Sunday, 27 September 2009

Happy Clappy

(the Kirtan singer is Karnamrita Dasi. She studied for four years with Pandit Vidur Malik and Tarun Krsna Das.)

So, I find the hippyness of this challenging, but this is interesting to me for a couple of reasons.

Mainly, it looks like these people are having a really good time. In the middle of the video many of them are jumping jumping jumping.

I've never seen anything like it. It's a bit like Jewls' ecstatic dance at Buddhafield, except that this is ecstatic singing.

  • the call and response thing
  • a tight core crowd who assert the norms and bring their friends in
  • a good bunch of musicians, and 
  • a caller with just the right touch leading the crowd into wildness seem to be the thing.
And they all feed each other. The caller, the singers, the musicians, the crowd, the dancing, each part brings the others up and it goes Off.

The least ecstatic thing in singing sessions is learning a song. That's just pretty boring. Getting to sing it once you know it is the great payback.

With the call and response format you don't have to learn the song, you just follow and get lost and taken up, up and away. So it's more fun, right?

But. The Indian thing. What do those words mean? They're almost certainly cantations to Hindu deities.

So, I wouldn't proudly get up on stage in London and try to get everyone singing to Hindu deities. We're not Hindus.

So can we take the form out of its Hindu context??

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