Welcome to another side of Em.
I am a classically and jazz trained pianist, sometimes singer.
But, lately, I’ve been learning my new toy, the harmonium, straight from India. During my Yoga intensive in Hawaii a couple years ago, we had nightly satsang. Satsang is a gathering where kirtan (yogic chanting) music happens, and story telling, singing, meditating. It is actually the most practiced limb of yoga despite that the world thinks of yoga as synonymous with the poses…the asana…which are only a small fraction of what constitutes a yoga practice.
After long days of twelve hours of yoga, we would all gather back in the outdoor yoga studio, humid tropical air, coqui frogs chirping, and join together for this transformative time with each other and music.
About a year later, thinking back on my time in Hawaii…I realized that while we learned so much about yoga, meditation, ourselves and each other, the one thing that I deeply missed was the kirtan music at satsang, even though there were nights we were all so exhausted we could hardly crawl back there after dinner to participate…it is the thing I miss the most.
I decided I must have this music in my life, ordered a harmonium, found an online kirtan course and have been teaching myself this exotic, rich, mesmerizing music.
I have learned several kirtan songs in Sanskrit. But, I have also discovered that this sound lends itself well to some more modern music and so have experimented transcribing songs for harmonium.
I will put here examples of each traditional kirtan songs and modern, and I hope you like it.
Please keep in mind there is no sheet music for this, that I am teaching myself, that I am recording only after a few run-throughs, so this is raw and vulnerable for me, in that sense.
Jaya Radhe , traditional kirtan in Sanskrit
Shri Krishna , traditional kirtan in Sanskrit
Let It Ride , modern folk by Ryan Adams
And my most recent, recorded today, check out one of my favorite artists, Beck, on harmonium. I hope he’d approve.
Morning, modern folk by Beck
There’s a small taste of my other creative outlet. Of course, I play piano, too…my obsession there…Mozart piano sonatas. Maybe someday I’ll share one of those, too.