Ready to Record an Album!

Shakti Bliss BandWe are ready to record our first album! Participants include Kathleen Karlsen (vocals, harmonium),  Andrew Karlsen (vocals, udu drum), Paul Bohak (vocal, bass, guitar) and Mahima Giri (vocals, kartals).

What is kirtan? Kirtan is a style of music focused on participatory chanting. Chanting produces a calorie-free, drug-free, full body buzz! Group singing changes the chemistry of the brain and dissipates feelings of isolation and depression.  Chanting is a form of meditation, a type of mantra yoga. No postures required.

We emphasize singable chants from multiple traditions that are easy to learn, help to focus the mind, and foster a connection with others as well as your own spiritual source. You do not have to be a musician or a singer. This is not operatic stuff—if you can talk, you can chant!

Our upcoming album will feature the following original chants:

Parvati Parashakti: Parvati, also known as Uma, is the Hindu goddess of love and devotion as well as divine strength and power. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Hindu goddess Shakti. Parvati carries a trident. The three-pronged trident removes evil on the physical, mental and spiritual levels. In the human body, the trident represents the place where the three main nadi or energy channels meet at the third eye. This is a comforting chant calling to the divine feminine in all of us.

Devakinanadana Gopala: Gopala is one of the childhood names of Krishna, the son of Devaki, queen of the Chandravanshi clan. Devaki’s brother was Kansa, an evil tyrant. He set out to murder the young Krishna. Krishna was sent to live in the country for his own protection. Krishna’s childhood was spent as a herder. This is the origin of Krishna’s childhood names, Gopala and Govinda. “Go” means cow, a sacred animal that may also symbolically represent sacred scriptures. “Go”is sometimes translated as “light.”

Padmadevi Chant: This is a chant to Pandaravasini, one of the five female Buddhas associated with the Dhyani Buddhas. Her name means the White Robed One which suggests that she is vested with purity. Pandaravarsini’s mantra is “Om Padmadevi Pushpadevi Pam Svaha.”  Padma means a lotus flower and devi means a goddess or queen. Pushpa also means a flower. The mantra honors Pandaravasini as the goddess of the lotus and of flowers.

Lalita Shanti Om: The name Lalita means “she who plays.” Lalita is highly independent. She insists on retaining complete freedom. Lalita is a consort of Shiva, signified by the garland she places around his neck. Lalita’s beauty is noted in the term “sundari” meaning beautiful. “Ma amba” means “mother of the universe” and “shanti” means “peace.” This chant can be translated as “Victory to Lalita, the beautiful goddess who is the Mother of the universe and brings peace.”

Paul Bohak of the Shakti Bliss BandLokah Samastah: One of our favorite Shakti Bliss chants! This mantra is one of the most beautiful of all prayers, meaning “May all beings be happy and free and may my life contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all”. This melody for chant was written specifically for an event devoted to preserving peace in spite of political differences and difficulties through the world.

Hanuman Bolo: Hanuman is an eastern superhero, the monkey-god of epics and stories in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Hanuman is the ardent devotee of Lord Rama, and central to the epic poem Ramayana. Hanuman is sometimes depicted as the patron of martial arts, wrestling, and acrobatics. He is also the patron of meditation and scholarship. Some interpretations of the name “Hanuman” are the Sanskrit words Han meaning killed or destroyed and maana meaning pride.

Om Tare Tuttare: This is called the Green Tara Mantra, a traditional Buddhist chant. The word-name Tara is variously interpreted as Shining Star, Liberator, Rescuer, Savior, or One Who Ferries Across. Tara is a Bodhisattva of compassion who manifests in female form. In particular she represents compassion in action.

shakti bliss bandSita Ram: Sita Ram refers to the Hindu goddess, Sita, and her consort, Ram, or Rama. Sita is the main female character in the Hindu epic poem, the Ramayana, and is an incarnation of Lakshmi. Rama is the central male character and an incarnation of Vishnu. Reciting these names is believed to balance both sides of the brain. They represent the yin and the yang or the masculine and the feminine.

Chakra Chant: Each of the chakras has a seed syllable to heal and balance that chakra. The seed syllables above are in the following order, bringing the energy of the kundalini upwards: base (LAM), sacral (VAM), solar plexus (RAM), heart (YAM), throat (HAM), third eye (OM) and the crown (AH). Mystics and yogis have written and taught about the rising of the kundalini. Bringing the energy to the crown of the head is the physical counterpart to achieving enlightenment. However, you do not have to know about the chakras to chant! This piece has practically become the Shakti Bliss anthem, ending many of our kirtan events.

Sample of prior recording:


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