Light of Consciousness Magazine Music Review: Liberation’s Door Review

August 25, 2009
Light of Consciousness - August 2009

Light of Consciousness - August 2009


Liberation’s Door

by Snatam Kaur

CD: 73 Min

Snatam Kaur’s spirit and radiant voice shine in this new release of Gurmukhi mantras, Shabds (traditional Sikh prayers put to music), and sweet devotional songs.  The words of Guru Arjan blend gracefully with the Prayer of St. Francis of Assissi in Servant of Peace.  Liberation’s Door, a lofty chant about faith, is composed from teh words of Guru Nanak.  Crimson, from teh words of Guru Ram Das, is the only solely English track in these primarily Punjabi songs.  Mother’s Blessing, delightfully sung by Snatam Kaur in Spanish, is translated from the words of Bibi Bani, wife of Guru Ram Das.  Richly layered instrumentation throughout includes guitars, keyboards, sarod, santoor, flute, sax, esraj, tabla, cello and percussion.  Snatam Kaur pours her heart and soul into this offering that will captivate you with its sublime beauty.


Snatam Kaur’s ‘Charan Sat Sat’ from Sukhmani Sahib on New Album, Liberation’s Door

May 26, 2009

In continuation of my interview with Snatam about her upcoming release, Liberation’s Door, she talked to me about an incredible experience she had in the studio while recording the vocals for the track Charan Sat Sat.  In listening to Snatam speak, I realized the depth of devotion and meditation that she experiences with her music, and I am just beginning to understand why so many people are so deeply touched by her music – because it comes from such a pure place within her that is transmitted to you as you listen.

Karan: Can you tell me where the chant ‘Charan Sat Sat’ comes from?

Snatam Kaur during her visit to record 'Liberation's Door'

Snatam Kaur during her visit to record 'Liberation's Door'

Snatam:

The words are taken from Sukhmani Sahib which is a beautiful prayer written by Guru Arjan Dev.  Guru Arjan was an amazing poet and teacher.  He gave his life standing up for religious freedom during the reign of emperor Aurangzab by not bowing down to change his faith.  He was tortured and killed for keeping his faith.  I had always known this story and was inspired by it. 

When I was recording this track, I was trying to get into a deep space so I could sing from the purest place possible.  Each time I sang it,  I would go deeper and deeper, trying to connect with the words but also trying to connect to the life growing in my womb so my baby’s soul could be there and present with it too, since she was a part of me and a part of the process of recording the music. 

As I was chanting, I suddenly felt this shift in the space around me and had this experience of being taken to see what it was like for Guru Arjan when he was on his way to the Emperor’s Palace to face his death.  I was literally transported to that place and time – I found myself as one of the disciples carrying Guru Arjan along the road to the palace, and I knew that we were all walking to our deaths.  As I was experiencing that, I kept chanting and everyone with me was chanting.  With each chant, we knew that victory was in the power of Guru Arjan’s sacred words.  We knew that the prayer we were singing would live well beyond us.  With each recitation, we chanted more powerfully because these words were our only defense.  We felt carried forward in knowing that these words would ring through the planet through time and space for all to hear it. 

Then suddenly, I realized I was not only marching towards my own death, but also the child in my womb.  I became very emotional at that point feeling my child did not have a choice in the matter.  Then I felt this soothing presence that I recognized as the soul of my child or some wise soul telling me that my child had already given herself to the guru and was making that choice for herself.  It was a really emotional moment, but I kept singing through it.

It was a beautiful experience for me to tune into that time of Guru Arjan, because I have always known the stories, but that kind of intensity of what it must have been like to fearlessly go towards your death while having the strength of the sound current carry you there was really powerful.  Guru Arjan’s mission was to bring forward the sound current as the teacher that we show our reverence to.

Karan: What did you take with you from that experience?

Snatam: I really felt how strong the words and the sacred sound current are – even more powerful than weapons or swords. 

—————————————————————————

Listen to Charan Sat Sat 

See the entire album: Liberation’s Door

- Karan


Snatam Kaur’s Spanish Offering: Mother’s Blessing – La Bendición De Tu Madre

May 19, 2009

On Snatam Kaur’s upcoming release, Liberation’s Door, she decided to stretch her offering and took the daring step of recording a track in Spanish.  The track turned out to be an epic track.  It is translated into Spanish and English from a poem that is a prayer written in the 16th century by Bibi Bani who was the wife of Guru Ram Das and mother of Guru Arjun Dev.

