Airdate: July 11, 2013
Join Ramdesh in welcoming GuruGanesha Singh of the GuruGanesha Band as the group celebrates its new album, A Thousand Suns, and gets ready to kick off an exciting tour of North America with Deva Premal and Miten.
GuruGanesha is thrilled that the band is doing so splendidly as it spreads its joy and spirit across the nation. There are six individuals in the group and “we just keep getting –on a personal, musical, and spiritual level—tighter and tighter.” Working together as a band for the past two years has been “truly an experience in group consciousness,” he notes. “The relationships between the individuals in the group just keep getting better and better.”
Observes Ramdesh, GuruGanesha is the “centerpiece, the marvelousness that holds the band together.” Then, there is the amazing singer Paloma Devi, who is a shining new star in the group and in the kirtan world. Paloma, who grew up in Miami, is Cuban American and is in her twenties. “We are a multi-generational group,” GuruGanesha says, with Tripp Dudley on percussion (in his thirties), Gurusangat Singh on bass (in his forties), Sat Kartar Singh on guitar and vocals and Hans Christian on several instruments (in their fifties), and of course, “one teenager with a long white beard—myself!”
How did the album come to be? Almost all the pieces were written by Paloma and GuruGanesha. When they sat down to write, everything just seemed to flow. Several of the songs on the album were inspired by talks by Yogi Bhajan: “May the light of a thousand suns shine through; live the life of grace that you were meant to” are words that deeply resonate. When GuruGanesha first met Yogi Bhajan he suggested that the young musician consider using mantras or divine poetry as lyrics. His belief, GuruGanesha recalls, was that inside each human being is a light that is brighter than a thousand suns.
The first track you’ll hear on this podcast is “A Thousand Suns,” featuring the hypnotic guitar of GuruGanesha, Paloma Devi’s stunning vocals, and the mesmerizing cello of Hans Christian. It also features the mantra “ang sung wahe guru” which invites the presence of the divine into every cell of one’s body. There is an awesome YouTube video of this track that you won’t want to miss! You’ll also find a fun video of GuruGanesha and friends signing together at Sat Nam Fest West.
GuruGanesha has been on the Kundalini Yoga and Sikh path since 1972 and he’s done a lot of praying over the years. But the one prayer he recites every day and throughout the day is “Thy Will Be Done,” as he surrenders to the will of the Divine and asks how he can best serve. Listen next to the track, “Thy Will Be Done.”
Ramdesh and GuruGanesha also discuss the band’s upcoming 27-city tour, co-headlining with Deva Premal and Miten. GuruGanesha predicts this “will take mantra music to another level. There’s been so much attention to detail…and we want to show that in this genre we can deliver an evening of a caliber of the top mainstream shows.” Spiritual music takes center stage!
Listen to “Mayray Meet Gurdayv,” a gentle and sweet song that highlights the vocals of Paloma. “We’re so blessed to have her on the planet and to have her in the band,” GuruGanesha says. Paloma can sing very sweet, meditative pieces and she can also “rock out with the best of them!”
What is GuruGanesha’s favorite part of this musical journey? “Our commitment to serving and uplifting,” he answers without skipping a beat. “Every night before we play we get together in a circle and pray, ‘please use us to touch people’s hearts and open them to the divinity that lives within each of us.’” The group is committed, GuruGanesha says, to being an instrument of peace and joy. You can feel the devotion in every note!
The next song you’ll hear is “Waho Waho GoBind Singh.” This is a wonderful song with a Latin influence. One morning when Paloma Devi and he were working on material for the album, GuruGanesha asked her to play some of her favorite Flamenco music. What flowed forth is a fascinating fusion of singing in Gurmukhi and the energy of “ferocious devotion to the divine” inspired by Gobind Singh (the tenth guru of the Sikhs). You’ll also hear some Spanish lyrics, and lead electric guitar that is “Santana-esque!”
Enjoy this podcast, and as Ramdesh says, “See what happens when you put on a turban and rock out!” Join the flow of love, exuberance, and joy!