Gifted Musicians for the Benefit Concert
Kirtan is a very simple & powerful way to meditate. It’s effortless & joyful; the music does the work for you as you flow with the melody & rhythm. The performers & the concert-goers create the experience together. The ancient chants contain powerful renewing & transformative energy that helps us reconnect with the Divinity that resides within all of us.
"Kirtan is most powerful means to attain the treasure of Krishna prema [pure love for GOD]. It is like a potent mantra that can attract precious objects from a distance" - Srimad Bhagavadtam
"With a folk guitar, loop station and some simple harmonies this potent mantra creates a positive feedback loop, demonstrating the power of repetition of affirmation. This Sanskrit prayer translates, "May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts words and actions of my own life contribute in some way (Sharon Gannon)." I do hope this comes true!"
California based Kirtaniyas are a global collective of musicians, producers and dancers. These energetic, multitalented artists grew up in a Vedic culture of song, dance, philosophy and devotion between ashrams and temples both in India and the western world.
Vijay Krsna, band leader, studied devotional Indian folk music known as “Kirtan” in the sacred village of Vrindavana, India. This rare traditional art form is an ancient call-and-response mantra chanting practice, that originated in the Indian subcontinent over 5000 years ago. Joined together with his musically gifted wife Sarasvati, soulful vocalist Rasika and drummer Nitai, Vijay formed the Kirtaniyas in 2009. They have since expanded the group, sometimes performing with up to 12 members on stage. They have travelled the world to over 15 countries infusing new life to these ancient chants with youthful spirit and energy.
Michelle Swan (Bhakti Caravan)
Michelle is the Founder of Swan River Yoga and co-owner with Keith Porteous, the largest studio in the Gulf Region, based in New Orleans, LA. She is the Founder and director of the Swan School Yoga Teacher Training, The Swan Reiki Attunement Modules, Advanced Swan School, The Swan Mentor Program, Bhagavad Gita Course & The Restorative Teacher Training. Michelle created the concept of the unique "Sound Bath" offered at Swan River Yoga and around the world. She has traveled the world since the year 2000 offering healing modules and Teacher Training Modules to many communities. Michelle has been a dedicated yogini since 1996. She has trained exclusively under Ram Dass, the author of "Be Here Now", initiated in his lineage with Neem Karoli Baba. She has studied very closely at the feet of Sharon Gannon & David Life since the year 1998. She honored Radhanath Swami in the year 2012 as a teacher in Bhakti Yoga and Jaya Shree in Sanskrit. She has extensively studied numerous forms of yoga, including Anusara Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga. She has studied with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois himself as well as both his daughter Saraswati Jois and his grandson Sarath Jois in both the United States and India. She bows to each of these teachers and founders of all of the styles of yoga in which she has had the extensive chance to be very close to all of her teachers and observe deep learning from them. She has a background in studying Sanskrit, Mantra, kirtan and Indian music, Ayurveda, Restorative Yoga and Bhakti yoga in India for Sound Therapy purposes. She has studied Bhakti Yoga with The Mayapuris, numerous Krishna devotees and with Radhanath Swami in India in such places as Rishikesh, Mayapur and Vrindavan. She is the founder and lead vocalist & harmonium player in the group Bhakti Caravan. She travels the world doing this in such places as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Indonesia, Nepal and India. She also provides services of healing ceremonies and pujas for those leaving the body, being born into the body and in the union of marriage. She has trained in Puja ceremonies on the Ganga River in India and in Bali, both rich with ceremony. She has also studied "Vastu", learning to properly clear out spaces and environments so that they are sacred. Michelle has a very consistent practice of daily meditation, mantra singing, devotion, sacred sound, asana practice and seva, selfless service. These are the jewels on the path of yoga. Michelle's greatest joy is to experience life, to pilgrimage, to travel, to serve, to make art, to be kind to others, to understand the challenges of the human condition and to sing and dance in the joy of the abundance of life. Being born on Valentines Day, her greatest desire is to offer and to be Love itself.
Born and raised in the swamps of New Orleans, Louisiana, Donnie Bergeron has been producing music since the age of 15. From a young age, he had a serious passion for older techno and trance. From ages 15-20, Donnie was self-employed recording and producing beats for a good handful of New Orleans rappers, under the name Donnie B Productions.
