Kirtan: The Art and Devotion of Sacred Music
Paramahansa Yogananda, in his introduction to a collection of Cosmic Chants, describes music as a "divine art" and sound as "the most powerful force in the universe." Devotional singing is an integral part of YogaFest that is woven into classes, highlighted during designated kirtan sessions, and which springs up spontaneously throughout the festival under the trees and stars.
A full list of musical offerings and events is available below for YogaFest 2017!
Harmonic Voice Meditation:
Don Allen & Jeremy Fulwiler
Description: An acapella singing ensemble directed by Don Allen and Jeremy Fulwiler. We welcome you to gather with us in circle to attune to the omnipresent life force that nurtures and sustains us all. Each ceremony begins with calling in the directions and our guides, as well as setting sacred intention. We warm up our voices up with toning, and then dive deeply into a 90 minute journey of co-creating a harmonic and resonant soundscape of improvisational singing. The intention is on listening to and singing in harmony with one another, free of words or non-harmonic exploration. Towards the end of our vocal journey, we offer this practice as metta -a gift of love to all beings. The space is open to movement and making physical contact with one another while joining our voices together as an improvisational choir. Though there may be light instrumentation on occasion, the focus is joining the instrument of our singing voices together.
About Don Allen: A musician, teacher, and practitioner of esoteric healing arts, Don Allen has long been aware of the intersection of music and health/wellness. He teaches classes in culturally specific drum rhythms at the Collegiate and High School level. He facilitates ongoing drum circles, and creates special event presentations for communities and the healthcare industry in southeast Michigan. He performs with the Tree of Life Drum & Dance Society and the Full Moon Kirtan band. www.drum4wellness.net
About Jeremy Fulwiler (LMSW, ACSW, CTS, E-RYT): is a Body Psychotherapist and Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, as well as founder of Wellness Beyond Words in Ferndale, Michigan. For 20 years, Jeremy has been learning, practicing and developing skills that integrate mind, body and spirit for deeper personal health and vitality. Jeremy also worked for 15 years as a music teacher and performer. www.wellnessbeyondwords.com
Kirtan Dance Workshop:
Description: Kirtan Dance combines the healing vibrational practice of devotional singing (nada yoga), with the whole body experience of dancing. Sessions begin with chanting a kirtan/song together, then move into dancing. Simple Indian folk and Bollywood dance moves will combine with classical dance mudras/hand gestures, and hatha yoga. Participants dance together to the same kirtan that they sing. Mind, body, and spirit are engaged in balance, allowing great joy, ecstasy, and peace to be experienced. Sessions end with a silent meditation.
About: Madhavi Marcia Mai’s early training in modern dance was at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and at the Alvin Ailey Dance Studio in New York City. In India she began her training in Bharatanatyam at Tiveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi, but then transferred to Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts in Chenna, to study dance, dramatic theory, and carnatic vocal music. When she returned to the United States, Madhavi completed an M.A. in South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research focused on the history of Bharatanatyam, particularly its revival in the early twentieth century, and its subsequent discovery by the West. As the Artistic Director of Sadhana Dance Theater, Madhavi performs and choreographs with the ensemble and teaches all levels of students through Sadhana Studio. From 2000-2012 she was a Lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Music at Oakland University, and returned in 2016 to teach Dance In American Culture. She has been an IAM meditation teacher at the Amma Center of Michigan for many years as well.
Kirtanandi Acoustic Kirtan: Alicia Smith & Friends
Description: Experience sublime bhakti through gentle, but powerful, acoustic kirtan. While you sing, dance or play, you may begin to piece together what seems separate within you. Find wholeness. Find oneness. We offer chants of different varieties, some with a folk sound, others with a reggae sound, some soft, and some with a heavy beat. We draw inspiration from different religions and spiritual traditions, all to keep our own faith exciting and share this experience of bliss and love for all, authentically. Come play with us!
About: Alicia Dawn Smith owns and operates Infinite Bliss Yoga and Bodywork in Kalamazoo, MI. She fell in love with the Sun Salutation in India in 2007. Before going to India, Alicia found her yoga practice inconsistent and confusing. It (Yoga) was a glorious free-for-all that sometimes felt satisfying, and sometimes didn't. The sun salutation filled in the blank for her on what to do first. She intends to offer this gift of knowing where to start, to anyone who intends to incorporate daily practice into their lives.
Mantra Music Medicine: Kailash Bruder & Friends (Jaishree Bruder, Krishnamoyee Churdar, Trevor PritamHari Eller)
Description: Devotional Chanting is a musical form of meditation with roots in the world's most ancient wisdom traditions. You use your voice to cultivate and sustain the highest quality of mental and emotional experience available to human beings. According to the Sanskrit-based traditions, when you repeat the mantras ("mind-protectors"), you're pronouncing the very Sound Forms of Perfection, making your Highest Ideal immediately present to you in the form of your own voice. In chanting, we exchange our ordinary, troubled minds and hearts for something simpler, higher, more refined, and infinitely more vast. The effects over time include greater peace of mind and emotional fulfillment, a reduction in the unhealthy self-concern that causes us so much suffering, and direct knowledge of the Supreme.
