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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

Krishna Das

By Jill Ettinger
Published October 2, 2008

Heart Full Of Soul
Nettwerk Records

Yoga has seen a strange transition in the West over the last decade. This ancient, sacred spiritual practice (designed to train the body for sitting long hours in meditation) has become a quick work-out fix, popping up in myriad fitness centers, loosely relating to its origins. Krishna Das is the best known voice of this “Yoga” – yet unmarred by the fitness craze – his unmistakably humble way of growling out names of the divine in kirtan  (yogic chanting) one of the only surviving modest interpretations of this traditional practice. His latest 2 CD set, Heart Full of Soul, is a return to his beloved live performance with audience participation call-and-response style. He commingles timeless gems like “Hanuman Prayer” and “Om Namah Shivayah” retooled with modern sentiment, though still hauntingly archaic. Chanting has been used for thousands of years as a tool of transcending – Das is no stranger to this powerful force, and a much-needed ambassador in a time where humanity continues to fumble around in muddled self-serving darkness.