You know that when a CD is dedicated to the child of the artists, then it is a double blessing, a true ‘labor of love’. Stars is an offering to the world as well as to the angelic Tulsi Magdalena, daughter of sacred chant artists David and Mira Newman. David (Durga Das) has himself been a star in the celestial kirtan community for many years, originating in my home town of Philadelphia which is how I became acquainted with his music.
Stars is a compilation of songs that are a blending of familiar Samskrit mantras with David’s invocations/invitation to dance with the magic and mystery of life. The opening song, Dreaming is a swaying back and forth melody with lovely lyrics that acknowledge ”seeing is believing that dreams do come true….come back to the arms of your Beloveds in dreams.” It creates a seamless flow into Durga Maharani (an ode to the Hindu Goddess) with the sweet voiced Mira entering into call and response which is in keeping with the musical form of kirtan. The bluesy Love Belongs To Everyone/Gayatri is a reminder of what is so and begins with the lyrics to one of most ancient chants: The Gayatri Mantra.
Om Bhur Bhuvah Swah Tat Savirthur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
We meditate on the glory of the Creator; Who has created the Universe
Who is worthy of Worship; Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light
Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance; May He enlighten our Intellect
As Ancient Spirals was playing, I could imagine closing my eyes and spinning in ever growing circles…”Om Namah Shivaya” which honors the Divinity within is woven throughout. Thinking of You/Krishna offers “Open your heart, let the light of the world shine through you. Be bold, be free, be beautiful….remember there’s someone who’s thinking of you.”, are the skippity, bopping along lyrics. We Are What We Are/Sri Ram…. includes the “I am you are we are what we are beyond compare…boundless, limitless, fearless, free..” gently rap-voiced by David. A lullabye for their darling daughter with whom I’ve had the joy to dance and play at a kirtan they offered a few months ago, called Tulsi’s Bliss (Maha Mantra), tickles the heart as it opens with her delightful giggles. The title song Stars gives gratitude for the love that these beautiful bhaktis share. “I felt your eyes upon me and a stirring in my soul..the river finds its ocean, the light brings darkness to its knees. ….We are like stars, stars in the sky. The darker this night, the brighter we will shine.”One of my most cherished Hindu deities is honored in the final cut: Ganesh Under Moonlight with the tradional chant Jai Ganesha, Sri Ganesha, Ganapataye” being supported by gently jangling bells and the lilting chirps of crickets calling out to the night sky.
Other Philly local friends Ron Kravitz, Randy Sutin, Corey J. Sokoloff, Sam Rossitto, Rhoni Groff , Steven G. Chants (Steven Groff) and Jade Groff offer their talents as well. What a love fest that recording session must have been!
Stars would be the perfect accompaniment for a yoga practice, improv dance class, long drive or simply as a pleasant companion while you sip a cup of your favorite soothing beverage and sigh in surrender..ahhhh~
www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJQXFBcSO5M Thinking of You
A portion of the proceeds from the CD will be donated to Witness which is a human rights organization. www.witness.org