An Interview With Bachan Kaur
Cover Photo By Fernanda Villaverde
By Julie Fustanio Kling
“We are all playing music our whole life,” says Bachan Kaur, a self-taught, rosy-cheeked Canadian artist and teacher whose voice carries a childlike crack reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper into a warm breeze that is truly ethereal. Her true colors came shining through in her teenage years as she experienced spiritual awakenings inspired through nature, plants, Rastafarianism and creative free-spirited friends. Several years later she found Kundalini Yoga, met Yogi Bhajan, and received her spiritual name.
Unrehearsed, she brought tears to her chorus’s eyes when she played in Sat Siri’s Kundalini class at Sat Nam Fest. After class, we walked up to a hill and sat on the prickly grass surrounded by little gnats. She embodied Sat Siris teaching: “A modern yogi can be graceful in the most ungraceful of times.”
When did you first fall in love with music?
Ever since I was a child I always loved to sing in private and I always loved music and dancing. When I was 15, I went to school in Barbados where I was the only white girl in school and everyone was mean to me. Older Rastafarian skateboarders took me in and that was my first experience of being in the holy spirit. I started to have spiritual awakenings and I became a nature worshiper. Upon my return to Canada I started taking magical mushrooms and having mystical experiences. I literally embraced death and merged into mother nature becoming one with nature, the clouds and the Divine. These experiences were fueled by the sound current which ran through me strongly. I found a guitar in our attic and started to play, write songs and record music.
Your voice is so beautiful. I can’t think of what it reminds me of (I wasn’t sure about Cyndi Lauper until I heard their music side by side later. Another musician at the festival likened Bachan to Joanna Newsom) but when I heard your voice in Tommy Rosen’s savasana I was transported and I wanted to know your story.
Wahe Guru (Kundalini expression of praise and thanks).
When did you first start practicing Kundalini Yoga?
When I was 18, a friend of my brother’s said he thought I would like yoga so I went to a hatha class. In savasana, I said “this is pretty cool.” Then I found a book that my mom had and started learning all the poses. I don’t even know who it was by. When our family moved to Vancouver, our house was right near a Kundalini studio. I started going to Sadhana (an early morning practice where you chant and practice Kundalini yoga). I did work around the studio to pay for classes and I began chanting. It really gave me a language and a more efficient way to express myself and explore.
What was it like for you to meet Yogi Bhajan and get your spiritual name?
It was affirming because I’ve never been into or looked for gurus or enlightened people so I didn’t have expectations. The message I got was just be kind and to not do things for your own glory.
What is your prayer for the world?
My main prayer is for people to know that music isn’t special. It is a birthright. As human beings it is the health, wealth and joy to be able to sing and dance together, especially when it’s in community. It is a safe space to feel love and presence and to connect to the whole.