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Songs of the Heart

Songs of the Heart – Community Sing & Chant

Songs of the Heart is a specialized form of group singing.  It stems out of an ancient practice from India in which mantras (chants) and music are used together to call out lovingly and enthusiastically to the many names of God. The songs and chants are easily repeatable so that you can lose yourself in the singing. Some songs are in Sanskrit and some are in English and occasionally other languages. They are backed up by instruments such as guitar, keyboard, flute, sitar, or harmonium and joyful drums. The chants range in tempo and feel from slow and angelic to positively danceable. Dancing or moving to the music can be as much a part of the experience as singing and chanting.

Songs of the Heart is non-denominational and honors all faiths and religions.

More On Songs of the Heart…

Songs of the Heart is a version of Kirtan and is a call-and-response, participatory sacred mantra practice that originated in India many centuries ago. The kirtan experience goes beyond the music itself, it goes to a deeper experience of vibration. Through their simple, evocative melodies, these repetitive chants quickly open our hearts, flooding our nervous system with loving energy. Typically, each line, or two or three, is sung once by the caller and the group responds identically. As the chant evolves, the same line(s) can be sung in other musical variations, requiring the responding group to listen intently in order to replicate the musical experience. This causes the mind to become still and liberated from its “monkey mind” (compulsive thinking) tendencies.

The purpose of chanting is to get us out of our heads and into our hearts. People often say they feel “buzzed” for days following a chanting experience. We all resonate at different frequencies at different times, and these frequencies change according to what we are doing and thinking. So when we are all doing the same thing-chanting, breathing, and moving to the same rhythms-our vibrations begin to synchronize and the resulting experience is very powerful.

As stated above traditional Kirtan involves singing/chanting in a call and response fashion, that requires no musical experience or expertise. The songs or chants are usually relatively short and then repeated many times, most often with the pace changing from slow to faster and back to slow. Both the act of singing the chants over and over and the vibration inherent in the Sanskrit words themselves has a transformative and enlightening effect. Even without knowing what the Sanskrit words mean they are said to have a direct connection to the divine.

Songs of the Heart also goes by the name Fusion Kirtan, which is an integration of the traditional Indian chants, with some of more westernized melodies and styling along with English circle songs or chants from other traditions. These songs and chants are devotional in nature giving praise to such energies as love, peace, the earth or God/Goddess. In Fusion Kirtan, often times the call and response style is surrendered for a continuous flow of song between song leader and participants. This allows for greater breath flow and for often deeper states of bliss.

These chants are backed up by instruments such as guitar, keyboard, flute, sitar or harmonium and most always joyful drums. The chants range in tempo and feel from slow and angelic to positively danceable. Dancing or moving to the music can be as much a part of the experience as chanting.

Come partake of this amazing experience – sing, dance, play a drum, an instrument or just sit quietly and take in the blissful vibe.

To Book an event of Songs of the Heart – Fusion Kirtan,

contact Joy (at) singdancedrum (dot) com or call 479-244-5469

 A little US history of Kirtan –

East Indian devotional singing, was brought to the US, in the 60’s and 70’s when its counterpart, yoga and meditation, came here along with some of the more well known gurus, one of which the Beatles made famous.

Today, it has taken on a resurgence along with the mainstream popularity of yoga, as it provides a great outlet to sing in an uninhibited fashion, (whether one considers themselves a good singer or not), and to feel a devotion to something positive and bigger than oneself. Though this originates in the Hindu tradition and much of the singing/chanting will be of the Hindu names for God, the overall intention is non-denominational. The intention is to feel the bliss of open hearted singing in connection with community and Great Spirit in whatever name or form feels right to you.