2013 Grammy Nomination for Best New Age Album
New Age. Sweet. Always a fun time.
Krishna Das (NOT Kristna as I kept typing in my prep here) was born Jeffrey Kagel in 1947. What we're about to hear actually falls under the classification of kirtan, a devotional music where the names of God are chanted. He is also supposedly the best known artist in this genre. This is also totally new to me, so let's see what we've got here.
We start this off with "Samadhi Sitaram," which leads in quietly and softly, setting a really nice tone right away. At 11:48 though, I warn you, this is among the shorter tracks of this 5-track collection. So don't be fooled - this will wind up being just as long a listening session as so many others. But back to focusing on the song at hand here! Krishna leads in this chorus of singers with a call-and-response setting, and very gentle beats coming in through the background. The chorus is incredibly blended, though I'm wondering at this moment if it's actually the audience - entirely possible. And if it is the audience, well, wow, they are spot on. The lyrics never deviate from the initial chant from what I can tell, which, surprisingly, doesn't get boring. I really need to learn to meditate - I think I've found the perfect music to do it to. Even as the musicians pick up and add in as the song moves on, the whole thing remains gentle and soothing.
We transition into "Hare Krishna" just about seamlessly. And really, if this isn't a chorus, they are a very well adapted audience. I could imagine a screen projecting the lyrics for them to sing behind Kirshna Das, like you see at church or worship concerts. Yet, somehow, this doesn't have that same feeling. It feels like these people know these words by heart and are truly just feeling it along with the music. It's really an incredible thing to imagine, and I'd think an even more unbelievable thing to experience. What's really getting me is the positivity in these voices singing back to him. They seem to full of hope, and that's just amazing and lovely. Even as the song speeds up, you get more and more joy out of these people, as well as Krishna Das' deep voice itself. They even start singing along with each other instead of call and response, making this really one strong group of voices in praise. As they really pick up speed in the last few minutes, you can hear clapping and cheers - I'd bet there's some dancing going on. Man, what a fun-sounding time!
"Baba Hanuman" comes at us very slowly and deeply. There's a definitely space between the last song and this one, and the voice is lower and more droning than before. This one is so much more solemn than the previous have been. It's not really sad, but there's this element of coming out of the darkness to it. There's, I guess, a small sense of hope, but nothing that denote fear. It gets more positive, with a realization of a tough past. Truthfully, it's a nice feeling to hear expressed.
I was just flowing along so well with the last song playing as I got a couple of things done around here, it took me a minute or two to realize that "Namah Shivaya" started playing. There was a legitimate change in pacing and tone though, which is what finally woke me up. This sound takes things a little more down a tough path, like an outpouring of tough times and things happening. Like a cleansing, but I have yet to hear the easier times ahead. Ah, but it does pick up. The rest is a bit happier, I suppose. I also suppose that in long songs like this, you can't really maintain that sadness for the entire time. You have to have an out-of-the-darkness time along the way. In the closing moments, we're reminded of the start sound, along with a sweet Irish sounding chord that is slightly out of place, but pretty nonetheless.
"Devi Puja" is the final song in this bit of a collection, and the shortest one on the album overall. It's very slow, and very steady. I can't place my finger on the mood of this one quite as clearly as the others though. The Irish organ sound is back though, quietly playing through the backing and keeping the song going. There is a transition a little before the halfway point, which brings this into an almost contemporary sound, with a guitar playing along that gives it just a little bit of something different. The song is moving, for sure. It's just hard to place a finger on how exactly. But somehow, that's okay.
- "Samadhi Sitaram"
- "Hare Krishna"
- "Babe Hanuman"
Did I win a free month of Spotify Premium? Because I haven't heard a single commercial throughout the last two albums I've listened to. BUT more importantly, I was left, uninterrupted, to listen to this whole amazing experience. I somehow even feel a little more at peace, which may have been the point. But really, just what an amazing, perfect experience for all involved. This is really, truly, something special.
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