Krishna Das ~ Chants of a Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold (Wanderlust SPEAKEASY 2011)

As a long-time fan of Krishna Das, I really enjoyed hearing some of his story…

Join Krishna Das (acknowledged as the Chant Master of American Yoga by the New York Times) as he shares how he entered into the practice of chanting and what it means to him today, as well as his relationship with Maharaj-ji.

Layering traditional Hindu kirtan with instantly accessible melodies and modern instrumentation, Krishna Das has been called yoga’s “rock star.” With a remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener, Krishna Das — known to friends, family, and fans as simply KD — has taken the call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the best-selling chant artist of all time, with over 300,000 records sold.

KD spent the late ’60’s traveling across the country as a student of Ram Dass, and in August 1970, he finally made the journey to India, which led him to Ram Dass’ own beloved guru, Neem Karoli Baba, known to most as Maharaj-ji.

Given the name Krishna Das, KD began to chant as part of following the path of Bhakti yoga — the yoga of devotion.

After two and a half years with Maharaj-ji, returned to USA – alas, six months after his return, word came that Maharaj-ji had died.

He took solace in music, finding peace and strength in both his Bhakti yoga practice as well as in such heroes as Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, and Bruce Springsteen (whom he laughingly calls “the Bodhisattva of New Jersey”). KD also co-founded Triloka Records, a California-based label specializing in world music, releasing such  artists as Jai Uttal, sarod virtuoso Ali Akbar Khan, and legendary jazz musician/composer Jackie McLean.

In 1994, KD started leading chant at Jivamukti Yoga Center, NYC, with an ever-growing audience of yoga students which has led to chant with people all around the world.

Since 1996 KD has recorded 14 albums including his latest ones ‘Heart as Wide as the World” and ‘Chants of a Lifetime’ (book + CD).

“The chanting just hits you and you want to be a part of it,” KD promises. “That’s the point of this whole thing. That’s what cuts through all the ‘stuff’. You get lit up. You don’t have to know what it means.”

‘Yoga Girl’ music video proves the point that yoga…

…wouldn’t be any fun if we couldn’t make a few jokes about it…

Pure entertainment from beginning to end.

Definitely can’t accuse these guys of lacking creative flair.

Perhaps you’re inspired to drop a last minute quote in the Manduka eKO Lite yoga mat giveaway.

Only 24 hours until we announce the winner.  Thanks for all the great quotes!

“I wish you peace and blessings, namaste…”

The Legend of Ganesh, Son of Shiva & Parvati

Ever wonder why Ganesh has an elephant head? MC Yogi illuminates the tradition in the lyrics to “Son of Shiva” on his Elephant Power album:

Son of Shiva

High up in the Himalayan mountain peaks /
their lived a beautiful goddess named Parvati /
Parvati was the wife of the god named Shiva /
the king of all yogi’s who destroys all demons /
now Shiva loved to practice yoga deep in the forest /
away from the world and all the things that lure us /
often meditating for weeks and months /
practicing detachment completely untouched /
but whenever Shiva left, Parvati stayed home /
often feeling sad and all alone /
so one day she prayed and made a wish /
for a son who she could have fun and play with /
the very next morning to her surprise /
a little baby laid right in front of her eyes /
Parvati could hardly control her joy /
for the gods had blessed her with a beautiful boy /

chorus

Son of Shiva & Parvati, with an elephants head and a fat belly

One day when Parvati was taking a bath /
she instructed her son to protect the path /
so he stood in the door just like a guard /
there to make sure no one entered the yard /
it was at that time when Shiva returned /
not knowing that his wife recently gave birth /
when he saw the boy he told him to move /
not knowing who his father was the boy refused /
now Shiva’s like this, truth consciousness and bliss /
but he’s crazy when he’s angry so don’t get him pissed /
feeling dissed by the boy Shiva started a rumble /
an epic struggle that shook the jungle /
then out of nowhere Shiva’s trident went chop /
and that’s when the boy’s head was cut off /
when Parvati heard the noise coming from outside /
she rushed to find that her boy had died /

chorus

Son of Shiva & Parvati, with an elephants head and a fat belly

All the gods quickly rushed to the scene /
as soon as they heard Parvati’s scream /
she turned toward her Shiva with tears in her eyes /
and painfully explained how the boy was there child /
when Shiva realized the size of this mess /
he became stressed upset and depressed /
that’s when the god Vishnu came up with a plan /
to find another head so the boy could live again /
Shiva said we’ll take the first head that we find /
but we really need to hurry cuz we’re running out of time /
deep in the jungle the gods met an elephant /
a wise old being who attained enlightenment /
he offered his life so the gods took his head /
and quickly returned to where the boy laid dead /
they placed it upon the boys body /
and at first it looked funny and even ungodly /
but Parvati said the head fit just like a glove /
truly a face only a mother could love /
when Shiva saw the boy becoming refreshed /
he embraced his son and named him Ganesh /

chorus

Son of Shiva & Parvati, with an elephants head and a fat belly

Sanctuary by Donna De Lory

Another highly-recommended yoga album:

