What’s Ahead: Jai Uttal gets silly with kids kirtan; David Newman pairs up with Girish; the vibe gets high in NYC, and Dave Russell goes head to head with Tom Brady in Northampton, Mass. Community kirtans shine everywhere.
Best of the Weekend Bhav
Stillness and Silliness with Jai Uttal
We’re loving this trend of kids’ kirtans , and JAI UTTAL, with his effervescent playfulness and not-gonna’-grow-up nature, strikes us as the perfect artist to run with it. This Sunday, 2/5 (1-3 p.m.) at the Open Secret Bookstore in San Rafael, Calif., Jai Uttal is having a birth bash — an official CD release party that is — for his Kirtan Kids CD. Have you heard this? Kids or not, you can’t help but sing along with the child-friendly chants and listen raptly to Jai’s retelling of classic stories about Krishna, Ganesha and Hanuman. Joining Jai for the jam will be BEN LEINBACH, who co-produced the kids CD, and PRAJNA VIEIRA, Jai’s long-time vocal accompaniment. All parents are asked to remain in their cars. Or maybe that was a joke…
Before he gets silly with the little ones, you might another side of Jai at a chanting and meditation workshop with Deborah Chamberlin-Taylor called Entering the Still and Boundless Heart. Saturday, 2/4 in Woodacre, Calif. We’ve never seen Jai Uttal sit still for long, but his boundless heart is always on display. Sorry kids, this one’s for grown-ups.
Shakti Flows North: David, Mira, Girish & Philippo Franchini
Apparently Northern California is the place to be this weekend. (Now where’s that transporter when I need it?) DAVID NEWMAN and MIRA are teaming up with PHILIPPO FRANCHINI and GIRISH for two dates: Friday, 2/3 in San Francisco at St. Cyprian’s Church, and Saturday, 2/4 for the Shakti Music Fest in Santa Cruz, to raise funds for Santa Cruz schools. They were all together at Bhakti Fest last fall (above), and it was sublime. Beam me there, Scotty.
High Vibe Dance Party Bliss-Out in NYC
This is the latest in an ongoing series of music-dance-chant events put together by a tribe of conscious hipsters in New York, and they seem to just keep getting better. The line-up for this shakti-shaking gathering of the tribe includes LOTS of pump-up-the-vibe music — live and spun — plus drumming, sacred songs, and, oh yeah, kirtan, with SRIKALOGY, JESSE JOHNSON, ALOKANANDA and more. Do you know about SriKalogy? SriKala Kerel Roach is a singer/musician/turntablist who is fusing traditional Sanskrit chants with hip-hop riffs and dubstep beats to take chanting in a whole new direction. A new CD, “Kirtan Sessions: Vol. 1” will release this month, and you can get a teaser track for free right now. (You’ll want to.) For a taste of what can be expected this weekend, check this:
Superbowl Kirtan? Yeah!
We love this so much we couldn’t possibly NOT highlight it: DAVE RUSSELL, the Massachusetts-based bhakta who’s been spreading his kirtan love all around the Northeast for like 40 years, isn’t going to stop for some silly football game. Oh wait, it’s the Patriots vs. the Giants… Never mind, the chanting at this gathering in Northampton Sunday, 2/5 will be directed at a divine force even greater than Tom Brady. It’s Dave’s fifth annual Superbowl Kirtan, and it’s happening at Yoga Sanctuary, 150 Main St., Northampton, Mass., at 7 p.m.
The Rest of the Weekend Bhav
Back to Northampton, Mass. Who knew it was a hotbed of bhakti? Well, Dave Russell does, apparently (he’s competing with Tom Brady on Super Bowl Sunday in Massachusetts after all). So does ADAM BAUER. The ubiquitous bass player to so many wallahs will be singing in his home ‘hood at a kirtan and Bombay Beats electro dance party Saturday, 2/4. Set the vibe high with Adam’s call-and-response, then let it flow into ecstatic dance with DJ’s Ravinhead & Brando spinning Indian and Middle Eastern electro-grooves.
In Cambridge, TOM LENA’s Kitchari Kirtan is back this Friday, 2/3, offering “homemade kitchari (a vegetarian rice and beans dish from India), chai tea, and chanting by the fire.”
In Boston, a 6-Hour Kirtan at ISKCON Boston (72 Commonwealth Ave.) on Sunday 2/5 will celebrate the appearance of Lord Nityananda, a Vaishnava saint and disciple of bhakti pioneer Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. RAMA RAYA DASA from Vrindavan, India and several others will be leading chants. Kirtan from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., followed by special Sunday Feast (free).
In Ayer, Mass., NE of Boston, you can lead the chants at Open Mic Kirtan Songs of Peace at the Wholesome Cafe & Bookstore, where the bhav will be flowing in the back room and the kitchen will be open for snacks.
In Ridgefield, Conn., SATYA FRANCHE & MA KIRTAN will lead their monthly kirtan at Touch of Sedona, Friday, 2/3, 7 p.m.
New York City Resonates
In addition to the HIGH-VIBE DANCE PARTY on Saturday (see Best of the Bhav, above), the Broome Street Temple (430 Broome St.) will be resonating with sacred sounds from NINA RAO, DEVADAS, ANJULA PRASAD, SUNDAR DAS and TERRENCE for the regular first-Friday kirtan, 2/3 at 7 p.m. (Hold the date for Maha Sivaratri weekend at the temple Feb. 18-20, which includes a 6-hour kirtan and all-night Shiva puja.)
New York’s Bhakti Center (25 First Ave.) will honor Nityananda’s appearance day with a festival featuring bhajans and darshan, teachings on Nityananda, and a feast, all Sunday, 2/5, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The South: Community Kirtan Lives
Community kirtan is alive and well in the South! In Columbia, Md., Rufus Juskus leads SACRED CHANTS KIRTAN at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center again this Friday 2/3, part of a long-standing community kirtan group in the DC/Bethesda area.
In Sarasota, Fla., CHERYL & TIM CHAFFEE, the forces behind the recent Rock the Bhakti festival featuring Shantala and Wah!, will be continuing the bhav with community kirtan at their yoga studio, Garden of the Heart Yoga Center Friday, 2/3. Tim and Cheryl’s band, PALMS TOGETHER, is rumored to be putting together a CD of recordings from the festival.
And in Atlanta, BHAKTI MESSENGER will join SUNMOON PIE for an evening of kirtan and Hebrew chanting at the Selah Center on Saturday, 2/4.
In Hartford, Wisc., DENNIS HAWK is doubling up his chant calendar this weekend, with two Yoga Jam and Kirtan events, first for kids on Sunday afternoon, followed by a grown-up version. If you’re in Wisconsin and like to chant, you must know Dennis Hawk, right? Just take a look at the schedule he’s got coming up, with gigs all over the state and beyond.
Mountain State bhaktas should be pumped for next weekend’s Yoga Rocks the Butte with DAVE STRINGER, STEVE GOLD, GOVINDAS, JOEY LUGASSY, DJ DREZ and more. You can win two free passes to Yoga Rocks the Butte at this week’s Kali Puja and Kirtan at Om Time Temple on Saturday, 2/4, where you’ll find Kali-invoking kirtan with VAMADASA and puja (sacred ceremony) led by ADITI DEVI. Jai Kali Ma!
If you’re fast, you can get your chant on at Friday Night Yoga Club, Boulder, 2/3, when this weekly kula hosts “YogaKirtan Infusion” at Shine. Kirtan led by SHANTI & SCOTT MEDINA and their band will be followed by a dance party with PAUL TEMPLE & MANTRAMATRIX, which describes itself as “a sonic kaleidoscope of chant, dance and electronic music that calls on the power of mantra to generate an energy field of Divine Bliss.” Advance tickets for this bhakti bash are sold out, but a few will be available at the door. Hurry.
West Coast Feels Good
Want to feel good in San Diego? Join the CHAD SCOTT BAND, STEVE GOLD with his band STONED ON SHIVA, and REAL BREW for the Feel Good Festival at the Griffin, Saturday, 2/4. The event supports the Feel Good…Music Project a non-profit effort to support at-risk youth with positive music and healthy lifestyle choices.
At San Diego’s kirtan temple, Bhakti Yoga Shala, ANDRES SALCEDO & THE BHAKTI EXPERIENCE hold the space Friday night beginning at 9 p.m., with Dhaveed Haribol Das on percussion, Emily Michelle on dolhak, and Manohar Gurung on tabla. Shala co-founders GOVINDAS AND RADHA lead chanting Saturday night, 2/4. And the studio almost always offers a bhakti vinyasa flow class to round out the weekend
In Los Angeles, two events with VAISESIKA DASA, a Vedic scholar and spiritual leader who has been immersed in kirtan and bhakti yoga for more than 40 years: Friday, 2/3 at Core Power Yoga (11819 Wilshire Blvd.) for kirtan and discussion of bhakti yoga, and Saturday 2/4 at the Temple Room (3764 Watseka) for a discussion of the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu text. Details here.
Up the coast a bit in Long Beach, LARISA STOW & SHAKTI TRIBE will be doing some Soul Transformation at a rockin’ kirtan party at Ja Yoga, Friday, 2/3. “Come prepared to dance!” the Tribe says. Oh yeah.
Bhav on. Sat Nam.
Heads up Bhaktas! We try to stay on top of what’s happening in the kirtan scene, and while we can’t cover everything, we know we’re missing great stuff that we want to write about! Tell us! Email us, post links on our Facebook page, or Tweet us.