Arc of Ascent: An Evening of Kirtan, Songs and Stories

@ Body Mind Life


The call and response form of mantra chanting known as Kirtan is a consciousness-transforming practice, directing the singers to vanish into the song as drops merge into the ocean. The form is simple: a lead group calls out the melodies. The crowd responds, clapping and dancing as the rhythms build and accelerate.

The intention is to evoke and experience a state of pure loving awareness that is beyond words and concepts. It’s not unfair to say that the chanting of mantras is intended to be a completely mindless activity. It’s possible to understand the mantras as ancient wisdom or psychological metaphor and also as complete nonsense. The experience is the same for all: a feeling of intimacy with all the strangers surrounding you, concurrently expansive and still. Intensely, vividly, alive.

Yoga philosophy doesn’t ask anyone to believe in anything. It asks us to practice, to examine and inquire of our experience until we can witness the truth in our own heart and awareness. Perhaps the true understanding of the practice of kirtan can be found in the sense of unity, well-being and timelessness it elicits. The mantras quiet the mind, and the music frees the heart. Ecstasy is both the process and the product.

The evening will also feature original songs in English and poetry drawn from the Radiance Sutras.

Dave Stringer is a Grammy-nominated producer, singer, composer, writer, and teacher who has been widely profiled as one of the most innovative artists of the modern Yoga movement. His work engages the traditions of yoga philosophy, chanting, and meditation with the language and methods of neuroscience, translating them into modern participatory theatre, open to a multiplicity of interpretations and accessible to all. Dave is an articulate and inspiring public speaker, and is featured in the upcoming film Mantra: Sounds Into Silence. He has toured extensively, leading concerts, workshops and retreats all over the world.

Joss Jaffe is an American vocalist, tabla player and multi-instrumentalist. As a composer and producer he has created innovative albums including Svara Mandala, Echosystem and Dub Mantra to critical acclaim. Joss frequently collaborates with other respected artists including Grammy Award nominees Jai Uttal, Silvia Nakkach and Dave Stringer as well as Grammy Award winning Reggae artist Mykal Rose of Black Uhuru.

Haitch is a Southeast Queensland musician and composer. He started playing trumpet and piano at a young age, and has spent the last decade collecting the world instruments that he composes and performs with today. Native American flutes, Yidaki (didgeridoo), Balinese Suling flutes, mellophone, trumpet, piano, electric Indian zither, hybrid reeds and vocals all contribute a fresh twist to his expansive and deep yoga soundscapes

“I don’t know which to prefer, the beauty of inflections, or the beauty of innuendoes. The blackbird whistling, or just after.” — Wallace Stevens
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