Canadian Devotional Chant superstar, Brenda McMorrow is known for her unique and warmly embracing style of mantra music, in which she blends elements of acoustic folk, world rhythms and ancient Indian chants with a sweetly introspective singer-songwriter’s sensibility. Yoga Journal describes Brenda as having “a knack for expressing the deepest realizations in the sparsest lyrics”. As spiritual teacher Ram Dass has said: “Brenda has a gift”, and her music has been touching people’s hearts worldwide. With 4 celebrated devotional chant albums, Brenda is a featured artist on the White Swan Records roster, a Colorado label well known for it’s high-profile yoga-inspired artists like Deva Premal. She has accompanied Grammy award winning cellist David Darling and esteemed Kirtan musicians Jai Uttal, Wah!, David Newman, Girish and Dave Stringer, and has been invited to Bhakti Yoga festivals and events across North America, South America, Europe and Asia as part of her most recent tour schedule.
Catch Brenda live on Saturday evening.
The music of HuDost, the Neo Folk World Rock Ensemble from Montreal and KY, weaves a seamless tapestry of sound that renders tears and laughter in listeners, cultivating that nameless longing that abides somewhere in all our hearts. HuDost’s core musicians are Moksha Sommer and Jemal Wade Hines. Having toured the US, Canada, and Europe constantly since April 2006, HuDost has grown and expanded, travelled rocky and glorious terrain and marveled at all they can learn and explore.
HuDost has two new projects that have both been released in 2015 including a World Chant ‘Sufi Kirtan’ album as well as a collaborative record with Steve Kilbey of the Australian band The Church with special guest Jon Anderson of YES. On past albums HuDost has worked with Grammy Winner Malcolm Burn (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel) and Grammy Winner Oz Fritz (Tom Waits, Bill Laswell, Primus). HuDost’s acoustic album ’4th Way Folk’ was released in 2013.
As a duo their instrumentation includes vocals, harmonium (Indian Pump-Organ), Shahi Baaja (Electric Indian Auto-Harp), guitars, Bazouki, Dulcinet, percussion, and a slew of sonic ambient effects. Their music is a rich, eclectic blending of Pop and Rock with traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian and Balkan folk music, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, and Folk.
Highlight Performances Include Bonnaroo, Resident band at FloydFest, BhaktiFest, World Café Live, Blissfest, Alex Grey’s CoSM, the Salvador Dali Museum, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, headlining The Islands Folk Fest (Vancouver) and many more… Highlight Collaborations/ Opening for other artists Include Ani DiFranco, Philip Glass, Jon Anderson, Joan Osborne, Snatam Kaur, Steve Kilbey, California Guitar Trio, Bell Orchestre, Neko Case, Jim Lauderdale, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Mercan Dede, and many more…
Catch HuDost live on Sunday afternoon
John William Bauld & Shonna Brown
Teachers of Yoga – Acharyas (M.Y.) John William Bauld & Shonna Annapurna Brown travel abroad teaching classical yoga and spreading the love that they hold in their heart for Bhakti music. The debut solo album produced in California by acclaimed Grammy-nominated Ben Leinbach mixes sacred Sanskrit mantra with modern adult contemporary music in English, with the single Nataraja, featured on Kripalu’s latest Seva CD ‘Sounds of Bhakti – Vol 7’. They are the founders of Anandafest, Canada’s premier yoga retreat day, which continues their commitment to promoting unity and oneness among all people.
John and Shonna are regular presenters at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts on a semi-annual basis. Recent notable performances include a main stage appearance at Ahimsa Music and Yoga Festival New York, & Bhaktifest California, as well as The Yoga Conference, Tathaastu, Yogapalooza, and The Global Yogathon – Dundas Square in their native Toronto, Ontario. The intention is simple: to foster community, unity, empowerment & well-being through the universal language of music and practice of yoga.
Catch John and Shonna live Sunday afternoon
MJ Ganesh brings a fresh and dynamic guitar sound to devotional chanting. His first album, Birth of Ganesh, showcases his rock-mantra sensibility and his second album due out this summer will combine more acoustic riffs with catchy melodic mantras. He regularly offers kirtans in Montreal and at his new home in the Laurentians and facilitates silent meditation retreats with sacred chanting throughout the year. To hear samples of his music and check his schedule of kirtans and retreats, see below.
