All music on this recording, with the exception of the 2nd track, is part of the sacred music of the Sikh religion known as Gurubani Kirtan. These hymn-poems are compositions of the Sikh gurus who wrote them in a state of divine ecstacy.
Ragas are the ancient musical scales whose sound waves have a profound effect on the human psyche and heart. They are often intertwined into Eastern Mythology. They offer a palette of color of the human emotion, and a stimulation, healing, and release for the spirit.
All music on this recording, with the exception of the 2nd track, is part of the sacred music of the Sikh religion known as Gurubani Kirtan. These hymn-poems are compositions of the Sikh gurus who wrote them in a state of divine ecstacy. "Kirtan" is the practice of call and response singing, so that the practitioner may both hear and recite these sounds, so as to take them into the body/being for the purpose of upliftment.
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Sat Kartar Khalsa has been teaching, facilitating, recording, and performing chant music and devotional kirtan (music sung in call and response style) for almost 30 years. Her personal journey with these potent spiritual tools was initially orchestrated, in 1971, when she stumbled upon Kundalini and Naad Yoga, Indian classical music, and Sikhism, and became a student of her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan.
Her childhood was full of music. Both parents played piano and her father frequently performed at parties and restaurants. There was music around of every kind--musicals, standards, and classical music. Sat Kartar played piano at 5, guitar at 14, and picked out everything on piano and guitar, from the Beatles to the Spanish classical "Malaguena".
She trained in ballet, and other dance forms. In college, she was gigging, doing covers of singer-songwriters and folk artists. One big influence was Joni Mitchell, whose open tunings and unusual melodies were a doorway and vicarious permission to explore uncharted territory, musically. Trying to find her lyric voice to express the rising spiritual revolution she felt, in this time, she tried a Kundalini yoga class, hoping for some kind of release from songwriter's block.
Sat Kartar recalls, "My first experience of chanting was being mezmerized with the sound of this yoga teacher, named Livtar Singh, who was singing these words over and over to someone named Guru Ram Das (a spirit guide in the Sikh faith) while playing a drone instrument called a tamboura. "I felt as though I had opened Pandora's Box on a mysterious unknown world of sound." Sat Kartar went on to sing in 2 Sikh spiritual bands, Sat Nam East, one of the first American chant groups, and later the Khalsa String Band.
In the mid-seventies, she began what would be a life study of Northern Indian classical kirtan, with numerous Sikh musicians, called Ragis ( who sing devotionally in Eastern raga scales). "I wanted to bring the enchantment of this world of music to an American audience in a simpler, sensuous form, so Westerners could appreciate the haunting beauty of these ancient scales." In 1984 and '85, collaborating with veteran New Age producer Liv Khalsa, they created 2 timelessly beautiful recordings, "Spirit in Blossom" and "Domain of Shiva," a group of hymns from the sacred Sikh texts, containing 4 raga scales. Symphonically orchestrated and ahead of its time, this music found a new audience, in the early stages of the World and New Age Music movement.
After a period of personal transitions, Sat Kartar's quest for spiritual musical expression found form in a genre of dance electronica, then called Trance House. A chance meeting with musician-producers Akinchina Das and Lalita Dasi, whose background was also Indian classical, turned out to be instant musical chemistry, and the techno group Overlords of the UFO was born. Their vinyl EPs "Imagine" and Transcendental Overdrive, released in 1994 and 1997 respectively, drew critical acclaim in the international dance and DJ market.
In 2002, Sat Kartar released a CD of chants for starting the day called "Daily Practice" Many spiritual paths have this pre-dawn regime of chants, called sadhana. Produced by Dan Charnas, the soaring gutsy side of her voice is backed with a world music potpourri of djembe, guitar, bass, tamboura, and temple bells. She and her band began extensively touring the Southwest with this CD, and garnered a regional following.
Most recently Sat Kartar teamed with producer Thomas Barquee for her most recent work, FLOW. This CD is more orchestrated and has a pop feel, and includes mantras never before recorded."This recording was a journey of faith into my heart," Khalsa says."I want to live my life more from that place." Come and enjoy Sat Kartar and her band on the road this year and next, with their live kirtan concerts and workshops.
Rag Basant is traditionally sung or played when the spring season is beginning. The hymns or shabds in this musical scale describe the flowering of the meditative mind, and soul. Its note interval structure is unusual, compared to most Western music, and is an aural journey into new places.
1. Aad Guray Nameh - this is a mantra of invocation to the Divine. Also sung for protection, and to commence events. (Sung in Rag Basant)
2. Yogi - a devotional paean for Guru Ram Das, 4th Guru of the Sikhs, and Yogi Bhajan's own concept and standard of the spiritual frequency of a yogi.
3. Dekh Phool - Repeating line says, "beholding the blooming of flowers, that the soul blooms, and abandons self-conceit."
4. Basant Cheriah - Chorus means, "the spring has come, plants are flowering, and that all living things blossom forth when consciousness is focused on the Lord."
Rag Sorath is to be sung between 9PM and midnight. Its soothing sound is said to help create mental composure and peace.This is a serene vibration with which to retire.
5. Aap Sahay Hoa - Choral refrain says, "the Lord is my helper and support; that this support is true and real."
6. Meray Prabh - repeating line means "O my God, please bless me with the water of your Name."
7. Har Dason Sio Preet - means, "the Lord is the lover and friend of his slaves, and is controlled by the devotee, in the same way that an instrument is controlled by a musician."