SAFF 2020: Sunday

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sikhlens Talks II
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM PST

This event will be available online at the time listed above Pacific Standard Time at YouTube.com/Sikhlens

Check here to find your local date and time.

Programming is subject to change without notice.

Headshot Manika Kaur
Manika Kaur, Kirtan For Causes

Kirtan For Causes

Manika Kaur has become the fastest selling contemporary Sikh solo artist in the world, placing Kirtan in the European World Music Charts for the very first time and amassing over ten million views on YouTube.  Manika Kaur has become the standard bearer of the Kirtan tradition, taking the spiritual discipline into the mainstream through her unique interpretations and sheer talent. Her musical endeavors to raise funds for education projects in rural Punjab, India via her own charitable organization ‘Kirtan for Causes’. All profits from sales of her albums and live concerts are donated directly to the charity, which supports the education of disadvantaged youth.

Headshot Renee Singh
Renee Singh

Spiritual Life Coach

Renee Singh has been writing on Stress Management for over three decades for various newspapers and magazines in India, the US, and many countries around the World. Throughout her journey, she has been a Spiritual Life Coach, designing lives and lifestyles for people, maintaining her own perception of life, and how it fits into the modern everyday world with its own agenda and complete sense of values and ethics.

Being born into a Sikh family and being brought up by a grandmother who was almost a Saint was a huge blessing to Renee. She was initiated into the principles of the Sikh Faith by her grandmother, and although she studied in a British School in India and grew up embracing all faiths as pathways to reaching the ultimate Supreme Power, her respect and regard for the Sikh values remain unmatched. Living with the values of the Sikh faith has brought her to be who I am today. Writing columns on Stress Management and being able to spread the message of Universal Love. Renee is based in Chandigarh.

Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab

Paul Michael Taylor, from the famed Smithsonian Museum, guides a fascinating tour of a remarkable exhibit that managed to grab the attention of millions of passersby who were visiting the museum for other reasons. Sikh artifacts symbolize Sikh identity, and nowhere is the treasure trove of such artifacts on better display than the Smithsonian. Dr. Taylor provides social, political, and aesthetic context to a wide variety of objects, books, and historical stories, building an irresistible narrative of the Sikh experience from its inception until today.

Headshot Paul Taylor
Paul Michael Taylor, Research anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Paul Taylor
Behind the Scenes: Sikh Heritage at the Smithsonian

Research anthropologist (researcher) at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History; Curator of Asian, European, and Middle Eastern Ethnology; and head of that museum’s Asian Cultural History Program. An author or editor of numerous books and scholarly articles on the ethnography, ethnobiology, linguistic anthropology, and art or material culture of Asia; curator of twenty-one museum exhibitions (including five online virtual exhibitions); and anthropologist consultant for ethnographic films.


Sikhlens Talks III
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM PST

This event will be available online at the time listed above Pacific Standard Time at YouTube.com/Sikhlens

Check here to find your local date and time.

India, Empire and First World War Culture: Writings, Images, and Songs

Santanu Das takes viewers on a journey into The Great War (now known as WWI) and the unheralded contributions of Sikh soldiers, specifically one of them. German scientists recorded the spoken voices of hundreds of prisoners of war. What were Sikhs doing in Europe, where the Europeans were fighting amongst themselves? Why were Sikhs fighting for the British, who were subjugating them back home in India? Why has the Sikh contribution gone unacknowledged for a century, by Hollywood and the general public? Dr. Das puts it all in perspective as he spins a tale of brave young Sikh farmers-turned-combatants in the bloody trenches of Ypres and other theaters of war along the Western front. 

Headshot Professor Santanu Das
Professor Santanu Das, Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College and Professor of Modern Literature and Culture at the University of Oxford

Professor Santanu Das

Santanu Das is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College and Professor of Modern Literature and Culture at the University of Oxford. He is a leading authority on the First World War and has edited the Cambridge Companion to First World War Poetry (2014) and Indians Troops in Europe (2014). He has done many programs on War for the BBC, NDTV and Radio 4. His book India, Empire and First World War Culture (Cambridge, 2018), on which he will draw on for today’s talk, was awarded the Hindu Non-Fiction Prize in India, the Ananda Coomaraswamy Prize in the US and the European Society of Study of English Book Prize this year.

