Chanting in Yoga and Kirtan with Jai Uttal
For our 29th episode, I had the honor to sit down with Jai Uttal. I heard about Jai’s Kirtan a long time before I was able to attend in person, but the wait was totally worth it. The music itself was transporting, the performance was exciting and calming at the same time, it left me feeling totally grounded, open and connected. As soon as It was done, I knew I wanted to sit down with him to talk about music, chanting, kirtan and devotion.
Listen to the episode here :
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ABOUT OUR GUEST :
Jai Uttal is a kirtan artist, multi-instrumentalist, and ecstatic vocalist. He is considered a pioneer in the world music community with his combined influences from India and American rock and jazz. Jai has been leading, teaching, and performing World Music and kirtan—the ancient yoga of chanting or singing to God—around the world for close to 50 years, creating a safe environment for people to open their hearts and voices.
He grew up in New York City and lived in a home filled with music. Jai began studying classical piano at the age of seven, and later learned to play old-time banjo, harmonica, and guitar. At age 17, he heard Indian music for the first time, and two years later moved to California and studied under the famous sarod player, Ali Akbar Khan. Jai later began taking regular pilgrimages to India, living among the wandering street musicians of Bengal, and singing with the kirtan wallahs in the temple of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
Jai has emerged as a leading influence in the Bhakti tradition. He considers bhakti to be the core of his musical and spiritual life.
Learn more about him here :
His Website : www.jaiuttal.com
Instagram : @jaiuttal
Facebook : @jaiuttal
QUESTIONS HE ANSWERED
For people that have never heard the word Kirtan, would you explain what it means?
What can they expect if they come to an event?
Why is it a call and response format? What the goal of that type of chanting?
Why chant Mantras and not something else? Why is chanting in Sanskrit so important?
Personally, why do you love Kirtan and sacred music vs any other style.
What is your all time favorite chant?
You also teach a Kirtan Camp, who is this for? What do people learn there? What can people expect?
What would you tell people that might be interested but think they can’t sing?
What do you say to people for whom it it feels odd, uncomfortable or inauthentic to chants to god and goddesses in a language they don’t even understand?
Do you also think it’s important for people to know the English translations?
*Edited and mastered by Alexandre Saba