Sharing From the Heart: Enchanting Sounds

Music has always played an important role in my life. kirtan_instruments_018_SMALL8b5e95The first song I can remember, if only vaguely, is the German version of Away in a Cradle. That song continued to figure large in my life as I sang each of my children to sleep with it.

Music has continued to figure prominently in my life, allowing me to express and feel a vast array of emotions. This only increased as I discovered the world of Kirtan and Bhajan. What, exactly, is Kirtan or Bhajan? The easiest answer is to say that they are forms of devotional chanting but that is like saying the Mona Lisa is a nice painting. Kirtan is when chants are lead call and response. If you’ve ever sung camp songs like “I Saw a Bear” then you have an idea of the basics of Kirtan. Bhajans are chanted together rather than call and response. What makes Kirtan and Bhajan, in my opinion, on par with the Mona Lisa? I have never experienced such a felt sense of love, devotion and peace as I have chanting.

There are a number of big names in Kirtan in the West: Bhagavan Das, Krishna Das,Jai Uttal, David Newman (Durga Das), Snatam Kaur, The Mayapuris just to name a few. kirtan-with-mangalananda-and-friendsAs with Yoga, Kirtan in the West is evolving. In many cases, that evolution sees Kirtan slowly moving from group chanting to performance chanting. Kirtan as a performance is still beautiful but it is not the same as sixty voices chanting together.

When you join me on the 29th, you will be able to experience Kirtan firsthand. What if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket? You are still welcome to join in either by chanting or by listening, the choice is entirely yours but be sure to come celebrate with me.

Jai Bhagwan

Do you play the harmonium, mridanga or tabla and would like to play at this event? Drop me an email at