An Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha for Ganesh Chaturthi

To keep your celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi going, here’s a version of Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha from last week’s Bhakti Fest:

Why that one? Because one of the singer, Prajna Vieira, was along on our yatra last summer. (And yes, she has a website. And, yes, I expect her to re-post this on the social media.)

Posted by Steve

Some ragas you ought to check out

If you’ve missed our coverage of Sangita Yoga and Naren Schreiner — well, you haven’t been paying attention, have you?

As we noted earlier this month, Naren has finished a new album of sacred chants . Now there’s a quick video about it, which is well worth you time on a calm Saturday. From the description:

In this video interview, Naren describes the project and the vision behind this groundbreaking album release. New Earth Records and Sangita Yoga Music present Naren’s newest album, Sangita Yoga: Sacred Chants of India, a compilation of sacred texts from India set to Naren’s original raga-based compositions, accompanied by guest musicians on tabla, santoor, sarangi, violin and cello.

And here’s the video. Enjoy:

Happy day off, unless you’re among those who have migrated your day off to Sunday.

Posted by Steve

New Krishna Das Hanuman Chalisa: Sundara Chalisa. Get it free

Krishna Das has made a new Hanuman Chalisa available for free download. Link to that is right here.

Plus there’s new video:

Here’s info about it:

This version of Sri Hanuman Chalisa sung by Krishna Das was filmed at the Open Your Heart in Paradise Retreat Maui, Hawaii, December 2014.
Musicians: Krishna Das (harmonium & vocals), Arjun (tabla), Rick Frires (bass guitar), Nina Rao (kartals), David Nichtern (guitar), and Genevieve Walker (violin).
Audio recorded and mixed by Kevin Reilly.
Video filmed and edited by John Phaneuf.

Remember, he and Tim Miller are doing a first-ever retreat together in March.

Posted by Steve

‘I was a very confused child’

NPR’s Morning Edition today featured one of the world’s greatest tabla players: Zakir Hussain.

The link is right here. The feature is part of a week-long look at “beats,” aka drummers. There’s a “listen now” feature but, as best as I can tell, the written story is the same as what you hear.

The story also includes the below YouTube video of Hussain and his father:

A quick excerpt, with a storyline that sounds familiar to Ashtanga:

Hussain was 7 when his father first approached him and asked if he was ready to learn the tabla for real. The lessons were to begin in the middle of the night.

“I was woken up at 2:30 in the morning, and that’s when we sat and talked rhythm,” he says. “And he told me about the history of our tradition and the great masters of the past, and what it all is — just kind of developing inside me the whole idea of existing in this world.”

Hussain says that nocturnal ritual would be repeated every night for four years, his demanding school schedule notwithstanding.

“It didn’t matter to me; I was so happy. To be in his presence was great,” he says. “From about 2:30 on, he talked to me, and then at 6:30 I would go to the local Islamic school, the madrassa, and learn to recite the Quran. When that was over, I’d go across the street into my school, which was a Catholic school, and we’d sing the hymns and then go to class.” He adds, “Doing all of that in the space of, like, five-and-a-half or six hours, I was a very confused child.”

Following his father’s lead, Hussain would get involved in world music and play with artists including George Harrison and the Grateful Dead. There’s a funny exchange recounting that experience.

Posted by Steve

Your chance to learn about sacred chanting in Los Angeles

For our readers in and around Los Angeles, maybe mark your calendar for Dec. 13.

That’s when Naren Schreiner of Sangita Yoga will be up here — at the Center for Yoga / Larchmont Yoga Works — leading a workshop on sacred chanting.

Link to the promotional flyer is right here. (You also can preregister at that link.)

A few details: It runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $30. A quick rundown:

Naren K. Schreiner and Lopamudra Bose will teach sacred chants of India, including correct pronunciation coaching, and the foundations of sacred and yogic chanting.

