There is nothing traditional about Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe. And that’s just fine with us.
Larisa and the Tribe deliver unapologetic Mantra Rock. Quite unlike anything we’ve seen anywhere else. The first time we experienced their edgy urban-laced brand of bhakti, our jaw dropped, and they just keep get juicier each time we see them. Quite possibly the tightest little shakti band in the West, they never fail to fill your cup with lovelovelove and take it right over the top — and then bring it back down to earth with something authentic and grounding like Larisa’s now-signature LOVE-IN with the crowd.
This year’s set at Shakti Fest was no exception, as love goddess Larisa snuggled up close and personal at the front of the stage with adoring fans pouring out their affection. She reflected it right back, singing them a heart-felt love ballad laced with advice for living fully from one who knows how. “We need to embrace all the parts of ourselves,” she said. “Even those wild parts.” It was like group therapy in the bhav!
“How juicy can we get?” Larisa asked the crowd at one point. “How much can we open up in this moment?”
They set the tone for their set right off the bat, with a Maha Mantra rock-out that proved why they call this music mantra rock. Then it was time to “wake up those heartlines,” as Larisa implored the obedient bhaktas before her to put hands to hearts as she launched into an electrified ode to Tara, the Buddhist goddess of compassion who is always ready to spring into action to relieve suffering. This was like no Om Tara you’ve heard before; the seed mantra Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soha was fused with the English chorus “Om Tara, wake up in my life…” and driven by rich rhythmic layers of horns from the Wizard of Woodwinds Richard Hardy, bass, guitar, violin, and percussion. Oh, just watch the video…
Then things got really juicy.
With Tara sufficiently awakened in our hearts, the Tribe turned our attention to the Goddess Who Takes No Prisoners with a powerful seed mantra to invoke Kali. We were also treated to a brand new song based on the Sanskrit mantra Ahem Prema, which means “I Am Divine Love.” The Tribe’s version featured Bethany Folsom’s exquisite violin amidst original lyrics reminding us that “The universe is in my womb” and “I am the love that I seek.”
Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more love from the Love Tribe, “Whatcha Gonna Do With All That Love?” poured forth. The song, already a signature anthem for this Long Beach-based band, is now immortalized on Shakti Tribe bumper stickers that were given away freely from the stage.
But they weren’t through with us yet. They hit us with another version of the Maha Mantra that shook the ground with its high-energy must-dance vibe (trust me — I just shook my whole neighborhood blasting it in my apartment…). If you weren’t dancing by now…well, I don’t think anyone wasn’t dancing. The set ended, fittingly, blessedly, with the title track from their epic CD “Rock On Sat Nam,” officially sealing the Tribe’s place as the Bhaktas Most Likely to Rock Your World.
What are we gonna do with all that love? Pass it along of course! Larisa made us promise.
Shakti Tribe is Benj Clarke on bass, Richard Hardy on woodwinds, Bethany Folsom on violin, Keith Larsen on drums, and of course, Larisa Stow holding court center stage on harmonium and vocals. Bray Ghiglia played guitar at Shakti Fest, and Mirabai Devi held space energetically throughout the set.
So go ahead. Pass on the love.
See the full Photo Journal from Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe’s set here.Also See: Too Much Talking from a Kirtan Wallah? Hmm. Bhakti Quotes Worth Repeating from Shakti Fest 2014 Top 12 Bhavalicious Moments at Shakti Fest 2014 (Photos) “Shakti Fest Moments” Photo Journal on The Bhakti Beat’s facebook page “Shakti Fest Finale” Photo Journal on The Bhakti Beat’s facebook page “Jai Uttal” Photo Journal on The Bhakti Beat’s facebook page ‘We Need a Bus!’ Kirtaniyas Kick Off Shakti Fest Kirtan and Take Bhakti to A ‘Whole Other Level’ Connect with The Bhakti Beat! Subscribe to The Bhakti Beat The Bhakti Beat on facebook The Bhakti Beat on twitter The Bhakti Beat on YouTube The Bhakti Beat on Google+