Think of the loveliest birdsong in the world, and the nightingale comes to mind. Since prehistoric times, birds have been granted a special place in our minds and hearts for their sweet melodies and varied vocalizations. Such is the operatic, spiritual, new-age singing of Sangeeta Kuar. Her ethereal impact beckons the listener to have a transcendental experience.

The Grammy award-winning soprano became the first performer of Vietnamese origin to win in the best classical solo performance category. Her most recent LP release is her sixth career album release, Aurora, and her first since winning the Grammy.

Sangeeta recorded Aurora at Studio Hill in Austin, a state-of-the-art recording facility she co-owns with her husband, Hai Nguyen. Gerhard Joost, a celebrated industry veteran, is also a partner and the in-house Chief Recording Engineer.

Her growing list of artist collaborations includes work with the rock and roll legend Jon Anderson of the band Yes, noteworthy pop producer Narada Michael Walden, two-time GRAMMY-winning Global composer Peter Kater, Stewart Copland, GRAMMY-winning singer Hila Plitmann, GRAMMY-nominated engineer Gerhard Joost, Grammy winner Ricky Kej, award-winning composer and producer Nicholas Neidhardt, and more.


Kaur’s Voice As the Most Beautiful Bird[1]

Long ago, the most beautiful bird in the world lived in a thick forest. Everyone knew that the beautiful bird brought the rain.  When the bird spread her wings, rain fell.   When she folded her wings, there was no rain. People honored the bird with songs, dances, ceremonies, and stories.  Sometimes, people offered food as a gift for the bird.  Because of this, there was always rain. Without rain, there is no life.

People remembered the bird in the earliest of times. But time passed, and things changed as things did. People built cities and gardens, houses and walls. They grew busier. Certain people at different times were chosen to remember the bird.

However, there came a time when people forgot about the bird. They cared more for their work than for the rain.  They thought it was foolish to believe that a bird could bring rain.

But a beautiful story cannot be forgotten. Children told the tale of the beautiful bird. They learned the songs and the dances.  They made pictures and told their own stories.  Children played like birds –  spreading their wings and washing the world with fresh water.  The bird, the most beautiful bird in the world, spread her wings and brought the rain.

Time passed as time did. People told their children that the story was not valid. Eventually, the beautiful bird, the most beautiful bird in the world, folded her wings, and there was no rain.

“It will rain soon,” people said. But the rain did not fall. The earth grew dry. Fields grew fallow. There was little to drink, and nothing grew.  Mothers and Fathers did not go to work in the fields or the cities.  Hunger and sorrow stalked the world.  People argued with one another. The bird, the most beautiful bird in the world, was not remembered. So, she did not spread her wings.

One day, a curious child searched the forest for water. She saw the most beautiful bird on the branch of a tree. It was thin, and its wings were folded. The child ran home and begged her mother to give her a small piece of bread for the bird. The mother was angry, “We have hardly food for ourselves. How can we give a bird something to eat?” But the girl begged and asked repeatedly until the mother grew tired of her questioning, and just to keep the girl quiet, she gave her a small piece of bread.

The girl ran into the forest.  She offered the bird the piece of bread. That night, there was a little rain.  Everyone was pleased. The girl said, “It rained because I gave a bird a piece of bread.”  They hushed her voice,  “Do not be foolish. That is just a story.”

The next day, however, she ran back to the forest and thanked the bird. “You are  the most beautiful bird in the world.”  She went back home and begged her father for bread. He gave her the tiny piece of bread just to keep her quiet.  She went into the forest and fed the bird. That night, there was more rain.

The girl led the man among the trees. She pointed up to the branches of a tree. She showed him the most beautiful bird in the world. The man lifted his bow and arrow and shot the bird.  The bird fell to the ground. Then, the father fell to the ground. All the trees fell to the ground.  When the girl returned to the village, all the people had fallen to the ground.

Sadly, she went into her house.  On the wall was a mbira (a thumb piano). She took the instrument of wood and metal that her grandfather had made outside, sat on the earth, and began to sing. She sang an old song about the most beautiful bird in the world that had brought the rain. She sang and she sang and she sang. And the sound of the mbira, the fingers of the gods, resounded.

The village came back to life. The trees came back to life. The father came back to life. The bird came to life.  It flew onto the branch. The most beautiful bird in the world spread her wings, and there was rain.  After that, no one forgot the bird.  If it is remembered, there will be rain.

No one can forget Sangeeta’s beauty, voice, and soul once heard. Nothing can take away the urging your soul is filled with once you listen to Sangeeta – the most beautiful voice in the world.

Photo credit: Andrew Ficke; LP cover credit Loreina Mythos.


[1] RETOLD by LAURA SIMMS. ©Laura Simms 2012, paraphrased by the writer Elise Krentzel

Based on a Pygmy story from South Africa



By Elise Krentzel

Elise Krentzel is the author of the bestselling memoir Under My Skin - Drama, Trauma & Rock 'n' Roll, a ghostwriter, book coach to professionals who want to write their memoir, how-to or management book or fiction, and contributing author to several travel books and series. Elise has written about art, food, culture, music, and travel in magazines and blogs worldwide for most of her life, and was formerly the Tokyo Bureau Chief of Billboard Magazine. For 25 years, she lived overseas in five countries and now calls Austin, TX, her home. Find her at, FB: @OfficiallyElise, Instagram: @elisekrentzel, LI: