Harmonium is the Primary melody Instrument used by Freedom and Leela, Indian Singers and Punjabi Singers for Indian Weddings in Vancouver.
The harmonium is a reed instrument used by Freedom and Leela for their Punjabi Music, Indian Music and Multi-cultural Music Events. The harmonium was invented in Paris in the 1840′s by Alexandre Debain. Harmoniums generally weigh less than similarly-sized pianos. An added attraction of the harmonium in tropical regions is that instrument holds its tune regardless of heat and humidity, unlike the piano.
Reed organs that folded up into a container the size of a very large suitcase or small trunk were made for missionaries, travelling evangelists, and road musicians. These harmoniums had a short keyboard and few stops, but they were more than adequate for keeping singers more-or-less on pitch.
Indian music is based on melody, rather than harmony, which has made two-handed playing unnecessary, and Indian musicians are used to sitting cross-legged on the ground to play, rather than on a chair. Hence, the substructure of the harmonium was removed, and the bellows moved to the back of the instrument, where they are operated with one hand while the other hand plays the keyboard. Dwarkanath Ghose of Calcutta modified the imported harmony flute and developed the hand held harmonium, which has subsequently become an integral part of the Indian music scene today.
A popular usage is by followers of various Hindu and Sikh faiths, who use it in the devotional singing of prayers, called bhajans, kirtan and for Indian Weddings and Sikh Weddings. There will be at least one harmonium in any Mandir (Hindu temple) or Gurdwara (Sikh temple) around the world. Many musicians in Vancouver and Indian singers in Vancouver, Canada have a harmonium, alongside the many Sikh temples. The harmonium is also commonly accompanied by the tabla as well as a dholak and sometimes used in Bhangra or with the dhol. To Sikhs, the harmonium is known as the vaja or baja. It is also referred to as a “Peti”, a loose reference to a “box”, in some parts of North India and Maharashtra.
The harmonium plays an integral part in Qawwali music. Almost all Qawwals use the harmonium as their sole musical accompaniment.
Freedom and Leela, musicians and Indian singers from Vancouver, use the harmonium as a key instrument accompaniment for their live Indian music events.