Layering traditional Hindu kirtan with instantly accessible melodies and modern instrumentation, Krishna Das has a remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener. Known to friends, family and fans as simply KD, he has taken the call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the best-selling chant artist of all time.
His new tour, “Samsara by Bus,” begins June 6 in Seattle and proceeds south to Portland, San Francisco and southern California, over to Arizona and New Mexico, up to Denver and then to St. Paul.
Krishna Das, one of the best-selling chant artists of all time, returns to the road following his hugely successful, sold-out 2010 tour with Deva Premal. Krishna Das will be appearing live at the Fitzgerald Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22. Reserved Seating: $35, plus applicable fees. Tickets are available at the Fitzgerald Theater Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations. Charge by phone at 1.800.745.3000 and online at Ticketmaster.com.
Krishna Das has been called the “Chant Master of American Yoga” by The New York Times and “Pavarotti of Kirtan” by Yoga Journal and is notable for making yoga and chant music more accessible to Western listeners. His music layers traditional kirtan – chanting of the divine names – over popular arrangements and songs. In 2010, Krishna Das released his latest album Heart As Wide As The World to critical acclaim. His first studio album in more than 10 years, the album is collaboration with David Nichtern, who produced and played guitar. It also features musicians Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates) on drums/percussion, world musicians Steve Gorn on bansuri flute and Benjy Wertheimer on esraj.
But before the tour begins, Krishna Das returns for spiritual upliftment to India. Imagine yoga’s “rock star,” chant master Krishna Das, sitting in silence in the mountains of northern India, trying to relax and just be. And then, suddenly he receives an email on his nearby laptop computer. The message is from The Edge magazine in the Twin Cities, and the request is a few moments of his time in anticipation of his June 22 concert at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
And so he responds.
Krishna Das, your Samsara By Bus tour begins on June 6. Why the bus tour across America now and how will this tour differ from others you have undertaken?
Krishna Das: We’ve been waiting at the bus station for 20,000 years. The bus just got here, so it’s time to go.
For those unfamiliar with Kirtan, what exactly is being chanted and how can the participant take part during a concert?
KD: In India, they call what we chant the “Names of God” or the Divine Name. It is call and response, kinda sing-a-long with Krish. I sing a line and the audience repeats it. As the evening goes on, we all Â get deeper and quieter inside.
Please describe how you prepare for a performance such as you’ll have on this tour and what you personally experience during a concert?
KD: I try to get up in the morning every day! If not, it’s difficult to sing. Really there is no special preparation. This is what my life is about…trying to always be in the Loving Presence…Chanting with a group deepens that space.
What can those who attend your Samsara By Bus tour expect in terms of chants that will likely be performed? Any new material?
KD: No new Â work, just the same old mantras for the last million years. Don’t have much of a plan….
When you return to India, where you are now, does it offer renewed inspiration?
KD: Having the opportunity to come and live in the temple where lived with my guru in 1972 is always an intense experience. Deepening the awareness of His presence Â and the connection to the Real love is always life-changing. I also get to sleep a lot more than in U.S. and no phone!!!! Yipeee!
What has your personal musical journey from blues to rock ‘n’ roll to kirtan informed you about the role of sound in the human experience?
KD: Music is a powerful way to turn within. It can soothe or excite, but is there any lasting deeper love from just music? I think that music is like a syrup that medicine is hidden within. The syrup is sweet, but it is the medicine of the Name that heals us.
Why do you sing? And what does singing bring to you in your life?
KD: I sing to save my miserable ass! Without the practice of Chanting, I would have drowned a long time ago in the ocean of samsara (this world).
For more information, please visit www.krishnadas.com or suemclean.com/shows/krishna-das-samsara-by-bus-tour/