Breath of the Heart

Breath of the Heart

3.0 2
by Krishna Das
     
 

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In world of peace, tranquility, and perfect breathing, he is a superstar. Krishna Das, the yoga practitioner and maestro of kirtan, or yogic chant, has seen his humble star rise over the years -- he gave Madonna pointers for her role as a yoga instructor in her film The Next Best Thing, and his chant sessions-cum-concert appearances sell out yoga

Overview

In world of peace, tranquility, and perfect breathing, he is a superstar. Krishna Das, the yoga practitioner and maestro of kirtan, or yogic chant, has seen his humble star rise over the years -- he gave Madonna pointers for her role as a yoga instructor in her film The Next Best Thing, and his chant sessions-cum-concert appearances sell out yoga centers across the country. Breath of the Heart brings the hirsute Bhakti yoga guru and former record label exec together with another hairy honcho, pioneering hip-hop pioneer Rick Rubin (which explains the presence of Beastie Boy Mike D among the chanters). Hot off his session with Pakistan's rising qawwali star Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rubin is on a transcendental roll. Like that dry, bare-bones approach of Khan's eponymous debut -- no synths, kit drums, or strings to speak of -- which allowed the raw power of Khan's devotional vocals shine through, Breath of the Heart is a powerful yet no-frills experience. Das, a New York native whose previous albums combined his strong baritone chant with Indian and Appalachian elements -- as well as a memorable duet with Sting on One Track Heart -- is in fine form. Belting our texts and prayers familiar to some yoga practitioners and others hailing from deeper in the Vedic canon, Das has a brawny, shaggy voice whose gentle authority has moved scores of listeners to deepen their practice. Handclaps, harmonium, tablas, and the occasional guitar lead the music on a uniquely American journey that begins with the sounds of the Subcontinent and reaches across the Rockies to the folksy strains of mountain music and California country rock. Used as a meditation aid or merely a relaxation tool, these homely sounds can transform your listening room into a sacred space and make the morning commute a whole new kind of trip.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Kelly McCartney
According to ancient Indian scriptures and saints, the traditional practice of chanting God's name -- be it Krishna, Rama, Ganesh, or another of the numerous deities -- is a tried and true path leading to union with the divine. Kirtan is one of the main forms of this practice, wherein a leader sings out the call and a group echoes with a response. Breath of the Heart is a live recording of Krishna Das in such a setting. Of course, being a westerner, he rounds out the sound with a little more than the customary harmonium and drum of the "motherland," adding Rob McDonald's solid electric bass, Lili Haydn's exquisite though underused violin, and Steve Gorn's mystical bansuri flute, along with various percussion and such. A single kirtan can go on for as long as the leader feels appropriate, although here Krishna Das limits the pieces to not more than 15 minutes or so. That's just enough to get you going before he moves on to the next, which is good for newcomers but perhaps frustrating for true practitioners. For the result is a quick build that doesn't allow you to so much linger in the melody, but rather pulls you along with the rhythm. It's a forgivable consequence when taking his audience into consideration. Nevertheless, with Rick Rubin at the production helm and topnotch musicianship supporting Das' instantly recognizable voice, the combination is a truly enjoyable, and possibly enlightening, offering.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/04/2005
Label:
Triloka Records
UPC:
0801298206224
catalogNumber:
82062
Rank:
51330

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Breath of the Heart 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
KarenSKS More than 1 year ago
In this times of crisis, uncertainty and/or anxiety, Krishna Das and his CD Breath of the Heart, offers us a delightful escape to a peaceful place where you can certainly take some time out from the everyday rush!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago