Happy Free Music Friday! Spirit Voyage and GuruGanesha Singh bring you a live version of “Bhaja Man Mere” by The GuruGanesha Band now available for download on GuruGanesha’s album Kundalini Surjhee. GuruGanesha is joined by Paloma Devi on this beautiful version of “Bhaja Man Mere.”
If you have ever sat in the audience at one of his concerts, you know the gravitational pull of GuruGanesha`s guitar carrying you deep into the soul of the music. On Kundalini Surjhee, he crystallizes that experience with the signature virtuosity of his savory guitar style. While many guitarists find it challenging to master a single style, GuruGanesha leads you from traditional raag to rock to blues and beyond. His guitar wizardry and soulful vocals alone could carry this album, but GuruGanesha brought in several other major world sacred music artists that break it through to another realm.
Opening the album is the emotionally rich Bhaja Man Mere, a kirtan lullaby with GuruGanesha`s deeply soothing vocals and sweet guitar melodies gently carrying you to the introduction of Tina Malia`s voice, whose purity and crystalline clarity distill the very meaning of devotional music. The musical chemistry between GuruGanesha and Tina continues to be highlighted on Bright Star, which has become a viral online break-out hit.
As the album moves forward, the energy rises, much like its title, which translates to Kundalini Rising. The title track, Kundalini Surjhee, and the fourth track, Aval Allah, both sophisticated gurbani kirtan compositions, incorporate lively tabla, traditional kirtan call-response vocals, and the incredible presentation of raga on guitar. These tracks build to irresistible crescendos, the musical representation of awakened kundalini energy. With guest appearances from Jai-Jadgeesh, Mata Mandir Kaur, Tina Malia and Michelle Hurtado, these tracks have flavors ranging from the plains of Amritsar to the deserts of the Middle East.
GuruGanesha recorded some audience favorites including the devotional songs Walk with the Lord and One God, whose musical sensibilities touch the core of GuruGanesha as an artist. Blending blues, jazz, rock, a bit of bluegrass and and the deepest experience of devotion, these songs overflow with exuberant joy. GuruGanesha is also joined by the big bluesy vocals of Jessica Cauffiel, seamlessly integrating gospel music with Gurmukhi mantra.
Thomas Barquee`s piano makes a few star appearances, most notably on Mul Mantra II, a gentle evocative track, and One God, a perfect finale to this eclectic album with a foot-stompingly joyful shout out to the blues. Masterfully produced by Krishan, this album is filled with pulsating energy. Blending acoustic and electric guitars, piano, tablas, cajon, udu, keyboards, bass and the divine voices of an amazing line-up including GuruGanesha Singh, Tina Malia, Jai-Jagdeesh, Mata Mandir Kaur, Jessica Cauffiel, Michelle Hurtado and Krishan, the diversity of styles creates an experience that is truly a surge of Kundalni energy!
GuruGanesha Singh – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Tina Malia – Vocals
Jai-Jagdeesh – Vocals
Sat Siri Jyotika (Jessica Cauffiel) – Vocals
Michelle Hurtado – Vocals
Mata Mandir Kaur – Vocals
Ramesh Kannan – Tabla, Cajon, Udu
Ian Walker – Bass
Thomas Barquee – Vocals, Keyboards
Krishan Khalsa – Vocals, Tabla, Percussion
Produced by Krishan, Open Mind Creations
About GuruGanesha Singh:
Back in 1973, a young man left an up-and-coming rock band called Cat’s Cradle to walk the spiritual path, embracing the Sikh faith and the practice of Kundalini Yoga. It was a hard choice. But his spiritual guide, the world-renowned master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan, told the young man, “Whatever you leave behind to walk this path will re-manifest later, in a higher form.”
