So I just signed up for a full-on weekend of chanting and kirtan at Omega Institute’s “Ecstatic Chant” festival over Labor Day. Yay!
To some the idea of chanting variations on “hare krishna” and other Hindu chants for three days straight may sound about as fun as a town hall meeting on health care. But for me and my yogi breathren it’s like a much less muddy, more bougie and better organized Woodstock.
My faves like Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, and Deva Premal will all be there with harmoniums (a kind of sacred Indian accordian-keyboard hybrid) and tabla drums and guitars and beautiful voices.
A recent New York Times article on kirtan chronicled one similar event–a Krishna Das concert in NYC, saying, “It was a definite scene — a mix of a religious revival meeting, a Grateful Dead concert, and summer camp. And it could certainly challenge many comfort zones. But if you can adjust your comfort level to include white people in dreadlocks and saris, if you can roll with belting out several rounds of “Hare Krishna” and “Om Nama Shivaya,” then you might just enjoy yourself.”
Ha! Love that. Another story on chanting on Huff Po said, “Krishna Das is like an adrenaline shot for the soul.” Yup. And for me, more than anything, it’s an opportunity to dance my prayers. Those kirtan wallas can get to a pretty rockin’, high-energy pitch–one that makes me jump up, swirl and whirl and hippie freestyle my lil yogic former punk rocker heart out.
If you want to dip your toes (or go all out and sign up), there’s info and some video clips on Omega’s site: http://www.eomega.org/omega/workshops/da149d9d52307a7a75542962885b0ebe/
And here’s a video of Krisha Das jamming out at last year’s Ecstatic Chant. He tends to tour all over–you can find dates here: http://www.krishnadas.com/.
I’ll definitely report back during or after the event with chanting inspiration.
Do you like to chant? Or have a devotional equivalent?
[Image of Krishna Das and his guru Neem Karoli Baba via: http://www.krishnadas.com/]
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