Kathryn: What is your favorite part about Sat Nam Fest?
GuruGanesha: I have a lot of favorite parts; first, it’s wonderful getting to intersect with all my peers in the Kundalini yoga music world, because we spend so much time going in different directions during the year. There’s a real cooperative spirit amongst all the artists and it’s great just to get a chance to be together and see everybody and reinvigorate relationships.
Kathryn: What else is special about the event for you?
GuruGanesha: The people that come to Sat Nam Fest are such beautiful souls. These are people that are working on themselves, and who’ve made a commitment to live in their divinity. When you surround yourself with hundreds of souls who are committed to living in their higher consciousness and living in kindness and love it is so intoxicatingly beautiful.
Kathryn: What do you hope your music will achieve?
GuruGanesha: The whole purpose of the music for me at this stage of my life (and I’ll be 62 ten days after Sat Nam Fest!) is hopefully to touch a few hearts and uplift some people. For me, right from the beginning the music has been a labor of love and a way to give back to the planet for all the myriad of blessings that continue to be showered on me. In the late 60s and early 70s I was a rock ‘n roll musician and I find this to be so much more satisfying. We’re using mantras or divine poetry as our lyrics, and the intention is very different. Rock ‘n roll at that time was kind of a vehicle for an ego running wild, while this kind of music is all about really bowing your head and praying to be used by the Divine. If you can subjugate the ego and really see yourself as part of a great oneness everything flows much better.
Kathryn: You have so much energy and vibrancy. Is your secret some particular aspect of Kundalini yoga, the music, or what?
GuruGanesha: It’s a combination of factors. My daily Kundalini yoga practice is a huge factor; it really works for me and it’s more than just maintenance–it’s maintenance plus. And then I have another daily practice, which is very meditative: I do vocal exercises that I learned from my raga teacher; I chant for a half hour or more, long tones in a whole range of pitches. You’ve got to use your voice constantly, whether you’re singing or just talking and communicating. I think a voice is like a manifestation of your overall vitality. The combination of the yoga and regular vocal exercises really centers and invigorates me.
Kathryn: Do you have a particular part of your sadhana that you’d recommend for others?
GuruGanesha: I read regularly from the Sukhmani Sahib or The Psalm of Peace written by Guru Arjan Dev. In this one beautiful psalm is contained all the wisdom of the universe. My wife and I usually read about five minutes of that every morning at the end of our practice and it brings such a sense of peace and perspective on the universe. It talks about things like keeping your mind focused on the divine; when you do that, all your affairs in life are arranged. I especially recommend it for people who are feeling really troubled right now; it is so peace-giving.
Kathryn: What are your current projects?
GuruGanesha: I’ve done a lot of GuruGanesha solo albums but right now I’m working on the first GuruGanesha Band album that is a true band project by the GuruGanesha Band and it will also introduce Paloma Devi (the band’s vocalist, Michelle Hurtado, has recently changed her name; Paloma means dove and Devi means divine). Paloma is really amazing and I think people are going to be blown away when they hear her on this album, which will be ready in March.
Kathryn: What else are you working on?
GuruGanesha: We’re working out a schedule with Deva Premal and Miten. In the fall of 2013 the GuruGanesha Band and Deva Primal and Miten with Manose are going to be co-headlining a 40-city tour. The GuruGanesha Band will be doing a minimum of 60 big concerts next year, which should create a lot of excitement. We’re trying to take this whole genre of mantra music to another level. My wife says I suffer from grandiosity, but at least it’s a positive grandiosity!
We look forward to singing and dancing along with GuruGanesha’s positive grandiosity at Sat Nam Fest!