World sensation and spiritual musical icon Krishna Das will perform on the Vineyard next Thursday, August 26 at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs. The singer is known internationally for his renditions of Kirtan, an ancient call-and-response spiritual practice that has roots in Indian traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism.
Born Jeffrey Kagel and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Krishna Das has a diverse musical background that speaks to his ability to successfully blend genres and gain mass appeal today.
The singer began his musical career in punk rock before his discovery of devotional singing caused him to completely transform both himself and his career.
Today, Krishna Das is likely the best-known American singer of Indian Kirtan-style devotional music and has been recording albums of traditional Island chants and songs since 1966. The rock-star of Kirtan is respected for his integration of western melodies (such as tunes from The Beatles) with orthodox sounds and worldly beats that together maintain traditionally accessible meanings.
Iconic spiritual leader Ram Dass describes the artist as an “example of someone whose heart sings open the channels to God” in the event’s press release.
Aside from a career in music, Krishna Das has devoted his life to Indian meditation practices, participating in workshops around the world. The singer met Sherry Sidoti of FLY Yoga at an ashram a few years ago. Ms. Sidoti, who runs her yoga business on the Vineyard, collaborated with Nevette Previd, of Previd Consulting (also based on the Vineyard) for the first time for this event.
“It was great timing and good karma,” Ms. Previd says of what she thinks will be the first of many Island events of this type. “People are typically a little wary when they first think of Kirtan,” she adds, “but the diversity in Krishna Das’s music makes it attractive to anyone with an affinity for world music.”
Ms. Previd notes that typical Krishna Das concerts are somewhat “like a party,” with audience members singing, dancing, and often sitting on the floor. Next Thursday evening’s location will certainly contribute to the memorable evening. While Krishna Das concerts typically boast audiences from 5,000 to 10,000, the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs will ensure intimacy with its capacity of 400 people. “This is a great experience for people who have never thought about anything like this,” Ms. Previd says.
The artist’s performance next Thursday evening from 7 to 10 pm is a part of his Heart as Wide as the World tour, which features the best of global beats with a devotional practice. The event is accessible to all ages and levels of spiritual devotion.
Tickets for the concert are $35 in advance and can be purchased on krishnadas.com and at the following Island locations. Vineyard Haven: Midnight Farm; Oak Bluffs: Sanctuary; West Tisbury: Scottish Bakehouse; Edgartown: Above Ground Records. Limited tickets will also be available at the door.
The event was made possible with the support of: Point Way Visiting Artists Program, MVY Radio, The Yoga Collective, Martha’s Vineyard Online, and Sanctuary.