By Krishna Das
With the release of his 14th album, Kirtan Wallah (one who sings kirtan), KD offers a westward-leaning album, fully embracing his American roots in rock and country and yet embodying the spirit of deeply devotional Indian chants. There are some traditional melodies that would be right at home in an Indian temple, his rich baritone voice and harmonium leading the chants. But at its heart, Kirtan Wallah is a natural confluence of Krishna Das' musical streams, bansuri flute weaving its way through acoustic guitars and country swing, and tabla and kartals underscoring melodies that would fit well in the Townes Van Zandt catalog. Remarkable is that this fusion has simply tumbled out naturally from KD s years of chanting to the chords of his heart, effortlessly pulling worlds together, drawing a heart-connection between Bengali kirtan & rock, between the Kumaon Hills and Nashville.
Track "Sri Argala Stotram (Selected Verses) / Show Me Love" is a mash up of traditional Hindu prayer and Foreigner s rock ballad "I Wanna Know What Love Is;" "Saraswati" written by Russian pop icon Boris Grebenschikov is complete with acoustic guitars reminiscent of the Stones; "I Phoned Govinda" and "4AM Hanuman Chalisa" are explorations of Nashville country.
While it s certainly noteworthy that as he evolves as a kirtan wallah, Krisha Das continues to move closer to his Western roots, the heart of this latest album is still in the Names that he s singing. Kirtan is the spiritual practice of calling out to the Self through these Divine Names, and the depth of KD s devotion to this practice is revealed in his singing.
1. Radhe Govinda
2. Sri Argala Stotram (Selected Verses) / Show Me Love
3. Waltzing My Krishna
5. 4 am Hanuman Chalisa
6. Taras Mantra
7. Sri Bajrang Baan
8. I Phoned Govinda
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