From DonnaDeLory.com

Singer and songwriter Donna De Lory has always followed divergent musical roads. The petite, vivacious brunette with the mighty voice happily dallied in the mainstream as Madonna’s sassy tour sidekick for over a decade, but her own parallel journey as a solo artist follows a more eclectic muse. A devoted student of yoga and spiritual teachings, De Lory’s lushly conceived solo albums, like her 2009 ecstatic groove Sanctuary, are not only inspired by Western pop, but Indian devotional music, Sanskrit mantras, Northern African grooves, psychedelic arrangements, and dance beats. Donna blends her rich spiritual practice, sonic collages and diverse musical inspirations into a unique, world music-meets-kirtan style that’s been called “the perfect combination of earth Mama and fairy child, with a voice that oscillates between the passionate laments of Janis Joplin and the crystal clarity of Enya.”

“Playing music is my yoga,” says De Lory. “It’s my bliss. When I play, I get lost in the music, my mind stops, I am in the moment and I am free. This is a place I never want to leave.”

Available for download on Amazon.com

Dharma Gypsys ~ Zeppelin and Floyd meet Krishna Das

Described elsewhere as “Zeppelin and Floyd meet Krishna Das,” Dharma Gypsys just might be the ticket to musical enlightenment you’ve been seeking for a long time.  When I say musical enlightenment, you know what I’m talking about.  Some yoga music rocks, and some just plain sucks.  We must avoid sucky yoga music at all costs.  Dharma Gypsys, however, is so far on the opposite end of the suck spectrum it’s not even funny.  Seriously.

I happened across the group’s apparently only album earlier this evening while browsing twitter posts and haven’t stopped listening.  Did I mention this stuff is incredibly good?  I might sleep with my headphones on tonight…

The full title of the album is “Volume One: Music for Yoga, Meditation and General House Cleaning.”

A little info about Dharma Gypsys from the album notes:

Daniel Overberger’s Dharma Gypsys is the unlikely, inevitable result of two lifetimes crossing. After years of playing guitar, touring Europe with death rock bands and producing songs for film and television, Daniel wound up ditching it all to go to India, study yoga, perform kirtan and become a yoga teacher. As he got deeper into kirtan and chanting, one question kept coming up: “Where are the guitar solos?”

Dharma Gypsys was a labor of love and inspiration born from Daniel’s vision of joining kirtan and rock music, like some kind of Shiva Frankenstein. It began to show signs of life when he met singer Katrina Chester at one of his yoga classes. From that point on, the Dharma Gypsys was an unstoppable force.

In my humble opinion, unstoppable force might be an understatement.  Can’t wait for Volume Two.

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Download and listen to the entire album on lala.com
Also available on Amazon.com

The Yoga+ (Update: Yoga International) Kirtan Yoga Playlist

Soak up this amazing Kirtan Yoga Playlist at Yoga+ (Update: now Yoga International, again).  It’s not one of those “click on the title to download” kind of playlists, but ten actual songs that you can listen to the whole 13 minute song for free and really enjoy.  Not old stuff either.  Very current and great sound quality.   I highly recommend.  If that weren’t enough there’s a bonus playlist with another seven songs.

When you listen to “Amba Parameshwari,” close your eyes and imagine yourself standing in a beautiful forest next to a flowing river.

The Kirtan Playlist

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bonus Tracks

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Weekend Yoga Video: Y Yoga Movie

Found this clip over at Elsie’s Yoga Kula, where by the way you can find weekly yoga class podcasts to practice with. Elsie’s website also has pictures of the asanas corresponding with her great instruction. So head on over there and take a class or two. Enjoy!

Interview with Krishna Das

krishna-das.jpgI just ran across an audio interview with Krishna Das done a few months ago by CBC Radio. I enjoy listening to his music and thought I’d share. To listen to some of Krishna Das’ music, check out the Box.net music folder in the right column. Or instead, if you want to listen to the entire Pilgrim Heart album, click here.

Here’s the introduction to the interview:

The Devotional Chant of Krishna Das

When he was growing up on Long Island, his name was Jeffrey Kagel. A trip to India and a meeting with the renowned guru Neem Karoli Baba would change the course of his life. And his name. Krishna Das, the name his guru gave him, would become famous around the world for his kirtan – devotional chant. Kirtan is an ancient spiritual path – part of the tradition of Bhakti Yoga – yoga of the heart.
So much has changed for Krishna Das since his first trip to India – but the Jewish guy from Long Island is never far from the surface. The sense of humour, for starters.
Krishna Das has been chanting on a regular basis in yoga centers all over the world. He has taught with Ram Dass and sung for many saints and yogis here and in India. Krishna Das is Mary Hynes’ guest this week on Tapestry.

Listen to the interview with Krishna Da
(runs: 46:06)

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