I am leading a Kirtan at Yoga Heart Studio in Polson, Montana on Saturday, October 19, from 6-7:30pm. I’ve been talking about this for some time – mostly around the times I have sung during yoga classes – so the scheduling of this first kirtan is a great step forward for me.
What is Kirtan?
Kirtan is ‘call and response’ chanting – traditionally in Sanskrit, but in other languages as well, including English. (See Wikipedia.) Sanskrit is the primary liturgical language of Hindiusm and a literary and scholarly language in Buddhism and Jainism. (See Wikipedia.) The beauty of Kirtan is that one does not need to know the language in order to participate. No pressure: anyone can come, anyone can try, all can enjoy.
But there are a lot of things to learn about Kirtan if you are so inclined. I am currently reading two books: The Yoga of Sound by Russill Paul, and “Following Sound into Silence” by Kurt A. Bruder (Kailash). Great book names. Internalizing the meanings of the titles is the process honed and understood with practice, of kirtan, of yoga, and of meditation.
The main instrument of kirtan is the voice, but there are many musical instruments you can use during kirtan. Some common ones are harmonium, tabla (drum), in the West and more recently, guitar, and for me, the mountain dulcimer. My mountain dulcimer is #8 built by my friend, Don Arthur, in the upstairs of our log cabin on April 21, 1974. Mountain dulcimers are 4-stringed instruments with several possible tunings. What I like best about mine is its one low string, lending to a drone effect which goes well with chanting.
Please come to our Kirtan if you can:
Yoga Heart Studio
314A Main Street
Saturday, October 19, 2013 ~ 6-7:30p