Did you chant in the New Year with any of the bhavalicious celebrations out there over New Year’s weekend? Many did. And the 2012 bhav keeps flowing strongly with a slew of kirtan events across the country.
Here are some highlights of what’s happening in kirtan corners of the country this weekend, starting with my personal favorite:
Deva Night in NH
Friday Night in Concord NH, two of my favorite kirtan devi, Irene Solea and Joni Allen, are reuniting for a one-night stand at the At Om Yoga center along with Irene’s band (Danny Solomon on bass/keys; Ezra Landis on guitar, and Derik Newton on drums/percussion. We fell in love with Irene Solea’s music — and the Solea-Allen duo — at the Boston Yoga and Chant Fest last summer. Watch this Saraswati chant by them and you’ll see why.
NYC: 3 Rising Stars, 2 ‘Old’ Faves & a Dancing Violinist
Three rising NYC kirtan artists, Devadas, Nina Rao and Anjula Prasad, will lead kirtan at the Broome Street Temple in Brooklyn, starting at 7 Friday night. (And on Saturday, Devadas heads north to Burlington, Vt (woot!) for a special kirtan at the winter Burlington Yoga Conference, at UVM’s Davis Center.)
Also Friday, at The Bhakti Center in the East Village (25 1st Ave, between 1st and 2nd streets, NYC), Jahnavi Harrison and Akincana Krishna lear 2 hours of kirtan. Free admission; donations will be accepted to support The Bhakti Center’s programs, which you can learn more about in their current newsletter.
On Saturday, Woodstock, NY-based bhakti rockers SRI Kirtan (Sruti Ram & Ishwari) hit the Big Apple at Bija Yoga NYC (Union Square), with Sri Kala on mrdanga. They’ve got a 3-hour slot, and you can be sure the joint will be rockin. Bija Kids in Brooklyn location, meanwhile, is hosting Nina Rao and friends — and kids — for a special children’s chanting session to close out a day-long kid-friendly Open House.
And as if that’s not enough bhav flowing in Manhattan, New Orleans kirtan funksters Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band will be bringing their signature blend of known mantras, rock, funk, and world grooves to the Laughing Lotus Yoga Center on 19th Street, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Boston: Kitchari with Your Kirtan?
In Boston, (okay, make that Cambridge), Tom Lena has some special guests joining his Kitchari Kirtan party Jan. 6: the Shiva Lila Band from the Hridaya Hermitage in the mountains of Maine. We have yet to chant with Shiva Lila, but we’ve seen some videos (like this one from Shunyam) and have heard nothing but great things about their high-energy, bhakti exuberance. The event is a fundraiser and awareness-booster for the Hermitage, a yoga and healing retreat.
Across town at South Boston Yoga, Donna De Lory will be singing for extended savasana for a 4 p.m. class, then chanting the night away with kirtan at 7.
Santa Fe: Yoga for Schools Benefit
Geoffrey Gordon is in Santa Fe for a kirtan fundraiser for Yoga for Schools at the Santa Fe Community Yoga Center on Saturday, where he will be joined by local musicians for chanting and satsang. Kids are welcome. We first saw Geoffrey perform at Bhakti Fest last fall, where we fell in love with his genre-bending brand of “cross-cultural kirtan.” Here’s a video of him playing in Santa Fe last February.
Shakti in the South
There’s a reason kirtan artists choose January to tour the South. It’s called the sun. Shantala, the husband-and-wife duo of Benjy and Heather Wertheimer, is shining in South Carolina with stops in Charleston, Columbia and Asheville this weekend. It’s the kick-off to to the Southeast tour of this endlessly touring couple, who will be headlining the Rock the Bhakti Kirtan Fest Jan 13-15 in Sarasota, Fla.
Wah! will be at the Sarasota festival as well, and is chanting her way across Florida to get there. This weekend she kicks it off with yoga and a concert at Discovery Yoga in St. Augustine. Doing yoga with Wah! is an exercise in opening every channel of your body/mind/spirit — including some you may not have known you had — into which she will then pour forth liquid nectar in the form of divine mantras to fill you with pure love until you overflow. No exaggeration. I’m talkin’ Bucket List item here.
Garden Party with Girish; Never-Ending New Year at the Shala
Kristin Olson’s Urban Yoga in Palm Springs will host Girish for a special “season-opening” party and pre-Bhakti Fest bash Jan. 7 (yes, Bhakti Fest is still 9 months away, but…any excuse for a “pre-Bhakti Fest” bash, right?). And, the New Year’s Bash continues at the Shala. Santa Monica’s Bhakti Yoga Shala, the West Coast temple to kirtan love, threw an epic New Year’s Eve party last weekend, followed by 108 Sun Salutations on New Year’s Day, and there are no signs of the bhav slowing anytime soon. This Friday, Andres Salcedo and the Bhakti Experience take center stage for “New Year’s Kirtan” and an “intoxicating night of healing vibrations.”
Soooo, where’s the bhav in your neck of the woods? Tell us where you’ll be chanting this weekend, and send your future events to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for upcoming “Where’s the Bhav” articles.