Listen to a Sound Clip Here:

 Mother’s Blessing 

I sat down with Snatam and asked her about recording this track.  Here’s what she said:

Karan: What inspired you to record this particular track?

Snatam and Sopurkh - 6 months pregnant

Snatam and Sopurkh - 6 months pregnant

Snatam: During my pregnancy, I was reciting the words to this shabd 11 times per day to pray for the baby in my womb, and I was really inspired to hear it with other mothers.  I wanted to share the experience I had with this shabd.  While I was pregnant, every day people would ask me things like if I had gotten a stroller yet, or a crib, or if my nursery was set up yet.  People were always asking me if I had gotten all of the physical things I needed.  But I’m just not a planner or a “things” person – I don’t really relate to “stuff”.  To me, the most important thing was that I connected with my child energetically, so I was reciting the shabd in English and Gurmukhi and started getting deeper into  the meaning of it, and it really inspired me.  It says “May your clothing be the protection of God and your food be the singing of God’s praise .”  It really helped me prioritize and relax about the material things, and I really felt like the right thing to do was to pray for the soul of the baby coming in.  As a mom, I realized that would be my most important job.  After reciting just the words for a while, I sat down one day and came up with the tune we used in this piece and I knew I wanted to record it.

Karan: Why did you decide to translate it into Spanish?

Snatam with her daughter Jap Preet Kaur

Snatam with her daughter Jap Preet Kaur

Snatam:  I had been really wanting to sing something in Spanish for a while, and the tune I wrote for this piece inspired me to find out the Spanish lyrics.  My friend translated it in such a beautiful way, and the words ended up fitting so beautifully with the tune, I knew it was meant to be.  Over the years, I have received so much love, so many e-mails and letters from Spanish speakers and I wanted to give a gift to them and that’s how it all came about.

—–

So, here are the words from the shabd in both English and Spanish:

Track 4:  Mother’s Blessing – La Bendición De Tu Madre
Words of Bibi Bani, wife of Guru Ram Das the Fourth Guru of the Sikhs

Retoño mio, esta es la bendición de tu madre.
Oh my child this is your mother’s blessing.

Nunca olvides a Dios, ni un momento
May you never forget God, even for a moment

Adorando, por siempre, al Señor del Universo
Worshipping forever the Lord of the universe.

Recordando a Dios, todos los errores son purificados.
Remembering God, all mistakes are washed away.

Y todos nuestros ancestros son acogidos y salvados.
And one’s ancestors are redeemed and saved.

Siempre canta el nombre de Dios, Har Har
Always chant God’s Name, Har Har

Dios esta en tu interior, Dios es infinito.
God is inside you, God is Infinite.

Que el Verdadero Guru te sea amable
May the True Guru be kind to you

Que ames estar en compañía de santos.
May you love to be with the Saints.

Que tu prenda de vestir sea la protección de Dios
May your clothing be the protection of God

Que tu sustento sea el canto de la alabanza de Dios.
May your food be the singing of God’s Praise.

Bebe el néctar del nombre de Dios, y vive una larga vida
Drink the nectar of God’s Name and live long

Que la meditación en Dios te traiga dicha incesante
May meditation on God bring you endless bliss.

Que el amor sea tuyo propio y tus deseos se cumplan
May love be yours and your hopes fulfilled

Que la preocupación nunca te consuma.
May you never be worn by worry.

Haz de tu mente el abejorro
Let this mind of yours be the bumble bee

Y que los pies de loto de Dios sean la flor.
And let the Lotus Feet of God be the flower.

Oh sirviente Nanak, ata tu mente de esta manera
Oh Servant Nanak, link your mind in this way

Como el gavilán encuentra la gota de lluvia, y prospera.
Like the sparrow hawk finding a raindrop, blossom forth.

See More about Snatam’s New Release Mother’s Blessing – Release Date: June 18th

- Karan


Snatam’s Upcoming Album: Liberation’s Door

May 14, 2009

So, it’s been 2 years since Snatam released her last major release album, Anand.  After Anand, she spent a good amount of time touring.  We then released  Snatam Kaur Live in Concert and she continued touring.  During her tour, she discovered the wonderful news that she was pregnant.  She was very busy during her pregnancy!  She recorded and released a children’s yoga DVD, Shanti the Yogi, and a chilren’s CD, Feeling Good Today!   But then she needed to start to slow down a bit as her pregnacy moved forward,  and during that time she began to work with GuruGanesha on a new album.  This album has all of those amazing creative juices that race through the body during pregnancy infused into every note.

