Our festival is the premier Kundalini Yoga and Sacred Chant Music Fest in the world…and the remarkably gifted and infinitely talented people that come together to co-create this experience are beyond magnificent! Today, we catch up with Sat Nam Fest West 2015 artist, Sirgun, as she opens up about her life as a sacred chant artist and parent, what it means to her to live a yogic lifestyle…and so much more…
My childhood of constant travel, living as an expat in France, has taught me abundant gratitude for my voice. The human voice is the most portable, most readily available, and clearest expression of our soul. When we sing in a devotional way, we find the home we have always been seeking, inside our own heart. I knows how these sacred mantras can lift us beyond our limited reality, into a blissful and ecstatic space, and I live to share that experience with others.
What are you most looking forward to sharing at Sat Nam Fest West 2015?
I am really looking forward to playing music for Gurmukh’s yoga class on Sunday. I have admired her teaching style for years and have enjoyed many yoga classes at The Golden Bridge. It is such an honor!
What has been your most profound, most memorable Sat Nam Fest experience?
Last year was my first Sat Nam Fest East experience and I was pretty nervous because of all that was on my plate. I had brought my husband and our toddler and because I was having to deal with jet lag and being mommy in a foreign space, I did not sleep hardly at all the night before my concert. I was so grateful and amazed at how smoothly the concert went despite all the things playing “against” me. I think the group energy really carried me. And I realized that sometimes we are supported beyond what we could have reasonably expected.
Why do you think people should attend Sat Nam Fest West 2015?
Because it’s like nothing else you will attend! You will leave refreshed from the invigorating yoga, so many beautiful Kirtan artists sharing their voices and hearts, all the insightful words spoken by teachers and in casual conversations with new friends, and of course, amazingly healthful and delicious food to top it all off.
I’d also like to mention that they do an impressive job catering to a multitude of dietary needs. I have some pretty uncommon ones and I can still find plenty. That’s saying something.
What is your favorite yogi food?
I don’t really make it anymore because my husband doesn’t consider it a meal, but steamed veggies with homemade tomato sauce is a big favorite of mine.
…and your favorite juice concoction?
Citrus is in season big time here in Arizona so I’ve been making a lot of citrus based juices with greens, ginger and sometimes fresh turmeric. Yum!
Oh how I wish I could say citrus was in season here in the midwest! hah! 😉 There’s nothing like fresh citrus fruit juice…mmm!! What a yummy blessing!
Most Deeply Loved Morning Sadhana Practice?
The Magnificent Nine from the Women’s Manual
Most Meaningful Musical Influence?
Joni Mitchell. I’m not sure if it’s so apparent in my music anymore though.
Yes! You’ve been creating music for awhile…even before your sacred chant music albums! …keep reading, more of that piece of the story below!
Which meditation are you doing right now?
Besides reciting Japji, I don’t have a daily one that I can commit to with a toddler.
I switch between a few pranayams, Kirtan kriya, and few other mantras that I can do while I’m trying to put him to sleep or take an end of the day bath.
Yes, children definitely add another layer to daily practice! We learn a whole other level of flexibility! …and surely such a wonderful thing for your dear little one to be growing up steeped in the beauty of your mantra music and loving heart!
What’s playing on your music device right now?
Gurudass’ Ra Ma Da Sa
Is there a piece of wisdom or insight you would share with a new yogi?
Congratulate yourself for showing up and don’t compare yourself to others.
We’d love for you to share a sneak peek at your creative process?
It’s usually a channeled kind of thing. Music comes to me most of the time… I can’t decide to sit down and write… At least not something I’m likely to enjoy later.
When it’s a co-creations with another musician, it’s easier to will it to happen within a certain timeframe.
When did you first start creating sacred chant music?
6 years ago
How did you come to Kundalini Yoga…or how did it come to you?
Through Snatam Kaur’s music.
What could you share with us about the difference between ‘doing yoga’ and living a yogic lifestyle?
Honestly, with people who do kundalini yoga consistently I don’t see a lot of separation between the spheres of “yoga world” and “real world”. It changes you. Profoundly.
The change may be slight or very significant. The yogic lifestyle can be a huge commitment, or it can be seen as more of a spectrum. I see more people pick and choose what works for them, and I think to a point that can be a lot healthier than trying to do everything that a yogi is “supposed” to do.
Yogi Bhajan gave a lot of “musts”, but you may notice that if you did every single thing he says it would take up more than 24 hours in your day!
