional Indian music. 

Singh’s journey with the santoor – a rare and beautiful instrument – began quite serendipitously. During a family trip to India in 2003, Singh’s father was riveted by a santoor in a shop window. At the time, Singh was only five years old. The family unassumingly brought the instrument back to the UK, where it stayed in the loft for two years, until Singh’s seventh birthday.   

His father had brought the instrument back from a family trip to India, and they began to dabble with it, learning sargams themselves. When his ustad Harjinder Matharu settled in Leeds, Eeshar's destiny was set. Matharu, himself a student of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, who is known to have brought the santoor into Indian classical music repertoire, became Singh’s guru and mentor. 

Singh’s dedication to the preservation and elevation of the santoor is evident in his passion for the instrument. He describes the santoor as having spiritual power, drawing him to tears with its heavenly sound.  

Yet elevating and preserving the art form is precisely Singh’s aim, and one he has dedicated himself to since childhood. A look inside the playlist of young Singh’s iPod or Mp3 player would have revealed a rich smorgasbord of santoor music. “I was always a bit of a santoor geek,” he admits. Till date, “Every bit of music I know by heart is santoor music.”   

But to him, the santoor is not just an instrument; it's a medium to connect with the divine. His music reflects the strength of spirituality and is inseparable from it. 

Singh approaches each raga, or melody, through the lens of slowly getting to know it, just like getting to know a friend. As he delves deeper into a raag, it becomes a tangible personality and aesthetic, imprinting itself on him, and he on it. His music reflects the personality of the raga, evoking its energy and emotion, bringing it to life. 

He likens encountering a raag to getting to know someone. One may start with the small talk, the technicalities and the riyaz. But slowly, it becomes a much deeper discussion until ultimately, “You reach that point when your personality is imprinted on the raag, and the raag is imprinted on you. That is what we pursue as musicians.”   

He also enjoys deepening his experience by having the reference of the words, such as Baba Farid’s profound metaphysical poetry with the music. “It’s beautiful to make that link. The raag comes alive because of that person, and the person comes alive because of the raag,” shares Singh.   

His music is a testimony to his dedication to the santoor, to preserve its legacy, and to take it to new heights. His love for the instrument is infectious, drawing listeners into a world of pure, soulful sound that touches the heart and lifts the spirit.  

For Singh, the santoor is not just an instrument; it's a friend, a partner in creating music that connects the human spirit to the divine. 

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