California-based Sikh band ‘White Sun’ wins Grammy for Best New Age Album

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Lead vocalist and co-founder of the Sikh band White Sun Gurujas Kaur Khalsa accepts a Grammy in the New Age category for their album White Sun II. (Photo: Grammy.com)

Sikh band White Sun made history last week by beating established artists like Enya and Vangelis, to win the 2017 Grammy Award in the New Age category for their album White Sun II. The Santa Monica, California-based band is known for their musical interpretations of yogic mantras.

Gurujas Kaur Khalsa, center, with White Sun co-founder Adam Berry, left, and Harijiwan on the red carpet.(Photo: Grammy.com)

The band is co-founded by Adam Berry, who is known for his work as music director for four seasons of South Park. The other co-founder is lead vocalist Gurujas Kaur Khalsa, aka Gurujas, a former member of the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus and Harijiwan, a gong virtuoso and veteran Kundalini yoga instructor.

Accepting the Grammy on Feb. 12, Gurujas said the band wants its music to make something better for somebody somewhere. “And it’s our dream to see this world become a more beautiful place. For anyone who shares in that dream with us, thank you, we love you and let’s do better,” news reports quoted him as saying.

New age music is defined as a style of chiefly instrumental music characterized by light melodic harmonies, improvisation, and sounds reproduced from the natural world, intended to promote serenity.

In September 2016, the White Sun II album hit No. 1 on Billboard’s New Age chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s World Music chart.

Guest players on White Sun II include Grammy-winning kora player Mamadou Diabate, seven-time Grammy-nominated Fiddle player Gabe Witcher of the Punch Brothers, singers Julia Waters, Maxine Waters and Oren Waters, and master tabla player Abhiman Kaushal. Originally from Hyderabad, Kushal is an adjunct associate professor at the department of ethnomusicology at the University of California.