Lots more at the flyer. Previous info on Sangita Yoga at our site is here. As we’ve noted, Naren has a compassionate and deeply devoted approach to teaching people to sing or understand the fundamentals of chanting. More on Sangita is right here. Also, Naren has a new album of sacred music out. Info here.

Posted by Steve

LA, Boulder: Here’s your chants to explore India’s sacred music

Oh, yeah, I went there.

Two upcoming events — one in Boulder, the other here in LA — feature Naren Schreiner of Sangita Yoga, who has performed kirtan and Indian sacred music at the past couple Ashtanga Yoga Confluences.

Up first is Boulder, at Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop. One is a workshop on chants, the other a more “traditional” performance of bhajans. Both are happening the weekend of Nov. 8-9; day one is $30, day two is $20:

In ancient India, chanting formed a path of Yoga — union of soul and Spirit. This simple and profound discipline is an important part of spiritual life.

In this workshop you will learn about the sacred foundations of chanting and music, how to use your voice yogically, and how to pronounce and chant simple Sanskrit slokas.

A month later, Naren will roll up from Encinitas to LA, at the Yoga Works “Center for Yoga,” where both Tim Miller and Pattabhi Jois have taught:

Discover how India’s tradition of sacred music is an integral part of yoga and spiritual living. Naren will introduce India’s tradition of sacred music in the context of yoga practice and the spiritual lifestyle. This interactive and experiential class will include live and recorded music demonstrations as well as guided practice intended for all levels—no musical experience is required.

In this workshop you will learn:

• An overview of the art and science of India’s sacred music.
• The effects of music and sound on your body, mind, and spirit.
• The function of your voice as a sacred instrument of speech, mantra and chanting.
• Practical instruction in correct pronunciation of Sanskrit and Hindi.
• Daily practices to help you bring sacred music into your own life.

All levels welcome. No musical experience required.

Cost is $30. Registration is at the link above.

Posted by Steve

Support the spread of sacred Indian music

On Friday, into our inbox came news that Naren Schreiner of Sangita Yoga — playing in a few weeks at the Confluence — is set to record an album of sacred (and traditional) Indian music.

And he’s appealing for support. (Krishna Das did it, after all.) Here’s the PayPal link.

But you’re probably wondering what’s going to be on the album. Here’s a peak:

– Hanuman Chalisa (Varanasi) — sung in a traditional melody from Varanasi, the ancient city where the Chalisa was written by Tulasidas over 500 years ago. 
– Madhuranam Gurunam — a kirtan honoring all true Sat-Gurus and the sweetness (madhura) that their name invokes.
– Om Kali — a joyous kirtan to Mother Kali, of the famous Dakshineshwar Temple,  where India’s great spiritual renaissance of this age began.
– Atmashtakam — a centuries old song by Adi Shankara, known as “Shivohum”, declaring our true nature as the Atma (soul). 
– Sanskrit invocations to Guru, Saraswati (Goddess of Music) and more!….

We’ve written a bit about him, having seen him perform a few times and taken an afternoon class with him. Naren brings a non-egotist, caring, deep, solemn and beautiful perspective to the music. (I’ll go out on the karma limb and say that too much kirtan we’ve experienced seems to involve singers singing their own names when chanting “Ram,” “Krishna” or “Shiva,” if that meaning comes through. Naren and those he performs with are an exception.)

As is the case with these types of fundraisers, he’s offering you something beyond the good feeling of supporting his effort. These include two signed advanced copies of the album (on CD) for $50; a signed copy plus a certificate for an hour class with him for $108; and a home concert for $1,008.

Naren’s aiming for a production cost of $6,000; he noted Krishna Das’ new album cost $50,000.

You also can send him a check (avoiding a 3% processing fee):

Sangita Yoga
20371 Sun Valley Dr.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Be sure to provide contact information with your contribution
so that we can follow up with you.

I’m sure those of  you going to the Confluence could ask him more, too.

Posted by Steve