jiva harmo kirtan
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Kirtan (call-and-response) singing and chanting are potent yoga practices as they shake us to the core with vibration, that from which we evolved, cleansing all 5 layers of our being.  Sanskrit reverberations are said to be that to which they refer (e.g., the Divine), so we need not have a full conscious understanding of the language or tradition for subtle meaning to manifest in us, though contemplation of the meaning adds another whole dimension.  Eventually we become absorbed in the experience of pure sound and open to deep insight.  In formal chanting precision matters, but for kirtan we can just let go of inhibitions and preconceptions and offer up our voices in full presence and devotion.  In addressing various deities, we build a personal relationship with the formless by giving it a tangible personality.  We cultivate awe for that aspect of the self and universe they symbolize, be it pure love or ruthless destruction.  Recognizing that ultimately these qualities lie in each of us is healing and inspiring.  I gladly lead chanting or kirtan with harmonium and simple percussion as a part of my classes and workshops.  Chanting with others amplifies the good vibes and creates an auspicious atmosphere.  No musical experience or talent necessary, but a sense of humor and adventure are required!

As a violinist, I have accompanied other kirtan artists in concert.  I began playing at age 8 and was fortunate to study with Estelle Roth, Robert Cole, James Stern and Elisabeth Adkins, was an apprentice at the Eastman School of Music as well as to the National Symphony Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich, and performed for 3 years with the American Youth Philharmonic conducted by Luis Haza.  While in college, academic pressures and perfectionism distracted me and I quit for about 10 years, only to rediscover playing through yoga in a way I was never able to accomplish before.  Whereas I previously placed such value on technical genius, now I am content to play with lazier fingers and a lot more heart.  I have performed with Petros & Friends since 2005, played 30 days of retreats and several tour concerts with Dave Stringer, participated in workshops with Jai Uttal and Bhagavan Das, and made music with Danny Paradise, Daphne Tse, Ehrhard Dengl, Fantuzzi, Jan Kahlert, Jason Kalidas, Spring Groove, Janin Devi, Michael Hewitt and many others.

Visit my gallery ‘Kirtan & Community‘ for additional photos!

stringer kirtan

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