Monday, April 27, 2009

Awakenings - new album of qawwali music

Dear all,
this month we added a new album on the radio – double album „Awakenings“ – Qawwali Voices of America. Album was recorded by Matt Malley and Nitin Haldankar at the Los Angeles Ashram recording studio and info about this nice album you can find on:

What says Matt Malley about recording?

Recording happened here at the LA Ashram studio over a 3 day period in ‚08. It was blissful. We would record a Qawwali song, then go down to the main house for the spiciest curry lunches in the world made by our sisters and wives. My mouth was on fire and it was all part of the experience of music and food. Singing in the dining room, eating, laughing. Then back to the studio to record another one. It´ s the way music should be made – light, happy and blissful.

We recorded everything live and the only overdubs were my (amateur) harmonium. Right at the end of our 3 day recording session, there was a ring around the moon and we all felt that it was an auspicious sign. One member of the band took a photo and we included it in the artwork on the inside of the cd jacket – it doesn't look like the moon but it is.After the printing costs of the CD are made back, we are giving 100% of the proceeds to the Canahojarie Expansion Project, for the Canahojarie school in New York.

The members are:
Nitin Haldankar – lead vocals
Matt Malley – harmonium and chorus vocals
Satish Mopur, Ravindra Kulkarni and Viraj Talpade – chorus vocals
Debasish Chaudhuri – Tabla

Don´t forget to vote !

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Raga Todi Raga Yaman - How can we help our chakras

Mhmmm …. You don´t come across such records! There are only a few CDs which can help you to heal the caught chakra or to get into the secret of the indian music. This album was to buy at Guru Puja in Cabella. Behind the tent camp there was made a little „Vashi“ where you could hear tones of ragas and people sitting in groups work on each other. I was attracted by enclosed leaflet and surprised how wonderful is the use of this CD that doesn´t have to be just for listening. The whole record is made really profesionally and so is the leaflet which is full of information and can be appreciated not only by an early listener but also by yogis who are interested in music and play various musical instruments. If you are in Cabella and see this album, do not hesitate to get it, it is really worthy…
For information here is the content of the leaflet how to work with this CD…


Raga Todi is a morning Raga and works best for our morning meditation. Raga Yaman is an evening Raga, to be used in the same way.

For all Sahaja Yogis and seekers:

Tracks 2, 3 (Raga Todi) and 7, 8 (Raga Yaman) are for the practise of the' song in meditation. Give yourself bandhans and raise the Kundalini, sit on the ground with a straight back, relaxed on your pelvis. It could be better to place a cushion under your Mooladhara, so that the weight of your body is pushed forward a little. With the stomach relaxed but firm (not flabby !!!!), put your attention in your Nabhi and imagine making the sound from the Nabhi. Start the CD from track 2 (Todi) or 7 (Yaman).

In tracks 2 and 7 after the ascending scale Arohi and descending Avarohi, every Svara is sung twice, the second time at a lower volume so that you can repeat it.
In tracks 3 and 8 however, groups of Svara are repeated twice so that you can repeat a whole group when the guiding voice repeats it at a lower volume. Together, these groups of Svara form a Calana (in English: „chalan“). When we sing or play a Calana of a Raga it is as though we are drawing the salient points of a human figure. Every element or line is indispensable to identify the subject (Raga Sketch).

So the Calana are like the minimal phrases needed to have a picture of'„'a particular Raga ". The development of the Calana is the Alapa, that, relative to the Calana, is like a painting finished with colours insteated of merely outlined. Whereas tracks 5 and 6 (Raga Todi) and 9,10 (Raga Yaman) represent a "model of the minimal execution of the Raga“, in other words, a more developed Alapa and a composition with percussion and variations. They are just for listening to. Track 1. „Sarasvatí Vandana“ is an invocation to the Deví in the form of „Shri Saraswati" and the lyrics can be found in the Mantra Book.

B. For musicians who want to deepen or become aquainted with the language of the Raga, every track is important.

A first usage is the same as described in point A. Once you have mastered the „basics“ of these two Ragas, you can start to apply the elements (Arohi, Avarohi, Calana) to your musical instrument when you pratice.
Tracks 4 and 9 are for everyone (musicians and non) to learn to follow the tala (rhythmic cycle) of the percussion alone and together with the compositions. The method used is similar to that learned from our teachers at the Conservatory. That is to say, the Indian approach „Guru Sisya Param­para“ combined with the support of the CD to learn in the absence of a teacher.

We recommend that you do not use tempered instruments like keyboard, piano or harmonium. Try the "Svara" inside yourself, and not outside with the keys of these instruments. Indian music was not created on them, which are really of Western origin. The scales of both Raga contain sounds (frequencies) that cannot be ascribed to Western tempered scales or jazz styles.

Finally, in the CD booklet, you will notice some differences in the writing of words that we in Sahaja Yoga are used to reading, i.e. Sri Ganesha instead of Shri Ganesha. This different way of writing is an example, because all of us get to know, a little at a time, the sounds of the Devanagari alphabet in which Hindi, Marathi etc, as well as Sanskrit, are written and spoken. Normally we write these sounds using the letters of the English alphabet, that has 26 letters (instead of the approx 52 of the Devanagari !). But, in this way, we lose many of the sounds of those languages. Just think of mantras and their (even subtle) meanings. It is a new awareness. Some years ago, it seemed to us that Mother exhorted us to learn Hindi, even the basics, and to learn the most important bhajans and prayers by heart. Some of us are trying!

It will be a great pleasure to receive your impressions of using the CD and any suggestions for improvement. Please do not hesitate to send them to: or

A brotherly embrace to all,
The Collective of Verona (ITALY)