Snatam finished recording right after Jap Preet’s (her daughter’s) 40-days were done.  But after she finished her part of the process, that’s when the rest of us really kick into gear to make it ready to share with the world.

Snatam's New Release "Liberation's Door"

Snatam's New Release "Liberation's Door"

Thomas Barquee, the incredible producer, brought in musicians from LA to Calcutta to create the perfect support for Snatam’s vocals.  GuruGanesha, whose guitar and vocal accompaniment is so much beloved on Snatam’s tour and all of her live music, added his special spark to this music, taking part in both writing the music and recording vocals and guitar on the album.  Sopurkh, Snatam’s husband and an extremely talented graphic designer worked with Snatam to create this beautiful album cover. 

We will have this album ready in time for Summer Solstice , but stay tuned  you’ll get to hear sneak peeks here over the next few weeks!  And I promise, you will be awestruck!

You Can Pre-Order the Album Now for Shipping as soon as it arrives (our stated release date is June 18th, but we are trying to get them in as early as the 8th, so if you pre-order, you’ll get the first ones out the door)

Click Here to Pre-Order Now!

As Promised, we have the first sound clips – take a listen!!

Track 2: Liberation’s Door (Mokh Duaar) 

Track 8: Ardas Bhaee 

- Karan


Joy is Now Review – Yoga Journal May 2009

April 5, 2009

yogajournalcoverGuruGanesha’s latest release, Joy is Now, is an incredible album, and I was so excited to see the review in the most recent issue of yoga journal. 

Here is the review:

Joy is Now by GuruGanesha Singh and Snatam Kaur:

GuruGanesha Singh is best known as the guitarist for Sikh chant singer Snatam Kaur.  But on Joy is Now, GuruGanesha steps into the spotlight with a set of kirtan compositions that showcase his lyrical guitar playing and relaxed singing style.  On most tracks he alternates lead vocal lines with Snatam, an exchange that creates a winning contrast.  The compositions also leave ample space for improvisation.  Instruments like sitars, sarods, flutes, esrajs, and violins dapple the music with traditional Indian tonalities that twine with GuruGanesha’s guitar.

The songs are varied in mood and style.  “Peace Has Begun” is jazzy, while the title track is a study in blissful acoustic psychedelia that wouldn’t have been out of place on a late ’60s album by GuruGanesha’s longtime heroes, the Grateful Dead.  the final two selections, “Sat Narayan” and “Guru Ram Das Love Song,” are more vocally driven and closer in style to Snatam’s own albums.  On Joy is Now, GuruGanesha and Snatam offer an agreeable blend o fthe new and the familiar in teh world of kirtan, taking you deep into the quiet hear of devotion and meditative awareness. 

- Reviewed by Alan di Perna

 

Listen to Sound Clips from this album here:

Song Title Length
 
1. Peace Has Begun
2. Hari Om
3. Joy is Now
4. Aad Sach
5. Sat Narayan
6. Guru Ram Das Love Song

Click Here for More Information and to Purchase the Album


Playing with Yoga – How to Help Children Love Yoga

March 15, 2009

An Article from March 2009 Aquarian Times

by Karan Khalsa

Playing with Yoga –  How to Help Children Love Yoga

 Until I tried to get my son to do yoga, it hadn’t occurred to me that it would be so challenging.  At ten, he is far more interested in Transformers and his Wii than stretch pose or long deep breathing.  So I took it upon myself to get some tips from the experts.

 

“Teaching yoga is very different depending on a child’s age,” says Shakta Kaur.  “With older kids, I try to engage their interest by talking about real life – exercises that help with shoulder pain from a heavy backpack or breathing techniques to help with concentration before a test.  But telling stories is the most sure fire way of keeping children engaged up to age 8 or 9.   Children play at yoga.  The posture is important, but it is more important at that age to be fun and engaging.” 

Yoga Warrior Card

Yoga Warrior Card

 

First I talked to Shakta Kaur, author of a wide range of yoga books, DVDs and CD for adults and children.  I was really excited to hear that she is about to release a series of playing cards called Yoga Warrior Cards. “Most yoga products for kids are more focused on girls than boys,” she said.  “I worked with two boys to create these cards.  Their imaginations really brought this project to life.”   The cards each have a bio-mechanical robotic character doing a different yoga posture with names like Power Bud and MaxiMorph.  The postures have been given cool boy-friendly names (for example, shoulder stand is called Rocket Launch).  I can’t wait for the cards to arrive!  Hopefully they will find a home beside the Yu-Gi-Oh cards that fill my house.

