Mark Anderson led our September kirtan with the expertise born of a lifetime's chanting. His rich, deep voice varied in moods and expression, as he sang a variety of mantras and sacred songs, and we followed merrily on.
We were surprised to learn that Mark is a trainee firefighter, with a love of adventure and a desire to help others. Keshava remarked, in introducing him, that this is entirely befitting a kirtan leader: There is a 16thC Sanskrit poem which describes kirtan as "extinguishing the blazing fire of human suffering". So a fire-fighter in more than one sense!
Mark (aka Madhva) spoke of his involvement with kirtan. Although he grew up with it, he performs it now just because it is such a wonderful thing to do.
"Every Friday night I get together with a large group of friends, and we spend several hours chanting. Of all the things you could do on a Friday night, if I were to say I was going to spend it singing prayers and mantras, you might think there were more exciting things to do than that. Yet Friday night is the highlight of my week. "
He brings such concentration and enthusiasm to his chanting, that you can see how he gets so much out of it!
Although we'd been expecting Mark to bring his whole kirtan band, only one other member was able to come this time, but they left with promises of returning with more.
Many thanks to Mark on behalf of us all - looking forward to next time.