The Prisoner's Song
The Prisoner’s Song

Prisoner’s Song

Retired Colonel Perminder Randhawa serves as a guide to an 80-second audio recording made during WWI by Punjabi farmer Mal Singh, while he was a German prisoner of war. The British Empire recruited soldiers from all across the empire in their fight against Germany, and Mal Singh found himself captured at the Battle of Flanders in 1915.In this rare recording made by German scientists studying their multi-ethnic POWs, Singh tells his captors that he comes from a land “of butter and milk,” but now in European hands he is dying of hunger during their “War for Civilization.” Britain’s dubious promise to him and his family ends this unique and poignant glimpse into the past.

The Lions of London
The Lions of London

The Lions of London

Through vivid eyewitness accounts and the collective voice of historians, government leaders and community organizers, “Lions of London” reveals the tremendous contributions of the Sikh community in both World Wars l and II. Sikh ism has deep rooted values of fighting against tyranny and oppression. Sikhs are renowned as excellent fighters, dating back to their battles against the Mughal tyrants, and their bravery earned them the nickname of “lions” on the battlefield. The Sikhs continued this military tradition as they took up arms and joined the British in the fight for democracy in both World Wars, losing tens of thousands of soldiers in the fights for freedom. Their sacrifices and heroism are vividly remembered in “Lions of London.”

Sikhs Serving Humanity

The world is facing an unprecedented pandemic. Unfortunately, food insecurity has emerged as a major byproduct across the globe. In the Sikh spirit of Seva and Sarbat Da Bhalla, Sikhs internationally have been spreading our Guru’s ideals of Langar and serving local communities by the hundreds of thousands.  In this session, you will hear from nine Sikh organizations from all over the world who are trying to do their part to help alleviate the global issue of hunger surrounding all of us today. The constant, unifying drive behind all of their initiatives is their Sikhi principles, including the mandate of Vand Ke Chakna, which means to share all that Waheguru has blessed us with.

SEVA: The Selfless Mission
SEVA: The Selfless Mission

SEVA: The Selfless Mission

A profile of Randeep Singh Lall, a Sikh man who lives in Southall, West London. He established a non-profit organization called S.W.A.T (Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team) to help the homeless and other troubled souls around the UK. He brings the traditional Sikh idea of langar to the streets of London, serving hundreds of hot meals four days a week.

Khalsa Rising
Khalsa Rising

Khalsa Rising

After years of struggling with faith and purpose, Ravi Singh found his way back to the Sikh faith and a desire for ‘selfless service’ through his organization Khalsa Aid. For the past 16 years Ravi and his volunteers have been providing relief assistance around the world, most recently in Lebanon. We follow Ravi as he takes on the task of not only his organizations work, but what it means to be the face of an ever-growing non-profit.


Headshot Tarlok Chugh
Tarlok Chugh, Comedian

Comedian Tarlok Singh Chugh
Sunday 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM PST

Tarlok Singh Chugh, whose humorous viral videos boast over 20M views, did not have a conventional foray into comedy. He was born and grew-up in Punjab, India. He attended Punjab Engineering College and served in the Ministry of Defense – Ordnance Cable Factory for 15 years in Chandigarh. In 1981 he migrated to Calgary, Canada with his wife and two sons. There he worked in various industries including the railroad, plastics, and oil refinery before retiring as Document Controller in 2014.

Spreading laughter has been Mr. Chugh’s mission since he was born. Even as a young adult he was known to enliven any gathering by reciting his jokes for entertainment. It was only after retirement, at the age of 75 was Mr. Chugh able to devote the time necessary to his comedic talents. Immediately he became a world-wide phenomenon with his videos being shared across YouTube, WhatsApp, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.


Sikhlens Virtual Concert
Sunday 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM PST

Hosts Sundeep Morrison and Pavneet Mac host three hours of fifteen exciting performances. Our performers include musicians, spoken word artists, and even a comedian. These performances are brought to you by the many Sikhlens sponsors that have sponsored our in-person events in the past. This is new for them too, and we appreciate their support.

Headshot Sundeep Morrison
Sundeep Morrison, Actor, Activist, Author, Director, Writer

Hosted by Sundeep Morrison

Sundeep Morrison is a Punjabi Sikh writer, actress, director, author and activist. A graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy NY, her work focuses on social justice, cultural friction, inter-ethnic family dynamics and feminism. She is currently performing her critically acclaimed one woman show RAG HEAD about Sikhs in post 9/11 America. Inspired by actual events, RAG HEAD addresses hate, hope and American identity. RAG HEAD was recently chosen as a Top Ten production in Los Angeles by STAGE RAW. Sundeep is currently working on the film adaptation of RAG HEAD.

