When I first began practicing Kundalini Yoga, I kept wondering what the “original” version of “May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You” was. One of the manuals mentioned that it was originally by the Incredible String Band, so I searched around and finally found a recording of it, on vinyl. It was on an album they did called, “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter.” I couldn’t seem to find it on CD anywhere, although now YouTube has several copies of it. (Many people aren’t aware that the video formats on YouTube encode the audio/music of the video in an mp3 encapsulation, depending upon which format of the video you load) Here it is in mp3 form. I think it was part of a track called “A Very Cellular Song” on that album.
I have to say it didn’t thrill me. Actually, if they played that version at the end of a yoga class, I might’ve walked out and not come back. I’m so glad there have been so many beautiful recent renditions of it. Sat Kartar said she dug a bit deeper when she put it on her Sadhana CD, for copyright reasons, and found out it was actually a public domain folk song which she tracked to Europe.
I was really struck by the clarion call of her beautiful voice when I first heard her at summer solstice, and got to hear her group in Phoenix during my return trip home from NM. She told me stories of the Khalsa String Band, I think she called it, which included many who are now veteran musicians and teachers in the community, among them Krishna Kaur and Guru Singh. She said they traveled around the country performing with Yogi Bhajan.
At present, one of my other favorite versions of the song is by Snatam Kaur, but the most rockin’ version I’ve heard of it was performed a cappella by Krishna Kaur for our teacher’s training class – I keep hoping I’ll find it in my cassettes of the training sessions again, but I haven’t been able to. I wish she had a recording of it – or maybe she does and I haven’t come across it yet.