 

 

Snatam Kaur is a strong believer in combining yoga and story-telling.  In her DVD, “Shanti the Yogi: Mountain Adventure” she weaves a story and singing into a fun-filled yoga class.  Snatam says “From Yogi Bhajan, I learned to engage children’s imaginations and use stories.  Growing up, we always had stories with yoga at home and at the 3HO Children’s Camp.  It made it really fun for me.  In my children’s workshops, we use music to support the stories and exercises.  It creates the whole environment and mood – ominous  music and snake  sounds when we go into cobra pose really enhances the imagination.  And children love to sing and love the celestial communications (mantras with movements).”

 

“A little 4-year-old boy came to one of our workshops.  He was really shy, sitting on the side with his mom.  Months later, his mom wrote me to say her son didn’t participate in the class, but every day he sings Yogi Bhajan’s words ‘I am happy, I am good’ from my ‘Feeling Good Today’ CD.

 

Gurudass Kaur, who teaches Childplay Yoga workshops all over the world, said, “In order to work with children, you have to be able to embrace chaos, be very active, and go with the rhythm of children. Children play at yoga, they don’t practice yoga.  I use so many techniques in my program.  Using mantras with movement is a very powerful practice for children because they love music by nature.   You want to involve as many senses as you can when you are working with children. And let them play!

 

Every child is unique, and there’s no end to the tools we can try to employ to get our kids interested in yoga.  But it seemed the universal message from the experts  is to make sure the kids have fun doing it.

 

For more information about the products and teacher’s in this article:

 

Shakta Kaur:       Radiant Child Yoga Training: www.childrensyoga.com

                                Books, DVDs and Warrior Yoga Cards: www.SpiritVoyage.com

 

Snatam Kaur:     Children’s Products: www.ShantitheYogi.com

                                Workshop Schedule: www.SpiritVoyage.com

 

Gurudass Kaur: Childplay Yoga Training: www.ChildplayYoga.com

                                DVDs and Music: www.SpiritVoyage.com

 

You can view and download the pdf of this recent issue of Aquarian Times here:  Click to View and Download

 

Karan Khalsa is a child of the 3HO community.  After spending 16 years living in India, between school and work, she joined Spirit Voyage to connect her business life with her inner spirit.  Now her career is dedicated to sharing the healing sound current of music and the healing technology of yoga with the planet through Spirit Voyage.


Two New Souls in the Spirit Voyage Family!!

November 24, 2008

 

Spirit Voyage is blessed and honored to announce that two beautiful little girls were born to bless the planet with their presence.

On November 15th, Ditta and Alessandra Khalsa had a baby girl, Amrita Elizabeth Khalsa.

On November 22nd, Snatam Kaur and Sopurkh Singh Khalsa had a baby girl, Jap Preet Kaur Khalsa.

Please join us in sending them prayers and blessings.

You can send e-mail wishes to the following addresses:

Snatam Kaur and Sopurkh Singh: info@snatamkaur.com

Ditta and Alessandra Khalsa: ditta@spiritvoyage.com

Click Here to See a Slide Show from Snatam, Sopurkh and Jap Preet: http://www.snatamkaur.com/jpk/jap-preet-kaur.htm  – It has a song by Livtar Singh that he wrote for the new baby.

Snatam Kaur and Alessandra pregnant in August 2008

Snatam Kaur and Alessandra pregnant in August 2008

The two new mothers had the joy of working together during their pregnancies on Snatam Kaur’s DVD ‘Shanti the Yogi.’  Their pregnancies were such a joy for all of us to witness.  Here is a picture of them goofing around during one of the screenings of the earlier cuts of the DVD.  Alessandra is an amazing film producer, editor and all around a beautiful person.   She also produced the DVD documentary ‘Path of Peace’ included in the Live in Concert album.

Here is Ditta with his dainty little daughter, Amrita:

Ditta with his daughter Amrita

Ditta with his daughter Amrita

Here is Snatam Kaur with her daughter Jap Preet getting some needed rest.

Snatam Kaur sleeping with her daughter Jap Preet

Snatam Kaur sleeping with her daughter Jap Preet


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