At age 20, Donnie decided to pursue the Savej (Savage) project.
"I don't really care about the whole genre war, I just like to make music people can bounce to....and I really love 808s.
"Savej is a blend of 808s, disco, groove, trap, bounce, twerk, and the occasional dirty dub tracks that aim at being different from the norm.
Live shows are FILLED with energy from Savej because even though he has a love for 808s, he also some funk and heavy dub. The combination and variety in his sets has proven to keep any dance floor jumpin'.
And then they Became Humans
Mike Sopko has played and recorded with such musicians as Bill Laswell, Mike Watt, Dosh, Thomas Pridgen, Tyshawn Sorey, Simon Lott, Jamie Saft and more.
A founding member of the bands 'Sopko/Laswell/Pridgen' 'Glimpse Trio' 'Big Band' 'Cascading Liquid Rainbows' 'The Golden Measure' All bands feature original compositions by Sopko.
"Ryan Scott Long's drumming is laced with qi, dexterity, & solidarity in the pocket." - Simon Lott (Charlie Hunter, Robert Walter, Galatic)With his forward-thinking approach powering what may be an exciting new style of drumming, there's a bright future in store for Ryan as he continues to make his mark.
The Mayapuris, a fresh vibrant band of dancers and drummers, continue that revolution by invigorating mantras and songs of old with their own global experiences.They weave dance, spoken word, and irresistible rhythm into their shows creating an incredible impression on audiences. Fans of all genres of music love what they do. Their sound is an ecstasy booster, a party, a musical bridge between everyday life and something greater.
A staple in the New Orleans Hip Hop community, Truth Universal has been a leader on the southern Hip Hop scene for more than a decade. While he calls the flourishing New Orleans Hip Hop underground home, Truth has an international perspective that he brings to his music through his birth and childhood in Diego Martin, Trinidad.
Truth has shared the stage with the likes of Talib Kweli, dead prez, Mos Def, The Roots, Alanis Morrissette, Michael Franti, Immortal Technique, Luciano, Zion I and many more.m.truthuniversal.com
JAHEL ... born in Methodist Hospital on March 22, 1992 and resided in the 7th ward until hurricane Katrina. With a family so deeply rooted in music, its no wonder that HE grew to become an artist of his own. Inspired by his environment, HE takes everything he experiences and uses it as fuel for the flame of creativity. He focuses on furthering the art with his intense lyricism all the while he stays in tune with the melody of the music. JAHEL makes music to inspire others to be great at what they love doing simply because he strives to be great musician. Since he is a strong believer in the Rastafari way of life, he often makes music that calls for a rebellion against the tyrannous babylon. However, generally speaking, JAHEL is peaceful individual dedicated on spreading positive vibes to the world. In a world where babylon reigns supreme, we need more people who will stand up for what is right and just and JAHEL is one such person. Peace, Love, Music. Jah Bless.
DJ Astro Black
Astro Black grew up in Los Angeles on his father's diverse collection of blues, soul, funk and reggae - which helped set the tone for his musical inspirations. He infuses these creative influences into his own sound, which combines this wide range of styles, blending them together in his own unique artistry. Astro emerged in the early 90's as a DJ not afraid to take risks and transcend the limitations of being genre specific.
DJ Tom Harvey
As a DJ, Bhakta Tom Harvey first found inspiration in the the vibe of Peace, Love, Unity, Respect; intrinsic to the early Rave scenes of the late 1980s. It wasn’t until the 90s that he got his first turntables and started DJ-ing House & Techno professionally, heavily influenced by the Bay Area sound. Fast-forward a few decades and we find ourselves globally more connected and music has fused ideas from all over the world. Much to Tom's delight, electronic / dub / mantra fusion had sprouted rapidly, and was thriving. Not long after finishing his Yoga Teacher Training at Wild Lotus Yoga in New Orleans, Tom was asked if he’d be interested in DJ-ing there once a month, live, for a yoga class, and he immediately said yes. That environment has sharpened his skills and filled him with grace. It has been several years now on this new musical path, one that is more centered in his heart, and he is happy to share some devotional jams with everyone this weekend! Om shanti.