Krishna Das was referred to as the “Rockstar of Yoga” by the Grammy’s when he was nominated for an award in 2013. Atlantis Rising Magazine called him the “Pavarotti of chant.” A former member of the Blue Oyster Cult, he is now best known for his trademark deep voice and as a pioneer of Indian kirtan-style devotional music (bhakti yoga) in the U.S. He was recently gracious enough to take time to chat with our founder Jennifer Grubba.
Q & A
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
I don’t think of myself as an artist or a creator. Chanting is a spiritual practice. It’s what I do to keep from sinking in an ocean of pain. Part of that practice is to share it with others. It allows me to deepen my own practice and at the same time offer that practice to others.
Yoga is any practice that allows a person to extricate themselves from being victimized by their storyline.
YOU HAVE TRAVELED THE WORLD SHARING KIRTAN WITH OTHERS. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE VENUE?
No. Where I find myself is my favorite place to be. I’m so blessed to have a practice that works for me.
SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE YOGI! TELL ME ABOUT ANY NEW PROJECTS YOU ARE WORKING ON.
We are in the process of preparing a new album that is due out in September. We are launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to produce it. In an age where there is so much music sharing it can be difficult to get the revenue needed to produce new music.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT ON THE NEW ALBUM?
A few new chants and versions of the “Hanuman Chalisa.” I’m accompanied by my band. My daughter, Janaki, who sang Mere Gurudev with me on Door of Faith, will be singing with me on this album as well.
YOU’VE PARTNERED WITH LIKES OF STING, RICK ALLEN OF DEF LEPPARD, AND WALT BECKER OF STEELY DAN, TO NAME A FEW. IS THERE ANYONE ELSE IN PARTICULAR YOU ARE ASPIRING TO PARTNER WITH?
I’d love to duet with Bruce Springsteen. I think he’s the greatest!
IF I WERE TO GET IN YOUR CAR, WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC WOULD COME ON?
I love music. But, when I’m on my own, I often prefer silence. Some of my favorite artists include Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Sting, the Beetles, and Steely Dan.
ALL ARTISTS WHO HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME.
Yes, like me!
ANY NEWER ARTISTS YOU ENJOY?
I love Adele. She’s got a great voice. And the music my fiancée is making. There is so much great music out there I just don’t always know the names of who’s creating it.
YOU’VE BEEN TO MINNESOTA. WHEN ARE YOU COMING BACK?
I would love to get back there, though I don’t currently have any tour dates for Minnesota. About 15 years ago, I did an AIDSRide bicycle ride from St. Paul to Chicago. I had a great time in Minneapolis. It’s a wonderful place and the countryside is beautiful. I also visited St. John’s University last June for a meditation workshop.
WHAT DOES YOGA MEAN TO YOU?
Yoga is any practice that allows a person to extricate themselves from being victimized by their storyline all of the time. It helps us release the fear and anxiety and the self-centered behavior we are accustomed to. It allows us to find a little peace in our own hearts. That peace is always there regardless of what is happening in the outside world.
The way I share chanting is not religious.
ANY WORDS OF WISDOM YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
The way I share chanting is not religious. It’s about finding some peace of mind in these very difficult times. It’s a way of calming the mind and opening oneself in a non-judgmental way. You don’t have to believe anything at first. You come and sing. If you feel good, you’ll probably come back.
Photo by: Payal Kumar
This article first printed in MN YOGA + Life™ Spring-Summer 2017