Bio

Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits

 

Join this sacred, world-music experience and discover the uplifting power of Gaura Vani and As Kindred Spirits. This multicultural group of musicians, singers, dancers and performers brings the ancient, mystical tradition of kirtan (aka mantra music) to life as you’ve never heard it before. Rhythms and melodies of East and West combine to create a sound that is both cutting-edge and inspired. Performing with Legendary kirtan artists such as Jai Uttal, Wah!, Shyam Das, Dave Stringer, Krishna Das, Snatam Kaur and MC Yogi, Gaura Vani and As Kindred Spirits captures hearts and minds of audiences wherever they go- from New York to Johannesburg, Australia to London, Mumbai to Hollywood.

Background

Gaura Vani - Vocals, Harmonium

Gaura Vani

Gaura Vani is a multi-disciplinary artist – fluent in music, film and visual arts. He is most known for his Mantra Music performances (an emerging genre based on ancient Indian mantras or chants). Gaura Vani’s events are unifying and transporting – a mix of participatory rhythm and song, story and dance. He travels often to Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia performing both as a solo artist and with his sacred music ensembles Sita & the Hanumen and As Kindred Spirits. Gaura Vani performs regularly at eclectic venues like private homes, theatres, temples, yoga studios as well as festivals like Lollapalooza, Bhakti Fest and Wanderlust.

Gaura Vani was born in Los Angeles, in the US, to parents living as monks in a Hare Krishna temple. At age six he went to Vrindavan, India to study at a gurukula (traditional temple school). There he learned sacred music – how to play Indian instruments and chant mantras. He has been sharing this music ever since. Gaura Vani has become a defining force in the current explosion of Mantra Music in the Western world spearheaded by the artists like Jai Uttal, Wah! and Krishna Das. Based on kirtan (the ancient call-and-response practice from India’s devotional traditions) Mantra Music revolves around large gatherings of people and the rhythmic singing of mantras or poetic names of God. Mantras are accompanied by instruments such as the harmonium, the two-headed mrdanga drum, tablas, and kartal hand-cymbals.

Gaura Vani co-produced the sold-out Chant4Change Kirtan Festival in Washington, DC during President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. He is a founding member of Mantralogy, the influential, devotional music record label in Albany, NY and the 24-Hour Kirtan Festival in
West Virginia. He is also a film director and has worked in both narrative and documentary films for Hollywood and TV, as well as music videos and independent theater.

Jahnavi Harrison - Violin

Jahnavi Harrison

Violin
Jahnavi Harrison was raised in an environment full of kirtan from birth. She began studying Western classical violin as a child, exploring different styles of music, from Irish to Klezmer. In recent years, her studies in South Indian dance (Bharatanatyam) have led her to undertake further study in South Indian Carnatic vocal and violin. She is a kirtan singer, writer, dancer, and a visual artist.

Shree Shyam – Percussion, Bass Guitar

Shree Shyam

Percussions, Bass Guitar
Shree Shyam is a percussionist, bassist, and drummer who has worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, world-music pioneer Jai Uttal, beatbox/loop phenom Kid Beyond, qawwali-fusion stars Riffat Salamat and Sukhawat Ali Khan, San Francisco’s New Pickle Circus, Polish reggae band Village of Peace, Indian hip-pop diva Shakti, world-renowned tabla artist Suphala, and Afrobeat ensemble Tinsaedu, among others. He has been an editor at Bass Player, editor-in- chief of Guitar World’s Bass Guitar magazine, and a freelance editor for Rolling Stone, Vibe, and the City of New York. http://myspace.com/basswriter

Shyam Kishor - Tabla

Shyam Kishore

Tabla, Sarod

Shyam’s family comes from Gujarat, in India, but he was raised and educated in America. Shyam has personally trained under India’s greatest musicians including Zakir Hussein and others at the Ali Akbar Khan School of Music in California and is an expert tabla player, and a tasteful and sensitive sarod and violin player.

Vrinda Rani - Bharatnatyam Dancer

Vrinda Rani

Bharata-natyam Dancer

Vrinda has performed throughout the world from Poland to Southern India, receiving recognition for her grace and energy. She practices a sacred dance that was, until recently, performed only privately in the inner sanctum of temples in front of the icon or deity. Made public in the last 75 years, this dance incorporates hand gestures and rhythmic foot patterns to relay the stories and philosophy of devotion.

People are talking about Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits

Gaura Vani and Kindred Spirits is bringing the ecstatic kirtan traditions of Bhakti yoga to America with full loving force. From Burning Man, to yoga studios, to chanting for change in Washington DC, Gaura Vani is a sacred activist and artist leading the way. Recommended with all my heart.  -Shiva Rea

This sweet, powerful music transforms the mind, penetrates the heart and awakens the soul. I love it! -Radhanath Swami

Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits are simply the most wonderful kirtan band in the Western world. Listen, sing and be transported. -Jai Uttal

This is Trancendental music at its best. Brings us to the Doorstep of the Divine. Hari Bol! -MC Yogi

Chanting with Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits is incredibly thrilling. the ecstasy is highly contagious. Simultaneously wild and serene, it is an amazing flavor combination. -Dave Stringer

Some of the most humble kirtan singers and talented musicians you will ever hear in America.  -Sharon Gannon

Sri Krishna Sankirtana at its best, the place of the hidden moons where Radha and Krishna want you to go! – DJ Cheb I Sabbah