Pavneet Mac
Pavneet Mac, Master of Ceremonies

Hosted by Pavneet Mac

Pavneet Singh Mac is a corporate defense attorney who specializes in all things employment law. Yet, he still finds time to pursue his hobbies as a musician, an editor for Lakers Nation, and a zealous advocate for underrepresented and low-income communities through pro bono legal services. Pavneet was recently inducted into the Best Lawyers in America for their Ones to Watch accolade, given to attorneys earlier in their careers who have demonstrated outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.

Performers:

Himmat Singh

Himmat Singh is a singer and multi-instrumental artist known for his vocals and blend of multiple cultural styles. Born and raised in the Bay Area in California, he fell in love with music at a young age learning Gurmat Kirtan and developed his creative passions in Los Angeles. Himmat graduated from the University of Southern California with a dual degree in Computer Science and Business. He now works as a project manager in a technology company in the Bay Area, in addition to making music. Himmat works with a professional studio in San Francisco to create unique songs that blend genres of RnB, Soul, Pop, and Punjabi Folk. He writes his lyrics in English, Punjabi, and Spanish. Himmat is an independent artist who directs his music videos and composes his own song melodies. 

Himmat Singh
Himmat Singh

Sonny Singh

Sonny Singh is a Brooklyn-based musician and social justice educator. He has launched a solo project that reimagines the spiritual tradition of Sikh kirtan with boundary-defying Punjabi anthems to uplift & ignite. For the last decade, Sonny has brought his fiery trumpet playing and vocals to audiences around the world as an original member of the Brooklyn Bhangra outfit Red Baraat, touring heavily and releasing 5 studio albums. 

Sonny Singh
Sonny Singh

Absolute Focus

Jas and Kamaljeet Ahluwalia, are known as Absolute Focus. Kamaljeet plays the Santoor, a rare and exquisite hammered dulcimer from Kashmir. Jas plays the Tabla, a pair of North Indian drums with a vast range of sounds. Together this husband and wife duo, lovingly referred to as Absolute Focus, use their Indian Classical roots to walk an innovative path in music and art.

Absolute Focus
Absolute Focus

Dhol King Gurcharan Mall

Dhol King Gurcharan Mall, CEO and AMBASSADOR is a 68-year-old International Performing Artist. He has been promoting Dhol & Bhangra music for 52 years worldwide. In this time, he has become a Bhangra Historian, Artistic Director, Teacher, Singer, Music Producer, Writer & Choreographer. He is the holder of the British Empire Medal, and Lifetime Achievements Awards, 3 Personality Awards, Best Dhol player Award, and lots of other Awards.

King Gurcharan Mall
King Gurcharan Mall

Jaspreet Kaur

Jaspreet Kaur,better known as Behind the Netra for her poetry, is an award-winning spoken word poet, writer, and history teacher from London. She is currently working on her debut book, Brown Girl Like Me, a narrative non-fiction exploring what it means to be a Brown, British Feminist in this new decade. She was recently signed by the world-renowned publisher, Pan Macmillan, and is set to release her book in Autumn of 2021.  Jaspreet will be performing three different poems. 

Jaspreet Kaur
Jaspreet Kaur

Neelamjit Dhillon

Neelamjit Dhillon is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist composer based in Los Angeles; He is skilled in both North Indian classical and American jazz music, and his music reflects his own multifaceted identity and spirituality. Neelamjit performs a piece about the Komagata Maru. In 1914, the Komagata Maru, a vessel with 376 immigrants from British India, the majority of whom were Sikhs, became the first ship carrying migrants to be turned away by Canada. The consequences were felt throughout the British Empire as several hundred of Sikhs were returned home to join an armed struggle against the British, that would later be brutally crushed by the colonial authorities.   

Neelamjit Dhillon
Neelamjit Dhillon

Dhananjay Chauhan

Dhananjay Chauhan is a Leading Transgender Activist of North India who gained widespread recognition after becoming the first Transgender student at Punjab University after the landmark  National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India Judgement of 2014 of adding 3rd Gender to India, and becoming the towering transwoman behind the  building of the 1st Transgender washroom in a mainstream public university in India. Dhananjay is also the subject of the two-hour documentary “Admitted” about her life journey of transformation into a trans-woman.  