So I find what resonates with me. I think the purpose of this yoga is in the first place to find that inner guidance so you can make choices like that.
Love this, Sirgun… Thanks!
If you could only practice one kriya for the rest of your days, which would it be and why?
I don’t think I’ve found it yet. I also like the fact that we have so much to choose from because some days we are just different than others. I’ve done 1,000 days of bound lotus kriya… It was enough for me 😉
What’s up and coming for you? Any new passions, inspirations?
Musically… Stay tuned! Another passion I am really loving is gardening and growing my own food. I was inspired by a book I read before the New Year to try and eat more locally and I have been amazed by the variety of things I can get that are from right here in Arizona—wheat berries (that I mill to make flour), olive oil, kamut, raw cow and goat’s milk, raw goat’s cheese, raw honey, in addition to a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. I’ve been freezing and fermenting and drying a lot of the harvest so that we have non-seasonal stuff on hand when it’s gone.
That’s so beautiful! Thanks for sharing another wonderful aspect of your lifestyle with us!
We will absolutely ‘stay tuned’ for more news on what’s up and coming musically!
What ever it is…we know it will be such a gift to us all.
Your music touches us, heart and soul…you are a blessing to this planet, Sirgun! Thank you so much for sharing with us!
We look forward to your contribution to the Sat Nam Fest West sound current in Joshua Tree this coming April… Only a little more than a month away as this post publishes! Wahe Guru!!
Sirgun at Sat Nam Fest West
Sirgun in Concert – Saturday, April 11
Sirgun Live Music during Yoga with Gurmukh on Sunday, April 12
REGISTER NOW to experience Sirgun …and all of the other amazing artists and teachers collaborating to make this year’s Sat Nam Fest West the most amazing one yet!
Sirgun’s Website: SirgunKaur.com
More About Sirgun…
(sourced from sirgunkaur.com/about)
I grew up an ex-pat in Southern France, singing from birth. I always knew I wanted to be a musician, but when it came time to leave high school I thought I’d go to a nice Ivy League college, study something completely quirky and unrelated, and THEN I’d do music. I wasn’t able to escape my love for long, and ended up majoring in what turned out to be the only thing that interested me at Brown University: music.
When I graduated in ’05, I had a premature mid-life crisis and decided I needed to backpack through the Pacific Rim to find out what my next step should be. It was during this time that I discovered two things: I really missed my piano, and—while saying at a hostel in Fiji—I really liked hatha yoga. I ended up finishing a Viyasa Flow teacher training in Connecticut.
When I returned to my parent’s new home in CT, I began the overwhelming endeavour of arranging, producing and writing my first album (as “Porter”). Upon completion, I toured a great deal in the Northeast. At the beginning of 2009 I combined a move to Los Angeles, CA with a cross-country tour. My best friend drove us (see insane videos here) most of the way. Thank you Sharon!
For the first few months that I lived in Los Angeles I played a lot. And then I stopped. This was a decision that baffled most of my family and friends. I just didn’t want to sing what I was singing any more. I took a break to do some deep personal investigation, and what fell into my lap was Kundalini Yoga. After taking only one class, I signed up for a children’s teacher training and began teaching children, to my great surprise, as a full-time job (click for info on children’s yoga).
Something else happened from not singing: I was asked to sing. It took some patience, but the Universe finally began asking me to sing. Actually, my boss announced to all his guests at his birthday party, which included two of my favorite devotional chant artists, that I had a chant to share. At the time, having nothing in fact to share, I was pretty embarrassed. However, the word got out that I sang, and sang well, and ever since, people have been asking me to sing kirtan with them.
Now it t is clear to me why I stopped singing. I was listening. I have learned that there are times to sing (gavai) and times to listen (suni-ai). Both are equally important. When I was quiet, I could hear my soul. So when I started singing again, I had a whole new perspective and appreciation for what I was and what I could be.
Another beautiful and unexpected thing happened to me in 2011: my New Year’s Resolution to get married came to fruition. I now live with my amazingly supportive husband, and our newborn son, in Phoenix, AZ.
What I have learned from my journey so far is that what we invest in grows.
Some of the amazing people I have shared the stage with so far include: C.C. White, Simrit Kaur, Sat Kartar, SatKirin Kaur Khalsa, Joey Lugassy, Gurunam Singh, Livtar Singh Khalsa and Sat Darshan Singh.