Manish Vyas is a prolific contributor to the yoga music world, both in collaboration with other artists and as a solo artist. He grew up immersed in the world of Indian music, and began to study tabla at the young age of 9. While spending time studying classical music in India, he encountered fusion, combining elements of eastern and western styles. This inspired him to expand his instrumental horizons, and most fortunately for Manish fans around the world, to begin singing. Some of his musical accomplishments include a long time partnership with Prem Joshua, composing melodies that have been used by artists like Deva Premal, and sharing his unique musical style through solo albums. Sattva, his first entirely solo album, is a wonderful example of his accomplishments as a composer, singer, and yoga music star!
Sattva wastes no time, instantly transporting you to another world with the opening notes of “Ishq.” It’s definitely another world, but with the inclusion of piano and guitar it feels familiar. The word “ishq” has its roots in Arabic, and means love. But not the kind of love we use for things like puppies and pizza. “Ishq” refers to the fervent or passionate love we can feel for the Divine, and listening to Manish sing brings a wellspring of emotion to the surface.
On “Tumi Bhaja Re Mana” Manish exhorts his mind to remember God, and to chant the divine names. It feels as though Manish is sitting down with himself for a loving, earnest heart-to-heart chat. The tone is one of sincerity, and the mood is meditative. Manish brings this meditative mood into the next track. “Sattva” is hard to describe in words. It is more mood than song. The mantra at the end, “Omkaraya Namo Namaha” refers to OM, the seed sound of the universe. With “Sattva,” Manish takes you inside yourself, pointing you in the direction of the pure essence of OM that lies within us all.
Anyone who has heard Snatam Kaur’s live album has heard Manish’s beautiful “Shivoham.” But the studio version offers some slick and wonderful musical effects, allowing this track as a whole to capture the essence of the words Manish sings. In this chant, we identify ourselves as Shiva – blissful and all-pervading. It’s easy to get lost in the tone of Manish’s voice and the powerful words he is singing.
“Meera” is a fun mix of mellow and peppy. Vocally it has a very perky, upbeat feel, which is supported by a funky, mid-tempo groove. This style of singing is called “tarana” and it has a very poetic and uplifting feel. By contrast, “Karuna” is a slow and meditative piece. There are no “lyrics” per se. Instead Manish sings a sort of vocal meditation that invites the listener to slow down and go within. The album closes with “Om Namo Narayana.” It’s a beautiful chant to connect with the loving and sustaining energy of Krishna. The tone is gentle and soothing, with a beautiful musical arrangement that includes wonderful string and flute playing.
Manish Vyas has a voice like butter, silky and smooth. His talent for injecting every syllable with feeling is immense, and a treat to listen to. Sattva is a wonderful east-west fusion, seamlessly blending the instruments and beats of both worlds. The mix of tracks on the album makes it appealing for people who like to chant and people who would rather simply close their eyes and listen. Check out Sattva and find out more about Manish Vyas on www.spiritvoyage.com .