Live on Earth...For a Limited Time Only
Who could have predicted that Indian devotional chanting would move beyond the stereotypical image of yellow-clad Hari Krishnas raising a ruckus in the airport? The American-born Krishna Das studied with Ram Dass, and later learned Bhakti Yoga devotional chanting at Maharaji-ji's ashram in the foothills of the Himalayas. Shortly before this famed guru's death, Krishna Das returned to the states to continue his mission of songful devotion to the divine. On the two-CD Live on Earth, Krishna Das leads the Ever Changing Kosmic Kirtan Posse choir in call and response. His voice, a strong and pleasant baritone, is emotionally expressive yet easy to understand. These tracks are traditional Indian chants and mantras with a refreshing detour as "Amazing Grace" is heard in English on "Mountain Hare Krishna." Most chants are based on a few simple lines -- such as "Radhe Shyam" and "Namah Shivaya" -- but others, including "Hanuman Puja" and "Shri Haunman Chaleesa," are long narrative songs. Krishna Das accompanies himself on the harmonium organ, and as each track progresses, chorus, tabla, cymbals, clapping, and other instruments build up warm textures. Featured soloists include Steve Gorn on flute and Hans Christian on cello. The album's "driver beware" sticker is appropriate, for you could easily be lulled into ecstasy or, when the music accelerates, into a joyous, foot-to-the-floor frenzy. Krishna Das's liner notes offer a unique and personal perspective on the chants and their symbolic meaning. Sing along or immerse yourself in the nectar of sound. Hopefully it's not sacrilegious to say this album's a lot of fun!