About: Dr. Kurt “Kailash” Bruder (Ph.D., M.Ed.) is a communication scholar-teacher, a trained psychotherapist, and a student of spiritual development. He is the author/recording artist of Following Sound into Silence: Chanting Your Way Beyond Ego into Bliss (published by Hay House). Non-sectarian, intellectually satisfying, and exquisitely illustrated, this groundbreaking guide to devotional chanting is accompanied by a CD of fifteen authentic mantras set to gorgeous music. This is the "one-stop resource" for chanters, "a beautifully designed and carefully written guide to Kirtan, Sound Yoga, and Mantra Practice" (David Newman). Steven Rosen, author of The Yoga of Kirtan, says that this book/CD "may be the standard work on this subject for years, if not centuries." Kailash’s new album of mantra-music-medicine is called Longing. Deep, soulful, and hypnotic, this collection spans the Shivite and Vaishnavite Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Muslim musical and religious worlds, with mantra music and sacred song that supports and inspires intense devotional chanting to the One. Please visit Kailash’s website: http://OmKailash.com
Sakshi Zion & Baraka with Friends (Reggae Kirtan)
Baraka: Sakshi Zion and Gabriel Lantz
Description: Kirtan holds healing powers to the wounded souls of humanity, and people long for this experience. Kirtans are ancient and mystical chants which purify the consciousness and connect one to the Divine through specific mantras, tones, and musical vibrations. We are simply a vessel of the healing vibrations that come through in the kirtan experience. The Divine in all its Amazing and Powerful Energies and Aspects infuse the mantras and kirtans with tremendous healing power and inspiration. We also interweave our kirtans with stories which help relate the mantras and divine names to the participants of the kirtan.
About: Baraka, hailing from Bloomington, Indiana, have shared the stage with the legendary reggae group: The Mighty Diamonds, as well as some famous Kirtan artists such as Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, and Arjun Baba, and several other artists including Matisyahu, MC Yogi, The Kirtaniyas, WAH, Dave Stringer, Tina Malia, Shyam Das, DJ Drez, Tubby Love and More. Baraka also performed in front of tens of thousands of people at the Historic Interfaith and Human Values Conference called the Silver Jubilee in Bangalore, India. Their music is an ever evolving voyage of self-discovery and transformation, and the message speaks to unity, compassion, and peace.
Singing the Divine Glories: Trevor Chaitanya Eller & Friends
Description: Kirtan is the voice of many joining to create one sound. This shows us the reality yoga seeks to unfold. Our True Nature, is intrinsically interconnected. What is spiritual realization without giving back to others? In kirtan we give to each other. Kirtan is a chance to collectively and publicly share the fever and passion we have for the loving source of reality, many call God our Source. Singing the Divine Glories uplifts our self and others. It is the path of sharing Divine Nectar. In Kirtan practice by chanting we can get that direct experience of meditating on the object of our hearts desire, love itself.
About: Trevor Chaitanya PritaHari is the Co-Director of the Yoga Maya Center for Yogic Arts and Cultures in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, and director of the Yoga Maya Lifestyle Submersion Course and 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. Trevor practices yoga therapy and is a body worker. He has been running the Full Moon Kirtan- a monthly non-sectarian gathering of Bhakti Yogis since 2011, and has traveled nationally and internationally in several kirtan bands.
Supersonic Soul Circle: Kirtan: Lucas Malson, Scott Pelton, Kim Harris & Aaron Wright
Description: Kirtan... with spunk! Through collective harmony, rhythm, and energy, we become supersonic, and move beyond sound into deeper possibility. This collective musical journey of kirtan, involves singing sacred mantras from different spiritual traditions. Group participation in singing the mantras, dancing, or even just clapping, can empower, elevate consciousness, and bring inner freedom. We invite you to join us as we celebrate life with some soul-moving kirtan!
About: Native to Madison, Wisconsin, Supersonic Soul Circle is a diverse group of seekers who love going on musical journeys varying from subtle whispers, high-vibration outpourings, and some improvisation in between! They have been practicing Kirtan and Yoga-centric music for over five years, and all practice Yoga in its various forms: Bhakti, Raja (Kriya), Karma, and Jnana. Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SupersonicSoulCircle/
Vedic Puja: Sacred Music with Naren
Description: Puja is India's traditional ritual of devotional worship of the Divine, using offerings such as flowers and fruits with the chanting of Sanskrit mantras and prayers. Puja connects one's outer worship with the inner worship of soul to Spirit. Puja calls in the Divine. It charges the atmosphere with sanctity and is an ideal setting to come and meditate, chant, and pray.
Naren K Schreiner represents the sacred culture of India blended with American idealism. In 1996, he became a monk in the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram (monastery) of his Satguru, Paramahansa Yogananda. During those 14 years as a monk, Naren was fortunate to spend a few years with a monk from India who was a gifted devotional singer and a classically trained vocalist of the dhrupad genre. In 2010 Naren chose to leave the ashram and expand his lifework. In Kolkata, Naren was invited to refine his musicianship at the ITC-Sangeet Research Academy in India, where he studied with maestros of classical music. In 2012 Naren founded Sangita Yoga in Encinitas, CA. Naren continues to deepen and expand his spiritual understanding and practices under the guidance of Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati at the Kali Mandir, where Naren serves as an assistant pujari.
Whispers Of Om Kirtan : Karen Epperson & Steve Sandner
Description: Come listen to some beautiful, peaceful Kirtan provided by our very own Song of the Morning residents and musicians!
Yoga Sings with Prem: P
remji Namadeva (Rev. Terry Lancaster)
Description: Yoga Sings with Prem will focus on the Yogic practice of Kirtan, which helps still the mind and open the heart. Kirtan is essentially meditation in action, and devotion in motion.
About: Premji Namadeva (Rev. Terry Lancaster) is the Interfaith Minister at Mothers Trust Ashram in Ganges, MI, and has been a practitioner of Yoga for 25 years