There’s a revolution going on in the bhakti world. It’s happening in living rooms all across the country. It’s called community kirtan.
Chantabridgia, a new double CD/DVD project in the final days of crowdfunding (DONATE HERE!), celebrates the power of community kirtan to soothe the soul, lift the spirit, and heal the heart. Chantabridgia features more than a dozen of Greater Boston’s favorite bhakti bands and solo wallahs — some of whom are well-known artists and some who are recording chants for the first time — on a three-disc set with over two hours of professionally recorded music and a video documenting its making.
It’s the first community kirtan compilation CD we’ve heard of, but we’re really hoping it starts a trend…
The Kickstarter campaign for Chantabridgia ends at midnight on Wednesday, November 15. To support this project, please visit the campaign page and choose your level of support from among the many perks.
Chantabridgia is the brainchild of kirtan couple Tom Lena (aka Tamal Krishna Das) and Shakti Rowan, whose monthly Kitchari Kirtans in Cambridge, Mass., have become somewhat legendary local gatherings for Eastern Massachusetts bhaktas. (Chantabridgia, the name, is a nod to Cantabrigia, the Medieval Latin name for Cambridge, England.) Now in its 10th year, Kitchari Kirtan started as a few friends sitting around chanting together in Lena’s living room, and has grown into a mainstay event drawing local musicians and kirtan enthusiasts in joyful community to share kirtan and kitchari, a nourishing concoction of beans and spices that is said to be energetically cleansing and grounding. The sessions often feature a touring or regional kirtan leader joined by local musicians holding the beat. Regular open-mic sessions give everyone — from veteran to newbie — a chance to take a turn at holding the bhava.
The Chantabridgia CDs will capture the spirit of these open-mic sessions of Kitchari Kirtan. A number of beloved regional chant artists will donate a track, including Adam Bauer, Irene Solea, Shubalananda, Prajna Hollstrom, and guitar maestro Richard Davis. Boston-area favorites who will be featured include the Prema Bhakti Band, Jaya Madhava and Govinda Sky, and The Solar Dynasty Band featuring Ravi and Lisa, among others. Lena and Rowan offer two tracks: a joyful Shambo Shankaraya/Fire on the Mountain mash-up the pair co-wrote, and Lena’s cover of the title track from Girish’s “Diamonds in the Sun” album, a luscious Lokah melody that Lena finishes with the feel-good singalong classic, “This Little Light of Mine.” In all, more than 40 musicians are collaborating to make Chantabridgia a reality. Mirabai Devi also makes a special appearance.
Lena said he was inspired to launch the Chantabridgia project out of a desire to “mobilize and challenge everybody in these difficult times to come together and share this practice of chanting, to empower other people to live in love, harmony and unity.”
“Looking at the world we live in, I was very troubled by what I was seeing,” Lena told The Bhakti Beat in an interview. “The political discourse has gotten very divisive. Economically, there’s growing inequality. There’s growing fear, and a kind of a resignation that nothing seems to matter anymore. What matters to me and is very near and dear to my heart is this chanting practice, and the community I helped start and have nurtured for almost a decade, Kitchari Kirtan.”
“I see that people are healed by this practice of kirtan; people are transformed right in front of my eyes. It makes a difference in people’s lives. They get connected. They don’t have to feel that they’re isolated or alone.”
Once it is released, 100% of the net proceeds will be shared equally by three charities: C.J Maa Music School, Rishikesh, India (http://cjmaamusicschool.org/); Call & Response Foundation, Northfield, VT USA (http://www.callandresponsefoundation.org/); Tunefoolery Music, Inc., Boston, MA USA (http://www.tunefoolery.org/).
Visit the Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1320771045/chantabridgia-answering-the-call-of-love-cd-dvd-do
Visit Tom Lena’s website: www.tomlenamusic.com
Visit Kitchari Kirtan: www.kitcharikirtan.com
Kitchari Cooking Class:
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