I am also a classically trained musician, having focused on violin and viola in my teens, reaching Grade 5 level before stopping playing music, listening and dancing to lots instead. I spent many years clubbing or going to gigs and festivals in and around London, as well as across the UK and in other countries I have lived, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Austria and more. My musical influence stretches far and wide across nations and genres to encompass a huge library of musical deliciousness.
These days my main musical focus is on sacred music and call-and-response mantra chant (kirtan), as well as ecstatic dance events. I sing and play the harmonium, as well as a playing a little very basic percussion. I also love to give sound journeys with the sacred sounds of the Koshi Bells, each of which represents a different element.
Mantras and Kirtan - Bhakti Yoga
Valley Kirtaniya Collective
Kirtan (Sanskrit: कीर्तन) is a form of meditation through music, where we chant Sanskrit mantras and accompany them with melodies, often through Bhajans, which are call-and-response chants with one person or perhaps two leading, and the rest of the group (chorus) listening and echoing with their response. Kirtan is a devotional practice, known as Bhakti yoga, usually chanting the words of deities (or many names of the divine) and mantras to open our hearts and to melt into stillness between bhajans.
Jai Uttal, a leader of Kirtans worldwide for at least 30 thirty years says that, "these ancient chants, contain a transformative power and healing energy. By singing these prayers we join a stream of consciousness and devotion that has been flowing for centuries."
My Kirtan journey began at the Yoga Sanctuary in Southampton in 2010 and when I moved to Austria in 2016, I helped found a group of yogis and musicians called Valley Kirtaniya Collective, where we share our love of music and mantra, as well as sacred music and heart songs from other traditions. It's all about vibration and stillness. You can find us at on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/valleykirtaniyas108/?modal=admin_todo_tour
I have studied a little with a classical Indian musician and teacher and I am currently focusing on learning Classical Sanskrit.
In 2019 and 2020, I was lucky enough to have shared Kirtan with Valley Kirtaniya Collective in Vorarlberg, and then with others on retreat with the Satsang Foundation in Switzerland, at Ecstatic Dance St. Gallen, also in Switzerland, and at Yogafestival Bodensee with Johannes Vogt & Friends in Germany.