What’s ahead: Covered in colors in the Utah desert with Jai Uttal, Larisa Stow, Mayapuris and Kirtaniyas (!), bhav in the Bayou with Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band, the GuruGanesha Band takes off, Girish takes his bhav to the Northeast and the Kirtaniyas take theirs coast-to-coast.
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Five for the Bhav: Weekend Picks
Wallahs Gone Wild?
We dream of being covered in colors and bathed in the bhav at the Holi Festival of Colors. At the Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah, they put on the biggest Holi splash in North American — an estimated 60,000 people went to last year’s fest! Seriously, this is on our bucket list, and we’re trying not to whine too much about not being there right now. (whimper) Just look at the headliner line-up this year: LARISA STOW & SHAKTI TRIBE (returning for the second year, with KIMO ESTORES, RICHARD HARDY and BENJ CLARK); JAI UTTAL, who will be joined by MARK GORMAN, BEN LEINBACH, RICHARD HARDY and others; the MAYAPURIS (VISVAMBHAR SHETH, VRINDA DEVI SHETH, BALI RICO and KRISHNA KISHORE), and, fresh from a European tour, the KIRTANIYAS (VIJAY KRISNHA, SARASVATI NUGENT, RASIKA COVIN, and NITAI PREM). If someone said, pick your dream team of wallahs who won’t fail to shake the shakti of 50,000+ blissed-out bhaktas (or bhaktas for the day at least) drenched in brilliant chalk dust and singing praise to Krishna in the Utah desert, these four would be on the list, wouldn’t you agree? Holi Fest is all day Saturday and Sunday; also on the schedule are TK AND NAM RAK, JAI KRISHNA and ANANDA GROOVE. Click here for the full schedule and details on the event. And check out this rockin’ video from Shakti Tribe at last year’s fest.
Bhav in the Bayou
From the desert to the bayou, sacred music takes over the City of Jazz this weekend with the first New Orleans Sacred Music Festival, happening Saturday and Sunday at the New Orleans Healing Center. Hometown heroes SEAN JOHNSON & THE WILD LOTUS BAND (aka GWENDOLYN COLMAN and ALVIN YOUNG) will be bringing the bhav to this party, which is cosponsored by The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival and features music from a wide range of devotional traditions. Sean & the Band are celebrating the release of a brand new music video featuring their latest original song, Unity, which seamlessly blends Rumi poetry, the ancient Sanskrit chant Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu and Sean’s original lyrics around the “unity” theme. Check out the exclusive premiere of the video on YogaJournal here, which accompanies an article Sean wrote for the magazine’s next print issue on yoga and creativity. Looking forward to that one!
GuruGanesha Takes Off
It’s been all the buzz for months and the raves are pouring in from the GURUGANESHA BAND’s debut-tour openers in SoCal last weekend. This weekend the band heads north for two shows in Santa Rosa (Friday and Saturday) with KARNAMRITA DASI joining in, and San Francisco on Sunday. Then it’s on to Santa Cruz 3/28), Berkeley (3/30) and several dates in Oregon and British Columbia before the West Coast leg of this national tour culminates at SAT NAM FEST April 12-14 in Joshua Tree, Calif. East Coast dates have just been announced; see the full schedule here. The GuruGanesha Band, the latest project of GuruGanesha Singh, the prolific producer, guitarist, singer/songwriter and founder of Spirit Voyage Records, represents “something new, in that it’s bringing a guitar band sound into the world devotional music arena,” GuruGanesha says on his Web site. The band includes DANIEL PAUL, MICHELLE HURTADO, HANS CHRISTIAN, SAT KARTAR SINGH and GURUSANGAT SINGH, and from what we’ve heard, they jam. Here’s a sweet Wahe Guru/Hallelujah medley and more just posted from their show at Naam Yoga, Santa Monica last weekend, where TINA MALIA, ASH RUIZ and THOMAS BARQUEE joined in the fun.
Kirtaniyas Take the USA
Holi Fest in Utah marks the blast-off of a coast-to-coast tour for the KIRTANIYAS, a foursome of young Krishna devotees (VIJAY KRSNA, SARASVATI NUGENT, RASIKA COVIN, NITAI PREMO) who are fresh from a European tour celebrating the release of their latest CD, Heart and Soul. We first saw this band at Bhakti Fest 2010; they came onto the main stage at some past-midnight hour when most fest-goers had gone to bed and the rest of us were intermittently dozing on the lawn, bundled up against the chilly night. Well believe us, when these kirtan kids took the stage, the place warmed up fast — and all napping ceased. They rocked us out of our blankets and had everyone boogying to their bhakti beats the whole rockin’ set. A series of California tour dates starts 3/30 in San Francisco, with special guest PRAJNA VIEIRA. The band hits New York City in April, and more East Coast dates are expected. Go see them live, wherever you can.
Girish Grooves the Northeast
East Coasters don’t get enough of GIRISH, the NoCal-based master musician long revered for his tabla playing alongside the likes of KRISHNA DAS, DONNA DE LORY and countless others and now firmly planted amidst the Wallahs to Watch short list. This weekend he hits New Jersey and New York with a series of concerts and live-music yoga classes. Fresh off the release of his latest CD, Girish Remixed (which came just over a year after the brilliant Diamonds in the Sun), Girish has been touring incessently. He’s just back from Alaska (yes, Alaska) and is immediately heading back to California for more gigs closer to home, culminating in Shakti Fest May 11-13 in Joshua Tree. Take a look at his whole schedule, which is booked right through November — this man is everywhere! Go go Girish.
That’s our Five for the Bhav for this weekend. Where will you be chanting?