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Breath of the Heart

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Album Review

According to ancient Indian scriptures and saints, the traditional practice of chanting God's name — be it Krishna, Rama, Ganesh, or another of the numerous deities — is a tried and true path leading to union with the divine. Kirtan is one of the main forms of this practice, wherein a leader sings out the call and a group echoes with a response. Breath of the Heart is a live recording of Krishna Das in such a setting. Of course, being a westerner, he rounds out the sound with a little more than the customary harmonium and drum of the "motherland," adding Rob McDonald's solid electric bass, Lili Haydn's exquisite though underused violin, and Steve Gorn's mystical bansuri flute, along with various percussion and such. A single kirtan can go on for as long as the leader feels appropriate, although here Krishna Das limits the pieces to not more than 15 minutes or so. That's just enough to get you going before he moves on to the next, which is good for newcomers but perhaps frustrating for true practitioners. For the result is a quick build that doesn't allow you to so much linger in the melody, but rather pulls you along with the rhythm. It's a forgivable consequence when taking his audience into consideration. Nevertheless, with Rick Rubin at the production helm and topnotch musicianship supporting Das' instantly recognizable voice, the combination is a truly enjoyable, and possibly enlightening, offering.

Customer Reviews

His best!

Krishna Das consistently comes in swingin' at the shell around your heart with a sledgehammer (in a yogic, non-violent sorta way), but this is really his best effort at igniting the joy in the listener's heart. Every track systematically reaches into every nook and cranny in there and pulls out bliss, longing for the divine, and awareness. I use it constantly in my yoga classes. His greatest hits is an awesome introduction to KD, but this is a very close second. His other albums tend to be way more playful, or way more intimate, both of which are also great, but this one is just all love, all the time... Of course, you must go see him live when you get the chance, and get dunked in all that bhakti, but this will tide you over till then... Jai!

His Best

I've listened to most of KD's CDs and this is hands down his best. The production is amazing. It is saturated with love and devotion. The best tracks are Baba Hanuman (melts your heart), Kainchi Hare Krishna (blows your socks off), and Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya (very moving). The Hare Krishna chant is the best you will find anywhere- for its devotion and steady build up of energy. KD's voice is so deep and really resonates the power of these ancient mantras. Nothing airy-fairy here- the energy just blows through all the mental noise and inspires and strengthens the heart.

Not bad, but disappointing.

When I read the Rick Rubin was producing the next Krisha Das, I was intrigued and thought to myself... this is going to be a very interesting sound! Rubin, the ultimate producer (System of a Down, The Beastie Boys, Slayer, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond) working w/ Das! This album is good if you don`t mind the same old Das. I didn`t give it more than 3 stars because it does not deliver as a Rubin production should. Is Rubin to blame? I don`t know but a producer can only work with an artist as must as the artist will allow him to do so. Then again I was not in the studio but how cool would it have been to hear Das go a little more to the edge with his sound? This album is good but its a little too much of the same old for me.


Born: May 31, 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,...
Full Bio
Breath of the Heart, Krishna Das
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