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Live On Earth (For a Limited Time Only)

Krishna Das

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Album Review

Considered the leading Western proponent of kirtan chanting, Krishna Das shows his stuff on the double-disc Live on Earth. The live setting is where Das really shines, with posse in tow generally singing in the traditional call-and-response fashion. Devotion flows through his husky baritone voice and enthusiasm abounds in the claps of the group. This is how these mantras are meant to be sung, their blessings showering down on every chanter. The explosive "Radhe Shyam" and "Samadhi Sita Ram" open the session with a bang while praising the glory of Govinda and Ram along with their consorts, Radha and Sita. Then, a hush falls and stillness overwhelms when Das and bansuri flutist Steve Gorn offer themselves at the feet of the guru with "Shri Guru Charanam." Going on like this, balancing the ecstatic and the solemn while holding the sacred, Das makes his offerings to all of the major Hindu deities — Krishna, Hanuman, Kali, Lakshmi, Rama, and Shiva. Particularly enchanting is the ancient hymn "Hanuman Chaleesa." Das sings it to please his own guru, though it was composed in honor of the monkey god Hanuman, noble hero of the great Indian epic Ramayana. One of the most well-known nama sankirtanas in the West repeats the names of Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Das includes two different renditions, "Three Rivers Hare Krishna" and "Mountain Hare Krishna," perhaps signifying his own fondness for the simple beauty of this chant. For the most part, Das sticks with the tried and true Indian instrumentation of harmonium and percussion to create his sound, though he does add a bit of keyboard, cello, and bass to smooth out the edges and truly make it his own. That's fair, and the result is splendid.

Biography

Born: 31 May 1947

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '00s

The spirituality of India is blended with modern, electronic influences by Long Island, New York-raised Krishna Das (b. Jeffrey Kagel). The founder of Triloka Records, Das continues to update the musical accompaniment to traditional Hindu chanting and satsong. Influential spiritual leader Ram Dass described Das as "an example of someone whose heartsongs open the channels to God". Das' connections to Indian spirituality developed in his early 20s. Having grown up on jazz, blues and rock and roll,...
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Live On Earth (For a Limited Time Only), Krishna Das
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