Sounds of Silencehttps://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/sounds-of-silence-souls-diet-chandigarh-music-community-5759376/

Sounds of Silence

Six months ago, 27-year-old Gurleen quit her job at the PGI Chandigarh to be the lead vocalist and guitarist of the group, motivated by Vikram Singh, a percussionist, who believed that she was made for music, and thus, Soul’s Diet was born.

Sounds of Silence
Members of the community music group, Soul’s Diet. (Express photo by Jaspreet Singh)

There is a space in your body that guides you towards an internal journey, one that makes you feel the silence within. And that’s the experience that Soul’s Diet, a Chandigarh-based community music group attempts to share with the audience. Six months ago, 27-year-old Gurleen quit her job at the PGI Chandigarh to be the lead vocalist and guitarist of the group, motivated by Vikram Singh, a percussionist, who believed that she was made for music, and thus, Soul’s Diet was born.

The effort was supported by other musicians and friends. While 28-year-old Vikram has worked as a musician in Mumbai for more than a decade, Gurleen has been passionate about music since childhood, singing in school and college, but not pursuing it formally. “My voice is a gift from god, as is my sense of music, and I decided to follow the path that my heart guided me towards. It has its challenges, as we used our savings to take our work further, but it is all worth it,” says Gurleen.

Vikram says that as he worked with many forms of music, he had some incredible experiences, which helped him explore the silence and inner self and moved him towards spirituality. “I realised how this experience needs to be shared with others, for them to experience silence, which we need in today’s time and so we call ourselves Soul’s Diet,” he says.

The group focuses primarily on two genres — Sufi and meditative — with the Tibetan bowls becoming a medium to transform restlessness to zero movement and the sounds bringing in a feeling of relaxation. “There is no religious aspect to our music, as we are inspired by many masters, their words guiding us as well as the listeners towards exploring the inner self. From singing the poetry of Sufi saints to meditative music or kirtans, motivating people to sing along and be immersed in the music and the entire experience. We sing our own compositions, in Punjabi and Hindi, but the music is universal. In simpler words, it is meditation through music. We have something new for every session, as we constantly work on exploring new ideas and contexts,” shares Gurleen.

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Using no electronic music, auto tunes or effects, Vikram and Gurleen admit that many were apprehensive about their choice of music, and if it would resonate with today’s audience. But the response, share the musicians, has been overwhelming, with Soul’s Diet being invited to homes, schools, public spaces to share their music. They agree that people are looking for and appreciate meaningful music that they can connect to at various levels and is soulful. “We now strive to travel across the country with our music and touch more lives, including our own,” adds Gurleen.

What makes the journey possible and enriching is their group of friends, called “Behadd Pyare Log”, who share their time, expertise and resources with Soul’s Diet. From photography to videomaking, which Jaspreet Singh passionately takes care of, with Arpit Joshi the designated sound healer, setting up the venue, ushering in guests, getting the instruments in place, it is all a collective effort. Gurleen and Vikram believe that we are all a universe in ourselves and they look at their journey as a beautiful unfolding, as they spread their wings and spread the word.

Soul’s Diet will perform on June 2 at 710, Sector 11, Chandigarh, from 6.30pm to 8 pm