Kirtan is the opposite of Western music’s emphasis on performing and projecting outward. This form of Eastern music is internal and immensely personal. Kirtan chanting blends rhythmic repetitions with breath control and meditation. Its purpose is to sooth the inner spirit. Simple percussion and Indian instruments accompany the singers. Kirtan comes to us from ancient Vedic times, handed down orally. It is based on a deep appreciation of the tones and sounds of Sanskrit, which are used for spiritual growth. By singing the names of gods and goddesses, kirtan musicians create vibrations that resonate inside our beings, assuaging stress and making room for universal love.
Bhagavan Das, a master of chanting and Nada Yoga – the mysticism of sound – is recorded in an energetic kirtan session inspired by Jayadeva’s “Gitagovinda.” The album is raw, natural and earthy with its heavy emphasis on percussion instruments. The title is Love Songs to the Dark Lord.
The Pavarotti of Kirtan, as Krishna Das is dubbed by Yoga Journal magazine, explores his roots in jazz, blues and rock and roll in the album Heart Full of Soul. His kirtan is rich, earthy and abundant with spiritual energy without sacrificing his stated goal of making chant music accessible to people unfamiliar with Eastern kirtan.
The breathy croon of Deva Premal creates a melodic kirtan that sets the tone for meditation. Her music, noted for its purity, is available at Ma’s India. The album Into Silence, contains comforting pieces from five of her prior albums.
The ragi, Bhari Hari Singh, is an Indian master of Sikh-style kirtan. He trained Snatam Kaur at his home in India, where she learned the technical aspects of kirtan as well as how to sing with presence and awareness. The lessons deepened her earlier musical training in Western style classical music. Today Snatam Kaur is using her knowledge of Sikh-style kirtan in solo performance and is writing and recording her own songs. Her album Snatam Kaur: Live in Concert is a combined CD and DVD package featuring recordings and footage from her “Celebrate Peace Tour.”
Kirtan Chant Artist, David Newman’s recordings expand traditional Eastern styles with the addition of a wide range of musical elements. His fifth album, Love Peace Chant, utilizes mild arrangements with light rhythms and an acoustic guitar that are more familiar to Western ears. The album features the Eastern call and response kirtan technique, which forces participants to sing and listen at the same time.
Whether you are a beginner looking for sounds to reduce stress, or you are a serious practitioner of kirtan, the diversity of offerings at our store will be sure to appeal to you.