Dhananjay Chauan
Dhananjay Chauan

Ramneek Singh

Ramneek Singh is an internationally acclaimed Indian born Canadian, Hindustani Classical vocalist, originally from New Delhi, India. Now based in Canada, she has created her own niche in the music world through her unique style. Coming from the rich lineage of Ustad Amir Khan’s Indore Gharana, Ramneek is proficient in musical genres like Khayal, Thumri, bhajan, Sufiana and Folk. She has developed her unique style of presenting Shabad-Gurbani in classical genre, for which she has been critically acclaimed. She has performed all over Canada, USA, UK, Australia and India and her mesmerizing voice, that spans three octaves, leaves a lasting effect on audiences.

Ramneek Singh
Ramneek Singh

L-Fresh The Lion

Sukhdeep Singh, is best known by his stage name, L-Fresh The Lion. L-Fresh The Lion is an Australian hip hop artist who makes speaking up for inequality cool. He walks the walk and raps the talk; calling on his community work and Sikh faith for lyrical inspiration and to center his purpose in bringing people together: no matter what color, faith or how hairy your face might be. Growing up, L-FRESH studied the ‘tabla’ drums, an Indian Classical percussion instrument that he says, “was the foundation to understanding rhythm and how rhythm worked”.  

L-Fresh the Lion
L-Fresh the Lion

Rubin Paul Singh

Rubin Paul Singh has been actively involved with the Sikh community over the last 25 years. In addition to being a spoken word artist and writer, Rubin leads classes and facilitates workshops for Sikh youth throughout the US on gurmat, history, and human rights. He also guest teaches at local high schools on Sikh theology and practice.  Rubin is a technologist by training and runs a consulting practice for the nonprofit sector in the Washington, DC area. 

Rubin Paul Singh
Rubin Paul Singh

Pavan Mudhar

Pavan Mudhar is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and would like to pursue a career in Speech Language Pathology. She has been classically trained in Bharatanatyam and performs with the Arpana Dance Company. Pavan has been learning Gurmat Sangeet and Hindustani Classical music since the age of six and is currently receiving vocal training from her Guru Dayita Datta. She also loves playing the sitar and enjoys traveling the world. 

Pavan Mudhar
Pavan Mudhar

Tanveer Arora

Tanveer Arora is a Mumbai born Texas based comedian who has performed all over the US and even internationally. He is intensely disliked by his own family, as they are his key comedy subjects.  A two-time finalist in the Funniest in South Texas competition, he was also nominated as the best Stand Up Comic in San Antonio in 2019 and has acted in an award-winning short movie “En Route”.

Tanveer Arora
Tanveer Arora

Sangeeta Barjatya Jain

Sangeeta Barjatya Jain was born into a family that has been a pioneer in filmmaking and distribution in India. It was perhaps natural then for her to create a space for herself in this field, after a successful career. Her love for media from a young age, a creative mind which resulted in a degree in Hindi Hons Literature has resulted in her work ethic of artistic perfection. Her first venture in the media was a collection of Shabads which was released under the banner Barjatya Sisters; and is steadily gaining attraction on iTunes, Gaana, Spotify as well as Saavn. In addition to cutting an album on devotional music she wrote a short film on the renowned Gurudwara Shri Panja Sahib. 

Sangeeta Barjatya Jain
Sangeeta Barjatya Jain

Lily Swan

Lily Swarn is an Internationally acclaimed, multilingual poet, author, columnist, peace ambassador and radio show host with four books in different genres to her credit. She is also a Gold medalist from Chandigarh, with two University Colors for Dramatics and Histrionics.  She is highly awarded with over 45 various awards.  Celebrated internationally in “25 Wonderful Women of Excellence,” and “Women of Essence “books, Lily is now working on her 5th book. Her inspiration is her son who died young. Lily performs in Punjabi, English, and Urdu.

Lily Swarn
Lily Swarn

Kiran Ahluwalia and Rez Abbasi

Singer-songwriter Kiran Ahluwalia and multifaceted guitarist Rez Abbasi are a real-life couple and music world duo.  One is of Indian origin, and the other Pakistani. They perform love and breakup songs with equal conviction, exhilaratingly mixing Indian rhythms with West African Bluesy riffs, languid Jazz, and Indian improv.  The result is a merging of elegance and crispness, all with an easy, inviting charm. The music sounds raw and fresh, and yet familiar, a rarity in these times. From their home in New York City, Kiran and Rez have established themselves as some of the music world’s most compelling and distinguished cross-pollinators.  Their reworking of the classic Qawwali tune Mustt Mustt with the Malian super group Tinariwen has racked up nearly 3 million views online.

Kiran Ahluwalia and Rez Abbasi
Kiran Ahluwalia and Rez Abbasi


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