Catch MJ live Friday evening
Jaya Sangha! invites you to kirtan that realign our purest intentions through mantra written by sages thousands of years ago. The deeper meaning of these chants helps to bring light where darkness persists. With a good balance of Yin and Yang, a space conducive to introspection and connection with others is created through Jaya Sangha!’s repertoire of songs. This extremely powerful energy peaks with their raging rhythms that take you into a dance trance!
Jaya Sangha! invites you you to experience a musical journey rooted in consciousness through original arrangements inspired in part by classic mantras. Let yourself be transported by actively participating in chants or by just allowing to soak up the emerging light. Enjoy this wonderful state of well-being that stimulates the desire to engage on the path of the heart, in a completely neutral space that is neither religious nor dogmatic. At a time of unprecedented challenges, come and relax in a community that connects to our essence, come co-create and serve the light!
Catch Jaya Sangha! live Saturday afternoon.
Bhakti Bingo by Rebecca & Kevin
This was so much fun last year, its back again! This is a fun variation on a normal Bingo game. Each participant will get a Chant card, which includes a 5×5 grid of key words (the middle is a FREE space, like Bingo cards have). These words are from some of the favorite chants done at Rebecca and Kevin’s kirtan events.
Grab a crayon or bring a highlighter of some kind, and participate in the kirtan, listening for the words on your particular chant card. Simply highlight the words as you hear them. If you get a straight line in any direction, take your Chant card to the prize table. If it checks out and indeed, the words you marked off have been part of the kirtan, you can choose a prize from any that are remaining. The more prizes there are, the more winners there can be!
Rebecca and Kevin are Ottawa-based sound healers and musicians who have been hosting kirtan events since 2014. Songs are chosen from a variety of spiritual backgrounds, as long as they hold an energetic intention of love, gratitude and honour, so we may all rise and benefit from chanting with our collective voice.
Catch Bhakti Bingo Sunday morning
The DreamCraft Inspired Music ensemble includes bassist Gordon Sacolax, soprano Diana Varela (Montreal Symphony Orchestra & others), singer/guitarist Sim, and other musical artist guests with diverse backgrounds and styles including violinist Nicolo Bernardi.
The troupe has enjoyed sharing heartfelt music and crafting songs for well over 5 decades combined, blending world, folk, and mainstream influences with musical inspirations downloaded from dreams. DreamCraft’s compositions have been shared in numerous concerts, and aired on radio stations, videos, and TV soundtracks.
As an author on music and creativity, guitarist Sim’s new book, The Dreams Behind the Music reveals little-known dreams that inspired dozens of Grammy wins and other tremendous success for over 100 well-known artists, highlighting universal principles and techniques that anyone can learn to harvest their
own dreams for significant breakthroughs.
Catch Craig Sim Saturday afternoon
Arif Jinha & Reaz Bacchus
Arif Jinha is a talented multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, actor, painter and poet who has been writing and playing music since the age of 19. He has studied the Sitar and East Indian classical music under Said Mushfiq Hashimy and Hardeep Buckshi. He performs regularly in and around the Ottawa area. His first blues/folk album was re leased in 2011.
Reaz Bacchus has been learning tabla since 1998 as a student of Amjad Sabir of Winnipeg and Moheb Hashimi of Ottawa. He has accompanied signer Amjad Sabir for the 2004 CBC Tsunami Relief Concert, singer Mata Mandir Singh for his 2009 concert in Ottawa and currently accompanies sitar player Arif Jinha as well as playing for the Ottawa based Kirtan group, The Bhakti Connection. He currently has two albums released with The Bhakti Connection.
Catch Arif and Reaz Saturday morning
Carved out of a natural amphitheater of sand, this epic evening camp fire is one of the single most memorable parts of the festival. All voices and instruments join together round the warm fire, roasting marshmallows and singing heartfelt hymns into the late of the night. Fires are stoked both Friday and Saturday night at the festival.