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Passing on Yamla’s Legacy to our Youth

October 4, 2022

Royal Academy was blessed to host renowned Punjabi musician Vijay Yamla, who continues to carry on the legacy of his grandfather and legendary folk singer, the late Ustad Lal Chand Yamla Jatt. A child prodigy of his late grandfather, Vijay immortalizes Punjabi folk music with his voice and mastery of over 15 classical Punjabi instruments, including the tumbi — a sparkling tune still present at the heart of Punjabi music today. 

Stepping into instant fame from the age of 12, Vijay’s voice and unrelenting passion for classical Punjabi music has kept the tradition alive in not only India & Pakistan, but in the diaspora as well. Vijay recently partnered with Royal Academy to pass on the legacy of his legendary grandfather, creating space for Punjabi folk music to thrive among our youth here in Canada.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working as a coach for six months at the Royal Academy of Bhangra in Surrey, BC. It is so great to be spreading my love for the Punjabi culture to kids in Canada who want to learn about their culture.” Vijay recalls his experiences from working with Royal Academy as one of his most memorable ones. 

Over the last 2 decades, Vijay has performed globally, representing the folk sounds of Punjab throughout the world.  He has traveled and studied throughout Pakistan and India, tapping into vast pools of cultural knowledge, as the artform has historically been passed on through oral tradition and guruship.

Vijay was able to pass on that very legacy to children at Royal Academy, who were given a unique opportunity to tap into a rich, and ancient tradition of Punjabi music. Igniting a cultural connection with the folk sounds of a home they never knew – Vijay breathed life into the sounds from a past most have sadly forgotten. Yamla Jatt echoes through Vijay’s art even today.

Children were introduced to and coached on the origins of unique bhangra moves, classical instruments used in Punjabi folk music, and given valuable mentorship on the complex sounds of a musical tradition that dates back centuries. Connecting our youth in the diaspora back to the roots buried deep within their psyche. 

For children at Royal Academy, this was a unique opportunity to study under a superstar who naturally tapped into the legacy of centuries old rich musical traditions, through the late Yamla Jatt himself.

Opportunities like this give way for our children in the diaspora to form deep bonds with their roots, and as Vijay hopes, sow the seeds for the late Yamla Jatt’s talents to flourish for generations to come. Paving the way for Punjabi folk traditions to find new life across continents – going beyond the limitations of borders and geographical locations. The vibrations of the tumbi and the unmistakable voice of Yamla Jatt, Vijay, and countless others live on through our children – thousands of kilometers away from their humble beginnings. 

Since 2011, Vijay has been been involved in the Punjabi Folk programs at the following universities throughout Punjab: Punjab University, Patiala; Ramgharia College, Ludhiana; Government College for Girls, Ludhiana; Khalsa College, Ludhiana; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; S.D. College, Jallandhar.

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