TABLA MANTRA /CD
BY DANIEL PAUL FEATURING
GINA SALA AND THE KIRTAN
TABLA MANTRA MUSIC
Tabla Mantra welcomes the listener to a
sublime dream world of sound and intricate rhythms woven together through the
heart. This unique album has its base in the
Indian style of singing tarana. It features
an underlying slow and prosaic love song
to God, followed by lyrics that are fast
rhythmic syllables akin to scat singing.
This album’s percolating, cleansing, and
fascinating style is entwined with a fearless artistry of vocals, strings, flute, and, of
course, Daniel Paul’s tabla. It is obviously
birthed from Daniel’s heart, his genius,
and his sensitivity.
Along with outrageous rhythms, there’s
amazing singing. The sacred names are
caressed reverently and offered into the
khumb (the collective song). Gina Sala’s
evocative voice delights along with Prajna Viera, C.C. White, and Neeraja Parsons. The strong men’s voices alternately
lead and lurk in the background, offering
their sentiments and weaving melodies and
rhythms with intense devotion.
Tracks such as the luscious and beautiful
Gurudeva draw you in deep, while Krishna Prabhu showcases Steve Gorn’s bansuri
flute with Jai Uttal.
I cannot stop playing Tabla Mantra in my
classes, in my car, for ceremonies, and for
my friends and students. Turn it up, tap
your feet, move your body, and breathe in
Reviewed by Kristin Olson, the founder of Urban Yoga
in Palm Springs who is a Desert AIDS Project and 100
Women supporter. She has been teaching for 37 years
and is a featured teacher at Bhakti Fest. Urbanyoga.org
SHYAMDAS LIVE AT BHAKTI
FEST MIDWEST 2012 /CD
Shyamdas once said, “If you speak about
that which is most sacred to you, it goes.
Sometimes, it is best to not say a word.”
Often, words fall short to depict the emotions and passions that inspire our hearts
to beat, our throats to close, and our eyes
to water. For Shyam, this was the Divine;
so he sang about it.
If you ever had the opportunity to see Shyamdas lead the call-and-response chanting of kirtan, you know there was nothing traditional about his style. There was
only bhav (known as a “sacred mood”).
Dig deeper, and you find a someone who
was both a Bhakta (devotee) and scholar
deeply devoted to his path.
One summer evening during the 2012
Bhakti Fest Midwest, Shyamdas’ late night
set was so transcendent that the audience
and kirtan wallahs alike stood in awe as
Shyam poured his heart not only into his
chanting, but also into the Vedic stories
Plans for a live recording of this particular
performance were in place long before the
tragic news spread of Shyamdas’ passing
in January, 2013. As an offering to the
beloved Sanskrit scholar, kirtan wallah,
and devoted Bhakta, this live album will
remain most sacred to kirtan lovers, ensuring that the love and legacy of Shyamdas lives on.
Album available at Bhaktifest.com
Reviewed by Vanessa Harris, the Editorial Coordinator at
the Bliss Network and Associate Producer of Bhakti Fest.
TOUCHED BY THE SUN /CD
BY TODD BOSTON
Touched by the Sun, Todd Boston’s second solo album, is a beautiful offering
to the yoga, spiritual, and world music
community. Todd is a regular fixture at
yoga and music festivals and regularly
accompanies renowned spiritual music
artist Snatam Kaur all over the world.
Produced by Grammy winner Will Ack-erman, Touched features an ensemble of
With this release, Todd creates a sound-scape that ebbs and flows like nature –
mountain peaks, flowing rivers, rising and
falling ocean waves, and still forests. The
opening strains of the first song Alapana,
played by Todd on the dotar, inspires me
to take a long deep breath. As it transitions into the soothing sounds of Todd’s
acoustic guitar on Twilight, I realize that
this is no ordinary album – I will be taking a cathartic journey into the core of my
being. Touched inspires me to stop and
reflect on life and what’s really important.
Midway through the album, Surya is an
ethereal composition featuring Snatam
Kaur on freeform vocals. It is followed
by Full Moon, perhaps my favorite song
here, which waxes and wanes like the
moon herself. The album completes with
the uplifting and soulful title track, leaving me with a sense of fullness and hope.
I highly recommend this for yoga practice,
meditation, relaxation, and the simple enjoyment of music. Learn more (including
Todd’s summer festival schedule) at: Tod-dBoston.com.
Reviewed by Dan Blanchard, certified yoga teacher and
Ayurvedic practitioner, santoor player, and Indian Classical
MEDIA [ reviews ]