Today the world knows that man as GuruGanesha Singh, a guitarist of exceptional grace and expressiveness, a singer, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur who has been a leading figure in establishing World Sacred Music as one of the fastest-rising and creatively fertile genres on the current scene. With a brand new album, Kundalini Surjhee, an exciting new live project with golden-voiced singer Tina Malia titled Song of the Soul, and an on-going musical collaboration with the incomparable Snatam Kaur (in its12th year and still thriving), GuruGanesha feels that he’s now experiencing the complete realization of the prophecy Yogi Bhajan made all those years ago.
“What’s happening now is a full manifestation,” he says. “All the same pieces are there that were there in ’73, but they’ve re-manifested in a higher form. All the spiritual and musical work I’ve done for the past 38 years has been preparing me for this.” GuruGanesha is one of those rare individuals who combine the heart and soul of an artist with the clear, quick mind of a seasoned and wise business leader. By the time he started Spirit Voyage Records in January, 2000 he had already made a substantial financial success as CEO of Sandler Training Institute of Virginia, a company dedicated to providing integrity based sales training for the high-tech industry. For many people, that would suffice as a life’s achievement, but for GuruGanesha it was just a prelude.
The first year of the 21st Century proved a musical watershed for him. He released the album A Game of Chants with Guru Singh, Thomas Barquee and the Grammy-winning singer Seal and began to record as part of the Peace Family, a group featuring the extraordinary, angelic voice of Snatam Kaur. Becoming Snatam’s manager as well as her guitarist and co-vocalist in 2000, GuruGanesha helped launch Snatam as a solo artist with the Spirit Voyage album release Prem. It was the first in a string of outstanding CDs, including Shanti, Grace, Anand and Liberation’s Door that established the diminutive yet divinely guided singer as one of the preeminent voices in the growing world of mantra, kirtan and devotional music.
GuruGanesha’s shimmering, evocative guitar melodies and supple chordal rhythms played an integral role in creating Snatam’s signature sound. Their collaboration over the years has been extremely fruitful and always dedicated to the service of humanity and the cause of world peace. In a similar way, GuruGanesha has helped foster the careers of producer Thomas Barquee, the devotional duo Mirabai Ceiba, Nirinjan Kaur and now, Tina Malia.
In 2004 GuruGanesha made his debut as a solo artist with the album Grateful Ganesh, a title that pays playful tribute to the artist’s all-time favorite band, the Grateful Dead. This was followed by Pure Ganesh in 2006 and Joy Is Now in 2008. All these releases are remarkable for their blend of heartfelt songcraft and sterling guitar work embracing a cornucopia of musical styles, from kirtan to jazz to raga to rock.
GuruGanesha has taken his unique musical vision to even greater heights on his new release Kundalini Surjhee, an album that includes several collaborations with Tina Malia, a gifted singer whose recordings span the devotional, pop and electronic fields and who has worked with such diverse artists as Carlos Santana, Jai Uttal, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Loggins, India.Arie and Bassnectar. In addition to his usual robust touring schedule with Snatam Kaur, GuruGanesha will be hitting the road this year with Tina Malia on their Song of the Soul tour along with multi-instrumentalist Hans Christian, percussionist/remix master Craig Kohland and fast rising young bassist Jared May.
“I’ve been aware of Tina for a long time,” says GuruGanesha. “I feel she’s right up there with the best female devotional singers on the planet. And she has a beguiling pop side as well, which I love.”
And so the young man who turned his back on rock and roll glory has become an icon and inspiration in another great musical genre-one with higher goals than fame or wealth.
“I’m 60 years old now and I’ve dedicated the past ten years of my life to sending healing sound currents out to the world,” he says. “I’m not doing it for the money. I’ve already had success in business. It’s been a labor of love and devotion, from starting Spirit Voyage, to my work with Snatam and now embarking on the Song of the Soul Tour with Tina. People on the planet are so stressed out now. They need the healing, soothing energy of the Divine Mother. When a Snatam Kaur or a Tina Malia sings, there is an innocence and purity to their voice that opens every heart in the room within seconds. Everyone in the audience will feel like a child again, in their mother’s arms. For a time, they will forget all their troubles and cares, and rediscover their true identity as spiritual beings.”