Mantra Radio – May 23rd 2013

      Mantra Radio - May 23rd 2013

An eclectic mix of beats, layers, and chants.

Trevor Hall kicks things off this episode with an acoustic song from his release This is Blue. It is a story about the divine mother and father, Shiva and Shakti, and he sings about them in this context. The track is called Om Shakti Om. Next is new stuff from Chances r Good. One of the lines within the song – “so travel far, travel wide, you will always be inside the house of love”. More deep, chill sounds from him, perfect for meditating on the deeper aspects of life on a sunny afternoon at the park or the beach. The track is aptly entitled One Love. The opening set is capped off with east-meets-west fusion from DJ Drez. This is coming from his second Jahta Beat release, The Progression, with a track entitled True Self.

In 2001 Mike D of the Beastie Boys teamed up with western-born sadhu Bhagavan Das to produce the album Now. We hear one track from those recordings entitled Shri Krishna Arati. This contains the chant “Shri Krishna Govinda Hari Murari..”, names for connecting ones consciousness to the Divine through devotion. Bhagavan Das creates an ethereal, echoing space with his voice and ektara, and we also hear the sound of a bell and conch at the end of the piece. These are two items commonly used in the arati ceremony, which is a process of offering items such as incense and flowers to a form of the Divine.

Madeleine Bachan Kaur, sometimes known simply as Bachan, recently released a collection of music which she entitles Medicine Songs. These are a selection of songs used in types of sacred ceremony which originate from Central and South America. The track we hear is Aguita Que Vienes, a simple piece with guitar and voice, which explains the sacred and healing qualities of the water that flows on our Earth. Following are more Medicine Melodies from the album of the same name by Silvia Nakkach and Christopher Eickmann, with the track Shaman Journey. Singer, songwriter, and yogini, Morley is next with Keep Your Gaze Steady from her collaborative album Rhythms and Improv. “Keep your gaze steady my love, yours are the eyes that have seen God”. The track features tabla by percussionist Ehren Hanson. Capping off this set is another electronic reworking of Buddhist mantra recitation by Gary Azukx, this time with the Heart Sutra chanted by Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche.

The show ends with the Maha-Mantra set to a beautiful, mysterious tune in traditional style, and performed by Jagjit Singh & Chitra Singh. This track is coming from their album Krishna Bhajans.

Alternate MP3 Link – Mantra Radio – May 23rd 2013.mp3

Mantra Radio – May 16th 2013

      Mantra Radio - May 16th 2013

An eclectic mix of beats, layers, and chants.

Today’s episode is a flow of music and exclusive interviews with musician, singer, and bhakti-yogi, Jai Uttal.

We start things off with a remix entitled Hari Om from the album Dial M for Mantra, and produced by Rara Avis of the Desert Dwellers. The track contains chants to the Divine Couple, Sita and Rama.

We move into the first part of the interview where Jai talks about his upbringing in New York, and his first trip to India in the 1970’s, where he met his beloved Guru. This is followed by a track from the album Loveland, a collaboration with Ben Leinbach, entitled Gopala Lullaby, containing chants to Krishna in his form as a young cowherd boy. Jai then talks about his time in Bengal, India, where he lived and played with various musicians from the Baul tradition. We then hear a track from Beggars and Saints entitled Lake of Exploits, an album which was inspired by that period of his life, and which was recorded with his band at that time Pagan Love Orchestra.

Jai then speaks about the place Vrindavan in India, the parikrama path which circles the town, and his experiences walking there in a mood of devotion. Vrindavan is the place where Krishna grew up, and we hear a song containing some of his Divine names “Sri Krishna Govinda Hari Murari He Natha Narayana Vasudeva”, from the album Dial M for Mantra. In the next segment Jai explains the experience of coming from such places of pilgrimage and translating that feeling into the process of recording albums, and performing in more varied environments, such as at large kirtan festivals.

Next Jai talks about the aspect of dance and kirtan, and how one can be literally moved to movement by ecstatic devotional feelings. He talks about his wife Nubia, a yogini and classical Indian dancer, and we hear a song entitled Shakya Muni Prayer, from an album she made with Jai and Ben Leinbach called Pranayama. This contains the chant “Om Muni Muni Mahamuni Shakyamuni Swaha” – a Buddhist chant to Gautama Buddha.

In the next segment Jai talks about his Kirtan Camp which happens twice a year, and also his recent Kirtan Kids album, an album featuring devotional themed stories by Jai, and enthusiastic kirtan chanted by children. We hear also the track Sita Rama-Raghupati from the live album Nectar.

Nearing the end of the show, we hear Syama Bolo from Jai and Ben Leinbach’s release Bhakti Bazaar, along with some words about Jai’s album Queen of Hearts, a collection of songs dedicated to Radha and Krishna. He talks about the role Radha plays in pure devotion, and how we can understand the mood of selfless service through her embodiment of it. We cap things off with a track called Radha Remix from the album Nectar, a track produced by Ben Leinbach.

Also featured in this show are the songs Govinda and Surya from Music for Yoga, Gopala’s Dream from Dial M for Mantra, and Distant Episode from Monkey.

Alternate MP3 Link – Mantra Radio – May 16th 2013.mp3