Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Manu in Maytime.

Young Manu Magnin from Belgium and his merry band of kirtaniyas will visit us this Sunday, to lead us in kirtan. Manu is the founder and organiser of the Radhadesh Mellows annual weekend of kirtan at the Chateau de Petit Somme, in Belgian and a 'deep lover of kirtan'. You can see his website here, with recordings of some of the kirtans from this January, at which both Gopal Hari and Chakrini, who have recently sung here, performed.

I like Manu's description of Kirtan there:

What is Kirtan?

Kirtan is an experience like no other. It combines sacred mantra, or spiritual words with vibrant, joyous music that lifts the soul and energizes the body. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. One leader sings the mantra, accompanied by a few instruments. After each line, the group – however large or small, respond with the same line. This call and response continues as the kirtan slowly unfolds.

Though the kirtan tradition originated in ancient India, it is no less relevant to our modern times. With the increasing demands of the average working life, kirtan is perhaps even more beneficial than ever.

In kirtan, there are no rules – you can sit or stand, or better yet, dance! You can clap or play instruments, and sing to your heart’s content. The only thing necessary is an open heart, open mind, and open ears.


Join us and sample it for yourself!

March Kirtan (Catching Up!)

Jahnavi Harrison and her father Kripamoya kindly came to lead our March kirtan. (You can see them sharing a joke above!). They had spent the previous day at a celebration of the anniversary of Sri Chaitanya the well-known promoter of kirtan, in medieval India. In fact, as Kripamoya explained, we can trace our present knowledge and practise of kirtan directly back to his influence. In between the very sweet and heartfelt kirtans, Jahnavi and Kripamoya talked of Chaitanya's writings and life which explained some of the deeper understanding of the art of kirtan; it's purpose and effects. It was interesting and pleasing to listen to, in fact as soon as it is edited, we'll post a podcast of it here.

And below is a YouTube clip of Jahnavi singing and playing violin at a kirtan in Australia, a few months ago. Her father quipped that her Jewish ancestry shows in her spirited violin improvisations!