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Album Review

If, after 20 years and about a million sales, you still haven't heard of sacred chant and vocal producer, vocalist, author and lecturer Robert Gass, allow none other than spiritual guru Deepak Chopra to make the recommendation: "The word enchantment suggests becoming one with God through chanting. Robert Gass' superb music and chanting achieves this goal." For the uninitiated, the problem with most recordings of this nature is sameness in rhythm, vibe and tone from track to track. The great news on Kirtana — a thoroughly hypnotic and compelling project consisting of seven deeply devotional Sanskrit chants from the Hindu tradition — is the variation. The graceful opening track calms the mind with a gentle sitar swirling behind a surprisingly soulful lead vocal by Gass' daughter Danya River followed by choral response. The swaying, almost folk-like acoustic guitar-driven "Govinda Hare" introduces the listener to Gass' low vocal tone, which may take older listeners back to some of Neil Diamond's early world music vibe. "Om Shanti" plays to what the secular world would dub "chill music," with a male whisper floating over "River"'s soaring words and a gently rhythmic percussion scheme. The seduction, blending pop melodicism, Eastern instruments and gentle tribal rhythms, continues from there. Like most albums of its kind, Kirtana inspires an open mind and relaxation; but it's also compelling in ways few other similar projects are.


Genre: New Age

Years Active: '00s

A nationally known lecturer, Gass holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Harvard and has received classical training in music at the New England Conservatory and Tanglewood. As director of the 30-person performing group On Wings of Song, he has produced a number of recordings under his Extended Chant series that feature uplifting, updated versions of sacred choral traditions from around the world. Though many of these works are based on authentic spiritual texts and melodies, Gass's primary...
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Kirtana, Robert Gass
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