Manbir was first introduced to Gurmat Sangeet at a young age by his grandfather, Bhai Prem Singh, who taught him Keertan and enrolled him in Gandharv Mahavidyalaya at the age of 8 to learn Tabla (Indian percussion instrument) under Pt. Madhup Mudgal. Manbir later went on to study under Giani Gurdev Singh, whom he accompanied at Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple, Amritsar). To learn traditional compositions of Gurmat Sangeet, Manbir then went to Bhai Harjit Singh who traces his musical heritage back to court of Guru Arjan Dev.
With time, Manbir decided to pursue more rigorous Classical vocal training and began to learn from Ustaad Mazhar and Jawad Ali Khan (grandsons of Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan) and was initiated as a Ganda Band Shagird of Kasoor Patiala Gharana. He also spent some time learning from Baldev Sharan Narang, whom he had the privilege of accompanying in All India Radio recordings.
Alongside vocals, Manbir studied Dilruba (a string instrument of Indian Classical music) with Bhai Tirlochan Singh Naamdhari and had the privilege of briefly studying the nuances of accompaniment under the Dhrupadi Rabab master, Ustad Gulfam Ahmed Khan.
Manbir’s training in Shastriya Sangeet has since been and now continues to be under the tutelage of Pt. Shantanu Bhattarcharyya (of Kasoor Patiala Gharana). Manbir frequents Kolkatta on a yearly basis to study traditional compositions and musical nuances of Indian Raga Music.
Now a regular performer of Indian Classical events in Australia, he accompanies the likes of Ustaad Raza Ali Khan during their Sydney tours.
Outside of performing and learning himself, most of Manbir’s focus and energy goes to teaching Gurmat Sangeet and Shastriya Sangeet, with students around the world learning Dilruba, Taus, Esraj, and vocals. This also includes a free Gurmat Sangeet class in Sydney which he initiated and teaches at on a weekly basis.
This is only the beginning of a path that Manbir hopes to strive in as he develops his skills and continues to mature his musical understanding, through his dedication to the discipline and the art of Indian Raga music.
Passionate about the history of Gurmat Sangeet and Indian Classical music, Manbir is a strong advocate of the revival of the quality of music in Keertan. His hope is that he can be a part of that through his own growth as an Indian Classical musician and his efforts in teaching vocals and string instruments to his students.