Kirtan on the Upper West Side

Posted on October 7, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Dear Hearts:  last  night was the annual kirtan at a sweet little church on the Upper West Side in NYC. If I had to choose one session to go to every year...this is it. Every year magic happens. There was only one time I missed attending this (but it was livestreamed so I got to see it...). The drive in was uneventful and the weather cooled down quickly (note to self:  next year, wear more layers...).

A wonderful vocal group named Prana opened the night. I had heard of them in 2007 and attended the kirtan/concert at the Bearville Theater in 2007 which was a beautiful night- they are led by a gentleman named Baird Hersey and they sing using overtone singing. Most of their work is a capella and Baird's voice is unlike anything I have heard (but I know my experience is very limited). But the tears came for me when KD joined them for "My Foolish Heart/Bhaje Govindam". This is one of my favorite chants that usually brings me to tears very quickly - but the quality of this was very emotional, very personal. The voices blended beautifully to make this chant an energy of healing, salvation and a coming home to that wounded heart.

There was a guest drummer last night - KD's grandson Bodhi. He is already showing a gift as a musician at age 2 (and by the Grace of Spirit, his soul has come to a family that can and will nurture that talent). KD commented that once Bodhi has a drum in front of him...he won't do anything else. If you want to see a video, here is one that was filmed last Sunday on the Bhajan Boat Cruise (I was there - at the time this was filmed, I was at the back of the room and couldn't see Bodhi with his drum):

Thanks to The Bhakti Beat for the how Bodhi studies Arjun Bruggeman who plays the tabla.

Bodhi was very well behaved onstage and Janaki, his mother, took excellent care of him. She is a very attentive, loving mother and in observing how she cared for Bodhi she reminded me of someone.


When Sam was about 18 months old, we went to a family wedding. I knew Sam was going to be a curious little one so I did let him explore during the reception.

I was 1 step behind him and could anticipate any potiential situations before they happened. I watched him like the proverbial hawk and after the reception, people came up to me with many compliments about how well he was cared for. Janaki did the same anticipating. As I was leaving the church last night, I stopped and introduced myself to Janaki and told her my story along with my compliments on how wonderful a mother she is. She is a lovely young woman. It is also very evident that there is a strong family and friend support structure in place. Bodhi will always know that he is loved and his emerging talent will be nurtured. I feel he is healing many hearts already.

KD and the band were in beautiful form last night - even when they did a new chant that they had never rehearsed yet. This particular chant did something to me - it helped me grow up in my approach to chanting by truly taking me into its sound energy. I let go of the groupie vibration and just let the sound I felt waves of bliss and I just rode it. I could have chanted this particular mantra for hours and KD made a similar comment once it was done. I didn't want this chant to end. Am crossing my fingers that KD puts this particular chant on a future CD so I can add it to my chant practice. (or if somebody filmed it for YouTube, I can add it to the chant practice list....I hope.)

I grew up last night. I had been perceiving a sea change in how I approached chant and with the spiritual work I've been doing recently, this may have had an impact on the chant practice. No matter how I look at it, there is a new depth to my chant practice and to my learning how to truly pray.

And for that education, I give thanks to KD, to those other beautiful souls who teach me...

All Love,

Padme A'Tea (Tashi Drolma)

Categories: None