The wonderful Khalsa String Band was composed of the finest musicians of early 3HO.
The 3HO musical scene had been taking shape since Yogiji began teaching in Los Angeles in 1969. Some of his earliest students had begun putting mantras to music and writing songs of and for this new and emerging spiritual family. They soon became The Sat Nam Band, and played at 3HO gatherings and celebrations.
In the summer of 1973, Guruka Singh, a local ashram member and music lover, took the group to a studio in Manhattan to record an album. They began with hardly an idea of what they were going to record and after two weeks came out as the Khalsa String Band, a name Yogiji gave them.
In the winter of 1973, the Khalsa String Band was invited to join Yogi Bhajan on his East Coast teaching tour. They accompanied Yogiji and played after each class he taught. He would usually sit in the front row of the audience and in his masterful way and he coached them and brought out their showmanship. Guru Dass Singh remembers overcoming stage fright and learning how to keep a smile because of him, as he’d always stick his tongue out at him while he sang. There was no way to keep a straight face during his yogic antics.
This tour, which ended in Florida at the Winter Solstice gathering, was the stage for songs that later became icons in our 3HO history.
In the spring of 1974, the band went back on tour. After rehearsing for three weeks in Detroit, they began a six-month tour across the U.S. that took them from Kansas City to New Mexico, St. Louis to Madison, up to Vancouver and down to Los Angeles. They played in ashrams and concert halls, churches and parks. They barely had their eating and gas expenses covered. They were their own roadies, setting up and taking down their own equipment, often after driving up to 12 hours a day.
In the coming years, many new songs came to be. Solstices were the platform to share new songs. These songs reflected the collective consciousness of the 3HO family at the time and were emblematic of where we had come from and where we were going.
3HO music had begun to find its place in the homes and yoga/meditation classes of many people all over the world. The mantras and chants learned from Yogi Bhajan along the years were heard and chanted by thousands.
Khalsa String Band members included: Sat Kartar Kaur, Guru Sangat Kaur, Krishna Kaur, Singh Kaur, Guru Dass Singh, Livtar Singh, Guru Singh, Sat Peter Singh, Gurutrang Singh
Guru Dass Singh was the youngest member. He wrote and sang many of their songs and had incredible stories of “life on the road” as they toured the country playing college campuses, sometimes as the opening act for Yogi Bhajan’s class. The music they created together was truly magical. It told our story in song and bound us together as family. Every new cassette tape recording was an event, awaited with great expectation. I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Gurudass sing “Flowers in the Rain”, and I remember it made me cry. He went on to write and sing so many songs that chronicled the growth and journey of 3HO such as, “When Will I Walk on the Cold Marble Again”, “The Ballad of Guru Ram Das”, “I Am – I Am”, and so many more.
Guru Dass left his physical body in June of 2017. He was one of Yogi Bhajan’s early students, whom he met him in 1971. He began teaching Kundalini Yoga in 1972 at the age of 18 and leading teacher trainings in 1980. During his life, he traveled the world, teaching and sharing his music. He trained hundreds of Kundalini Yoga teachers in courses he lead in different countries.
Here are some old recordings form the Khalsa String Band