Monday, December 4, 2017

Heart Centered Kirtan

I am incredibly proud of my sister, Libby. She recently released a very special CD called Heart Centered Kirtan with Jeff Martell. The recording is special because it is a celebration of Jeff and Libby's musical legacy following Jeff's untimely death in January 2016.

They were working on the CD at the time, and all Jeff's vocals were recorded. Libby called on friends and musicians to finish creating, recording and producing the music, and the result is a gorgeous, uplifting and emotional tribute to their musical legacy. I cry almost every time I listen to it, full of admiration for Libby, who kept the music alive.


More information from the Heart Centered Kirtan website:

Kirtan is a meditative and energizing practice of devotional call-and-response singing.  The repetition of the phrases combined with the back-and-forth nature of this group practice soothes the mind, creates community, and fosters an awareness of something greater than one's individual self.

Our debut album Heart Centered Kirtan is a tribute to the memory of Jeff Martell and the music that he and kirtan collaborator Libby Volckening made together before Jeff's untimely death in January 2016.  The 10 original compositions weave Sanskrit mantras, hymns and aphorisms from ancient India with Jeff and Libby's own blend of rock, blues, and reggae.  A rousing a capella chorus opens the bluesy first track Om Namah Shivaya, which is followed by two of the livelier tunes on the CD, Govinda Gopala Narayana and Bhagavan Kripalu.  The mood shifts with the tender Om Cecilia, written in praise of the Catholic saint who sang her heart out to God, which features a chorus of heart-melting harmonies.  The next track Even Kali Gets the Blues offers a fierce interpretation of a verse from the Devi Argala Stotram.  Next up is Om Asatoma percolating with percussion, followed by one of the most popular songs of the album Ishvara Pranidhana, inspired by the 12-step slogan "Let go and let God."   The edgy Mahamrtyunjaya Mantra  is intensified by a powerful electric guitar solo, and then the mood lightens with the a sweet interpretation of the classic Purnam Adah shanti mantra.  The album closes with the Saraswati bija mantra, a compelling blend of Martell's rich voice and acoustic guitar interwoven with wistful South Indian flute.  We hope this album makes you want to "Sing all the time!" For more information about Heart Centered Kirtan including a link to buy the CD, click here.

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