Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Oxford's Longest Kirtan

Blissful Chanting!

  By Lucy Barton

At first, Wheatley Park School looked like any other school building would do on a Sunday morning. Silent, almost lonely, as it awaited the return of its throngs of children and staff to repopulate it come Monday. But this Sunday, it would be witness to the longest continuous kirtan ever held publicly within the county of Oxfordshire. As we walked through the double doors of the main entrance, we were struck by the transformation that had overcome the school hall. 

The walls were hung with richly coloured tapestries and the air was filling with the sweet smell of incense. But the crowning glory of the decorations was the beautiful altar, where Kirtan Krishna stood, flanked by beautifully arranged floral displays and illuminated by tea-light candles. It was certainly a spiritually uplifting environment. The floor, making optimal use of the school’s resources, was spread with blue gym mats, which made surprisingly comfortable seating; and the hall was arranged with the musicians seated in the centre encircled by the respondent chanters.

Lucy, the author of this piece, relaxing at home

The kirtans began with a melodious invocation by Ranchor Prime, a familiar voice of the Oxford kirtans. Many more of our favourite visiting kirtaniyas (kirtan leaders) were present, such as the sisters Jahnavi and Tulasi, and some new faces, such as Amala Harinam, a very well-reputed travelling kirtan leader. The mood was both meditative and dynamic; the kirtans would start gently, and then gradually mount to frenzied tempos, spurring everyone to clap their hands, and some of the more energetic to dance. The rhythm was augmented by the widely distributed kartal-cymbals and shakers, and the melodies embellished by the beautiful playing of Nadiya Mani and the other flautists.


The kirtans were continuous, but water, strawberries and yoghurt, and a sumptuous vegetarian lunch were provided for chanters who needed replenishment. It was an enlivening and uplifting occasion for all; perhaps the most impressive aspect was that, even on such a large scale, one hundred and fifty people through the day, the kirtan managed to preserve the same atmosphere of sanctuary and focus that is so unique to the Oxford kirtans. It is a real tribute to all those who were involved in the preparation of this event and to all the participants.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to Dev & Rachna Bahl, and Nimesh & Anita Desai, and their families, who acted as organisers, helpers, and sponsors, and a special thanks to all those who came to give their hearts and voices to the kirtan for making this event such a success.

Suitable for all age groups...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Six-Hour Kirtan - first shots

These are the first photos to emerge from the very successful kirtan we had last Sunday, which actually lasted seven hours, and attracted 150 people. Respect to the organisers. More to come, as well as recordings to be podcast.

Kishori Jani leads kirtan

Young and old, brown and white, rich and poor (I think I saw a poor person) chant together

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Oxford's First Six-Hour Kirtan

We are very happy to announce Oxford's first six-hour kirtan. A mini chanting marathon for our kirtan community in Oxford.

On Sunday July 15th we invite you all to join us in chant at Wheatley Park School, Holton, Oxford OX33 1QH, 10am – 4pm. See our Facebook event page @

Our chanters will include many who have previously led us in chant at our gatherings Oxford, and some kirtan leaders who, although new to the Oxford scene, are Kirtaniyas of repute.

There will be food served, inspiring music and song, wonderful company, and a warm atmosphere – well, it will be summer.

Come for the whole day, or pop in for a part, bring a friend or family but don't miss this great opportunity to chant your cares away.

If you can – so we can inform the cooks of numbers expected – please feel free to drop an aknowledgment to And also feel free to copy and distribute the poster above.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Podcast 005 - Tulasi Harrison Sings

In this podcast Tulasi Harison sings two bhajans and a kirtan. The first, Jaya Radha Madhava is a lovely little bhajan (hymn) meditating on Vrindavan, the birth place of Krishna, and remembering all the places associated with spiritual relationships of love.

The second is Sri Krishna Chaitanya a short mantra very popular in Bengal, and the third is Govinda Jaya Jaya, a simple na ssublime bhajan which originated in the Radha Raman temple some hundreds of years ago.

We are very thankful to Tulasi for leading us in kirtan so often in Oxford. This picture is of Tulasi singing the very Bhajans you are about to hear, in July of 2011.

This recording is an hour long, so sit back, or straighten your back, and prepare to hear and be happy. If you find your foot tapping you are in the zone.

Remember you can subscribe to these podcasts by filling your email address into the box in the side, clicking the RSS button, or going into itunes and searching for 'Oxford Kirtan'.

Download this episode (right click and save)

or listen now: