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A few of our recording studio backup singers

Kirtan Currents

Updated: May 12, 2011

Rumor has it that we're getting ready to record
a new Sanskrit prayer album, some mantra beat
singles, and another kirtan album. It's entirely
possible that this rumor may be true... but we're
going to deny it for now. We're going to keep
dreaming about it though, as there is truly
nothing more delicious than being in the
recording studio with a league of
incredible musicians!




Click on mini photos below to see larger photo--
We will continue to post more photos throughout the recording process!

Ragani's CD [Ancient Spirit] was released on August 14, 2006


For those of you
who REALLY want
to know what is
involved in CD
click here!


14.August.2006- Our new CD is released today! No kidding, and we've been up most of the night packing pre-orders to send off in the mail first thing tomorrow. Here they come!!

28.July.2006- A small snafu with reproduction, and we're back on track, with an even earlier release date!! :) It was scheduled for August 21, and now we're back at August 14th at the very latest for a release date. We can't wait to release this one!! :)
15.July.2006- The CD is off for replication! We'll get proofs very soon, and then it's just a matter of waiting for everything to be made and packaged... a guestimate of another 4 weeks or so. It won't be long now!! :)
29.June.2006- The mastering schedule was shifted to this week, as there was not sufficient available studio time. We worked all day yesterday with Trevor (Mastermind Productions) on the mastering process, and we'll be returning Friday complete (we hope!) the entire mastering of this next CD! We're sooooo wanting to send this CD off for glass-mastering (production) next week. The artwork is ready to go, and we already can't wait to get the CD back from production to share with all of you!
14.June.2006- We're scheduled to master this chant CD Wed, June 21st and Fri, June 23rd. We can't wait! Once that's completed, we'll be sending the brochure off for a print proof. When that is approved, our CD is ready to roll to the glass mastering press! It won't be long now... and we know that this kirtan CD is going to be well worth the long wait you all have endured! Yeah! :)
26.May.2006- All chants, except for one are now completely mixed and we have the final mix ready for mastering. YEAH!! We're so excited!! We'll spend another two weeks mixing this final chant, one additional week creating the radio mixes (those are the shorter versions for radioplay), and then we'll be headed with all our mixes for the mastering sessions to prepare it for duplication! The brochure is also now completed-- it's gorgeous! (thanks to Tia's incredible designs)-- and it's ready for the press. We're getting so close to the finish line now, and we're all so inspired!! After a year and a half in the making, this CD is going to be a powerhouse of chants! It's going to be the longest chant CD we've ever made-- somewhere around 79 minutes of chants-- it will just barely all fit onto a single CD!! Now all of you who have long driving and commutes... you'll have a CD to ride with!
23.April.2006- We're now in the full swing of the final mixing process at Dave Vartanian's studio. What a joy! This process involves pulling all the tracks together and adjusting all tracks and instruments as a whole. It's the final phase of work, as it involves loads of "tweaking"! We do the mixes at the start of the week, then we listen to the chants for the rest of the week, to tease out any troubles. Then we remix some more (that's the "tweaking" part!), and listen more. The entire process can take several weeks, and once completed, it's then ready for the mastering process (and that process doesn't take more than a week total). In the meantime, we have nearly completed the cover design and Tia (also one of our backup chanters) is nearing completion of the brochure (it's beautiful!). Unlike our other album, we'll have artwork and music completed about the same time (yeah!), and we'll be sending it off for manufacturing very soon! It won't be long now!! :)
26.March.2006- The Durga chant was completed in mid-March, and the final chant for this next album is being completed today! Phase Two is hours away from completion (woo hoo!), and I'm just tickled to be coming out of this editing/mixing cave after so many months! I've already placed a call to Dave Vartanian to schedule time to begin the final mix work, and after that we'll be headed to the mastering studio with Trevor. This is an exciting time! These chants are so full of love-- the musicians and chorus chanters poured such beautiful and heartfelt love into these chants... We'll be releasing this album as a commemorative CD for the 10th anniversary of the Mahasamadhi (leaving the body) of my guru, Swami Rama. And we're scheduling a retreat/tour to the Himalayan foothills in northern India this fall for the 10th anniversary celebration-- more information soon! And we'll be doing lots of kirtan there (of course!). Grace abounds!
23.February.2006- I'm spending 10-12 hours a day in my editing cave, as I'm just dying to get this next CD out to all of you! It's pretty intense, and I absolutely adore each of these chants! Now FOUR of the six chants that will be on the next CD are edited-- Woo hoo! The Hare Krishna Govinda chant and the Sri Krishna chant are finally completely edited. Only two more chants to go! And now that all three Krishna chants are completed, we have had no more electrical problems showing up here (see Oct 17 and Nov 1 entries below)...! The final weekend I spent completing the Krishna chants was the weekend of Feb 3rd. And that was also the week of our first Friday kirtan in Milwaukee... For those of you who were not at that kirtan-- that night was the grand finale to our electrical problems. It was that weekend that I was to complete the final Krishna chant, and just after packing the kirtan hall with some 350-400 people, all our power went out (in fact, the entire surrounding neighborhood lost all power). So there we were in the dark. Beautiful. The cow-herding rascal! So we chanted in the dark, to the surreal blue cell phone lights of the participants, and with a man-size flashlight behind us, courtesy of one of our participants. And what's more-- when the kirtan was over, we packed everything up in the dark, loaded the car, and then all the power came back on. Perfect. What a night!
05.February.2006- Good news! We will be releasing the single chant, Om Mani Padme Om, on March 3rd at our First Friday kirtan in Milwaukee! We recorded the chant in 2003, and we're finally releasing this upbeat powerhouse! It is a short chant (3:54), and because it's a bit different than our usual chants, we're releasing it on its own special album, all by itself. We'll be using its sales to help fund the final production phases for our forthcoming kirtan CD. Note: The hard copy CD (professionally glass-mastered, not CD-R) is a limited edition and will be available only at our Kirtan with Ragani events. You will be also able to download the chant by summer 2006 at your favorite digital download store (iTunes, etc.). It's a very happy Buddha chant! And we're happy to finally be releasing it! In the meantime, the production for the next kirtan CD is making very good progress-- 90% of the editing is completed, and soon 100% of my attention will be on the mixing phase! Yahoo!!
01.January.2006- It's going to be a glorious year for kirtan! I'll be spending the first three months hibernating in my editing/mixing cave in order to finish this next CD for the spring time. I'm so excited to share this next kirtan CD with you all! Three days ago we finished recording Holly's vocal harmonies, and I'll spend another week or so on the final vocals. There are only a few tracks left that need editing, and I'll then be onto the mixing phase! Jai Ma!
23.December.2005- Now TWO chants are completely finished and ready for mixing! Yeah! Only four more to go for this next CD and then I'm headed into DV's Studio for mixing. It's exciting! Holly will be coming over to do some final vocal harmonies with me, and I'll be editing and mixing here in my little cave for the next month or two. One other fun announcement-- we just completed a little chant that we'll be releasing as a single for digital download-- it will take another 4-6 months to be online (it will be announced in an e-mail newsletter once it hits iTunes). And for those of you who attend our live Milwaukee events, you'll be able to get a hard copy CD of this limited edition little chant. Something to tide everyone over until we get the kirtan CD completed!
30.November.2005- Still working long hours to complete the vocal tracks for this CD. The instrumentation is so gorgeous, it's not difficult to feel inspired! This past weekend I had a photoshoot with a movie producer and photographer, and we'll be using his photos on the cover of this next CD. He did a fabulous job. And what an inspiring photo session-- we spent the good part of a day working to get some decent photos, and toward the end of the day, just as we were feeling too tired to care anymore, it all started to fall into place! It reminded me of my days with Swamiji, as he'd often keep us up late and working for long hours, until fatigue would set in, and then the mystical blessings would happen! I'm sure that was his plot... So it was inspiring to feel the memories of my days with Swamiji as we did this photoshoot...
23.November.2005- The weekend of the 12th was declared a rest weekend after all-- I had one day of recording vocals, and then the power went out in the house/neighborhood where I was recording, due to a wind storm. So I had a mandatory vacation from recording! There was nothing to do but wait, so I spent the days walking and cleaning up leaves and sticks in the yard of the studio location. Alas, I'm back recording again, and with no plans over this holiday weekend, and with the blessings of the universe, we should make some progress this time! So once again I'm headed back into the cave of love with these recordings! Lead vocals and harmonies remain to be completed, and there is a little editing remaining. After that we're headed into the mixing phase!
01.November.2005- Good news!! The weekend of November 12th has now been cleared to complete many of the lead vocal tracks. And this past weekend was HIGHLY productive-- the Krishna Govinda chant is completely edited now and just needs mixing-- yeah! And I've nearly completed the editing for the Hare Krishna chant too-- just mixing left for that now one as well. Now I'm working on the editing of the Durga Durga chant. Yum! I haven't worked on that one for months! It's really beautiful, and it takes me right into the cave of the heart. I can't wait to record the lead vocals for these chants! And that Krishna chant is still giving us electrical challenges, as there was a burning smell coming from my computer (mother board got fried) and Dale's computer fans died, both within a week of each other, while I was again working on that Krishna chant. That beloved butter thief of Vrindavan!
17.October.2005- Been working entirely on the Krishna Govinda chant and it's nearly done-- it's definitely going to be a favorite for many of you. It's gorgeous! These days I'm getting up early for yoga/meditation, and then I jump right onto the computer for the editing work, taking breaks only for walks, stretching, eating, sleeping, groceries... the essentials. I'm living and dreaming these chants! The energy around these chants is so powerful and sacred and beautiful, and they're hard to resist-- I keep listening to them over and over again. However, I suspect that this powerful energy could also be what's wrecking havoc with the electrical currents in our apartment! A few days ago the heat lamp in our adjacent bathroom became super bright when we turned it on in morning, and shortly thereafter it blew out. Later that morning my hairdryer blew its coils. And yesterday the fire alarm next to my kirtan work station started beeping early in the morning (that was not fun, as we couldn't get it disconnected from our ceiling!) and continued until the apartment maintenance guy was able to come by at 9:15am... Yikes! This next CD might just blow the heart fuse of the world! Jai Ma! :)
08.October.2005- This next CD is going to be PACKED! It looks tight (like our last CD), and I think we'll just barely fit all six chants on the CD. So you'll definitely get plenty kirtan with this next album! And we're keeping our promise again-- "no filler songs". None! We're making each chant really special, with loads of love and shakti (energy). Each one should be its own masterpiece. And did I mention that we're going to be featuring both Tim Maher (lead drummer from our live Kirtan with Ragani events) and Girish Gambhira (tabla player from Krishna Das, Dave Stringer, Wah, etc.) on this next CD. Yum!
28.September.2005- Editing like crazy these days... Nearly finished with the little chant we're mixing at Dave Vartanian's studio (we don't know where we'll put that little chant, as it won't fit on this next CD!). And the latest news--> the editing and mixing of the prayer is DONE! That's good news! One down, five chants to go before I take them ALL into Dave's studio for a final mix. Having one done is really exciting-- and I'm so in love with this prayer. Terry filled it with loads of "ear candies", the chorus is so beautiful, and I keep listening to it over and over... just melting in my heart.
19.September.2005- Headed to Dave Vartanian's studio later today for a second go at the mixing of one of our chants, likely to be released as a single. We'll have to see. A welcome break from the editing today! The rest of the day is going to be spent editing... I'm in the cave of my studio, the cave of my heart, retreating from the world for the next four months to complete the editing of this next CD in preparation for the mixing process. I'll take my exit from here for local kirtan events though! See you there!
03.September.2005- Back to the editing process-- we've decided to extend the faster part of two of our chants, so we'll be adding some more recordings into those tracks. It will be worth the work! P.S. The BROTHER concert was loads of fun! They are really a super group of musicians-- go see the photos.
02.September.2005- Got a call from Hamish earlier this morning (he's from the group BROTHER- www.BrotherMusic.com), and he asked me to join them for their concert tonight at Miramar. So I'll be taking a break from all the editing later today to go join them... go see photos of the concert.
01.September.2005- Spent the entire weekend working on the Sri Krishna chants and all day yesterday editing the secret Sanskrit chant that we're working on. Did we say secret? It feels as though Krishna himself has been looking over my shoulder on these chants, guiding me, enticing me, and I admit that sometimes I just have to get up and dance for one round of the chant, just to test it out. :) Yesterday we made ghee (clarified butter), and I thought of Krishna as a child with his hands in the ghee jar... I'm only surprised that our jar of ghee is still here this morning...
28.August.2005- We're nearing the home stretch for the recording phase-- I will need to complete the lead vocals and work with Holly on the lead vocal harmonies. In the meantime, I'm editing tracks like crazy-- spending entire days with the tracks we've completed and listening, adjusting, and even mixing a bit. I take breaks to go for a walk and to eat and sleep. No real social life for me now. These chants are really starting to come together no, and they are inspiring to hear! I will probably be holed up in my studio for the next one or two months editing and mixing these tracks, and then I'm headed to Dave Vartanian's studio for the final mixing process. I can't wait!
22.August.2005- I actually woke up with a blister on my index finger this morning from playing the tanpura so continuously yesterday! It was worth it! Dave came and finished up some of the rhythm guitar tracks, and I spent the rest of the day laying down a few hand percussion tracks and backing everything up.

21.August.2005- Recorded tracks in different keys on Mike's beautiful tanpura. I asked to borrow it for this CD because which sounds so rich, so beautiful. And for an hour and a half I played the tanpura, re-tuning it in various keys for the different chants. My second finger survived the recordings, but my index finger is still sore! How I love the sound of the tanpura-- it takes me back to my days with Swamiji, sitting in his loft, singing sweetly into the nights with the tanpura going all along. Such an ancient sound, so full and rich. The sound of the tanpura is so irresistible, you natually want to sing when you hear the drone... And on my way out of the sacred studio land, I saw a deer and dove just in front of me... Sweet farewell...

19.August.2005- Upon entering the long driveway to the studio today, I encountered a flock of about eight doves-- they hovered about the entranceway as I drove through, and I felt their blessings. Such sacred land it is at the Blue Lotus Farm! Spent the morning with Tim, finishing up a few parts for the chants, and dancing in the studio to the recordings! Inspirations! When Tim left, I began the recordings for the lead vocals, and I'll spend the rest of the weekend working to complete the lead vocals for these chants (and maybe dancing a little between sessions too!). On Monday, Dave returns to finish a rhythm guitar track for one of the chants. It's nearing the finish line for the recording phase!
16.August.2005- We completed the flute tracks yesterday, and during the entire weekend of recording, we had one little cricket hiding in the corners of the room! That little cricket! It would "crrrikkk crrrrikkk" when we'd start to play music and you'd hear it for another beat or two after the music stopped, and then the cricket would be quiet. Ha! We couldn't find it no matter how we searched! But it seemed to like the Sri Krishna song, and we had a few good laughs from this cricket. And like Krishna himself, this cricket would tease us with his chirps! That little cricket! So if you hear a cricket on this next CD, it just might be from our little friend this past weekend...
15.August.2005- Today we'll be finishing our recordings of the flute parts with Holly that will be featured in the Sri Krishna chant for this next album. And next weekend we will be completing the final vocal tracks for this CD. We're nearing the finishing line for the recording process! Just a few things here and there to do over the next few weeks, and then we're headed into the editing/mixing phase of the production. That's where I hide away for two or three months and immerse myself into these chants! Such inspirations!
13.August.2005- Two solid days with Jahmes in the studio doing loads of beautiful hand percussion-- stuff like tambourine sticks, kartals, and a host of other world instruments I've never seen before. With such incredible taste and talent, Jahmes (that's pronounced "YAH-mes") has brought these chants to another level of inspiration. Wait till you hear them now!
09.August.2005- Edited and mixed all weekend and nearly completed the beginning prayer for our next CD. Yesterday while working on the prayer, two doves visited the porch right outside the sliding glass doors of our little home studio. So sweet! They nestled in on the rafters just outside the door, and facing us, they kept looking in as I was playing the prayer and bringing the entire song together at last. They must have come to hear the prayer! The song was playing and the doves were checking it all out. Blessed visitations! My husband, Dale, and I even pondered if we should open the glass door and let them in... Hmmm... But we decided to put out sunflower seeds for them instead...
01.August.2005- Recorded tambourine and shakers with Kaita yesterday-- these chants are really sounding splendid now! Today I worked all day with Paul Kuhn and his violin and cellocaster, an instrument he created and plays like a cello, a violin, and a guitar-- it's beautiful! Paul created such beautiful and melodious tracks... I've been transported to another realm in the heavens now, I'm certain. And I'm so grateful to all these incredible musicians who have participated in making these chants so special for our album. So now much of the work remains in the editing and mixing. And what a joy to watch these sacred chants unfolding... I spend my evenings editing/mixing and sneaking a listen to the chorus, to the melodious tracks. I can't wait to share them with all of you...
30.July.2005- Spent the day yesterday recording flute tracks with Holly, and dreaming of all the Krishna chants that will be on our next CD. Glorious! We will complete the remaining flute tracks on August 15th. What a blessing this work is! Sacred chants to fill the heart all life long... A big warm hug to John Boehme for letting us set up a studio in his home for several extended weekends! Such a blessed space-- thank you, John!
13.July.2005- The twelve chorus tracks from the past three weekends are sounding absolutely incredible! These chanters poured their hearts into these chants, and I can't stop listening to the tracks! Wow! Now I'm working hard and editing all the tracks recorded so far. What a joy! I could hardly call it "work", as I spend my days in pure bliss, listening to the chanting tracks over and over again. We have a few more weeks of recording, and then we're into the editing/mixing phase. It's really unbelievable that we're still on schedule with the production-- it's all unfolding so auspiciously and with so many blessings all around!
03.July.2005- Today was the final day of chorus recordings for our next CD! We finished early and recorded secret chant for a later CD-- and it was a day of celebration and love! Inspiration and joy surrounded us all morning and afternoon, and several people stayed around after the recordings to swim in the beautiful pond and enjoy the sacred land of the Blue Lotus Farm. Lots of sunshine all day... I am remembering the warm summer days with my guru, and my heart is full... Click here to see more photos!
02.July.2005- What a lovely day for our final chorus recordings... lovely blue skies! It was our largest chorus group yet, and everyone poured their love and hearts into these chants-- such an inspiration! It's really incredible to sit in front of these choruses and to hear all their voices blending together so beautifully. I'm so honored to be doing this work, and I pray that what we are doing may be of service to the sacred tradition of the masters. I pray that anyone who may come to hear these chants be filled with love, be filled with the dreams of the great masters of all traditions. That is my heartfelt prayer. Click here to see more photos!
01.July.2005- Spent the afternoon working with Dave on the production of his kirtan movie, and went to the Bliffert's Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center in the afternoon to set up our studio for tomorrow's final chorus recording session. Finished setting up at the farm house-- the sun was still out this evening until late-- and walked through the grounds, picking a few fresh mulberries to eat. Yum!! When I was in the field, nibbling a few last berries from the sunny mulberry tree, I heard a rustle in the tall field grass several feet away. I went to investigate what creature it might be, and the creature sprung into the air. It was the giant Horned Owl! What an incredible sight-- such power! The incredible spread of its wings and the silent flight into the treetops took my breath away. And it was still daylight! I feel so honored and privileged to be here on this sacred land recording these sacred chants...
26.June.2005- Our final day in the studio with the second chorus group, and the tracks are sounding really spectacular now! So many beautiful voices in these chants now! My heart is so full to have so many people participating in the chants on these CD's, and I can't wait to share these chants with all of you! It was just an incredible weekend of joy and love, and I'm looking forward to our final chorus recordings to take place next weekend. Hurrah! Click here to see more photos!
25.June.2005- The second chorus group came to the beautiful sacred land of the Bliffert's Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center-- what a lovely group! This second chorus group created absolutely gorgeous layers for our next two CD's and we had time to spare in the end. It was a hot summer weekend (feels like August!), and we all cooked a little in the sun during lunch. I had brought grapes to share, but they got so hot, I think they melted! Click here to see more photos!
19.June.2005- The last day of recording with the first chorus group-- they really came together today for these tracks. Hearing them singing with each other, in the fullness of the HeartSpace studio was real bliss! There the chorus was on one side, and beside us all was the lovely river. What an incredible weekend it was! I'll remember these days for a lifetime... such a treasure they are. Next weekend the second chorus group comes to record with us... Click here to see more chorus photos!
18.June.2005- Today the first chorus group came to the lovely HeartSpace in Thiensville, WI and recorded tracks for the chants on our next CD. They were lovely! They all did such superb work with these tracks! There is such joy in my heart to watch it all coming together, and hearing the chorus tracks brought such a feeling of fullness to my heart. This beautiful studio space was right on the river, and it reminded me of being back at my guru's ashram in Rishikesh (India), which was right on the bank of the Ganga (Ganges) River. Click here to see more chorus photos!
16.June.2005- This weekend we begin the chorus recordings, which will last for three entire weekends. This is an exciting time for me-- I really enjoy working with the chorus and watching it all start to come together!
12.June.2005- Josh did some amazing work with the sitar... such beautiful sounds of India! Josh flew in from New York City (after a six hour flight delay, he finally made it!), and we spent his time here recording sitar tracks and remembering our days together at the Maha Kumbha Mela in India in 2001 and our visits with Tapasvi Baba. Josh's sitar tracks were gorgeous! Those sounds took me back to the summer days with my guru, to sitting and listening to this music on the floor of his little home... such love! The film producer also stopped by this weekend and captured some great images of Josh playing his sitar (he owns three!), and I lounged in the chair... full of memories of my years with my guru. The beautiful sounds of the sitar soothed me into a restful sleep...
05.June.2005- Chorus auditions took place today and continue through Tuesday evening. We're getting ready to start the chorus recordings on June 18th. And Josh flies in from New York this weekend to record sitar for the next album!
28.May.2005- Spent the past two days completing the harmonium tracks. Added a few shakers, kartals and tambourine parts as well. Last Wednesday Tim came to record a few last percussion pieces-- those drum tracks are sounding danceable! And Terry is coming tomorrow for a few last pieces of the guitar tracks. Mmmm... was driving home Friday night and felt Swamiji's presence in the car seat next to me. I even glanced to see if he was really there, as it felt so very real. Good things are coming for these next CD's... they are so full of love. And I've fallen in love with these chants all over again... and again....
20.May.2005- Stayed up until 4am last night getting all the pictures editing and formatted from the past two months in order to share them here with all of you! I figured if I waited until summer to do all the rest of them, I'd have to stay up for a week straight! So much good stuff is happening-- check out the photos below... we'll certainly be adding more as the recording progresses! Next week Tim comes back for a few more additional djembe parts, and we'll have Jahmes Tony Finlayson recording on Friday! I'm so excited to be recording with Jahmes-- he's such an incredible percussionist, and he'll be focusing on the "ear candy" percussion on these next CD's. Yum Yum!
18.May.2005- Packed up last Sunday and came home from the studio. At home with all the equipment again, and after several (more!) days of computer hardware AND software troubles (the hard drive plug AND extensions problems!), looks like we're back in business again for the next round of editing and work. Poor computer!
15.May.2005- Another incredible day of studio work with Terry! He's created such delicious tracks for our kirtan CD, and I'm truly grateful for the incredible love he poured into these next two albums. I can't wait to share them with you! The film producer also stopped by today to get footage of Terry's work for the upcoming kirtan documentary film. They are still working on the movie-- for more on the movie, click here.
14.May.2005- Spent the day at the farm recording studio alone today, editing tracks and trying to figure out why my computer is having some troubles again... poor computer! It can hardly take all this chant energy! In the meantime, the farm has really been turning green in the past few weeks! Everything is starting to bud and bloom-- it's about time! Just as I was about to leave, I also saw a flock of five turkeys in the back yard. One of them was the biggest turkey I've ever seen-- it looked like the Thanksgiving turkey from our coloring books in grade school! It had such beautiful colors and it was HUGE! So many blessings here on this sacred land!
13.May.2005- Just spent the entire past two days with Terry Vittone in the recording studio-- what an absolute pleasure! He created incredibly beautiful tracks with his resonator and lap steel guitars. Vintage instruments, powerful sounds. Wow! I nearly melted into the ethers of bliss with all of these beautiful melodies! Really... I can't imagine doing anything better with my time here on earth. This music, these chants are so full of love and inspiration, so heartfelt. These musicians are incredible!
4.May.2005- Finished recording rhythm guitar tracks with Dave this past weekend. He did a great job-- these tracks really move the chants! These chants are sounding so delicious! After finishing with Dave, the computer began to have more troubles, so I've had to stop the editing process for now until we figure out what the trouble is. Dave Vartanian-- what a gem!-- is testing it to find out what may be wrong with it so that we can continue with the recordings. Terry comes this next week to lay down the lead guitar tracks, and I can't wait!! I'm just having the time of my life with these recordings. So rich and beautiful...
21.April.2005- After three days of recording the tabla tracks for our next kirtan CD, Girish returned to Los Angeles yesterday evening. He left us with such artful, gorgeous tabla tracks, and a few very tasty kartal (finger cymbal) tracks too! I can't wait to feature him on this next CD! I'll be spending the next 10 days editing all the tracks that have been recorded thus far, and preparing to start with the guitar tracks. Need to find a pair of those Neumann KM-184 mics again...
19. April. 2005- Day two in the studio with Girish-- I'm in bliss! It's such a treat to be spending this time with him, and we've been doing loads of work with plenty of laughter in between! He's said that one of these months (maybe next summer?) he'll come to the midwest and join us for a night at our first Friday kirtan! I'm already dreaming of that night! We also had a visit today from Freddy Bliffert (aka "Bongo"), who came to the farm today on his big John Deere during our recording. Girish and I spent part of the afternoon helping Fred to get his tractor hitched up so he can repair the wheel. I'm so grateful to the Blifferts for allowing me to recording our kirtan albums here at their sacred farm house!

18. April. 2005- WOW! I've just spent the entire day in the recording studio with Girish, recording the tabla tracks for our next CD. He is creating such beautiful textures and rhythms! Wow! We'll be featuring Girish (and Tim) on this next CD, and for good reason! Girish's work is as beautiful to watch as it is to hear-- and if you've ever seen him perform publicly on tablas, you'll know just what I mean. And he's no different in the studio. It's just beautiful! What an artist!

16. April. 2005- Completed the final tracks of bass with Mike yesterday-- what great tracks! Wow! We were surrounded by sunshine, inside and out, and the blessings of this chant music are filling our lives... Everyday is such a miracle! And amidst all of this, my computer is having its troubles... Last night I spent the entire evening trying to figure out why the computer is freezing and crashing again-- it seems the software can hardly take all this chant energy! So I'll spend the weekend clearing everything out and reinstalling the software and checking for extensions conflicts... Labor of love! Poor computer-- there's so much love in these chants, it's losing its computer mind! Alas, a clean install is likely the only choice at this point, as Girish is here and we'll be recording his tabla tracks starting this Monday. That will be an incredible experience to have him in the studio with us once again!
11. April. 2005- Was up until midnight (way past my bedtime!) last night editing some of the tracks. I'm falling in love with all of these chants all over again. I've definitely fallen in love with Durga Durga, and I confess that I was playing parts of it over and over and over again for hours last night. Such bliss in the wee hours of the night to feel the energy of this chant carry me into the heart, to a place where I'm with Swamiji once again. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude to have been given the opportunity to do these next CD's. Something beautiful is happening here...
07. April. 2005- Got up really early to return to the sacred Blue Lotus Farm and set up a recording studio in time for Mike's arrival to begin recording more tracks at 9am. An entire day of recording with Mike on his bass! I'm truly in bliss! It was mid-afternoon when Mike went home, and I headed out into the sunshine to relax a bit. And just as I stepped out onto the brick walkway, I heard a very soft "ffffftt fffft ffffft" sound and caught the sight of an enormous winged creature flying low and steady just across the field in front of me. It was a great horned owl! What an incredible vision to receive-- it's wingspan was just enormous! Such a blessed space this place is...
29. March. 2005- Back home from the retreat in the woods. For the rest of my life I will forever remember those days in the woods meditation, contemplating and working on these CD's. What a blessing-- my heart is so full! I've moved the studio back into my home and I'm now working on editing the tracks we recorded. I'll be scheduling more recording sessions soon with Mike on fretless bass, and then next will be Terry Vittone and Dave Blessum on guitar and other stringed instruments. I love this process! Even with just the drums and bass right now, these chants are really sounding fabulous! I'm in kirtan heaven! I'm even feeling a little guilty when I listen to them at night because all of you cannot yet listen too. Ah, and still I listen... and like the last CD, I feel something special happening again, such powerful love and grace in all of these chants.
26.March. 2005- Now the work of editing begins for me! All of the tracks must be prepared for the mixing process and each one can take as much as an entire day or two of work. This is the part of the production that really requires time and attention to detail. So I pray for divine assistance, that it may go smoothly and easily, that I may do justice to the tracks...
- 25.March.2005- Mike came and recorded the fretless bass for two songs and what bliss! He is such an incredible artist! And his fretless bass is so beautifully designed for the sliding notes and melodies of these chants. No matter what he's playing, Mike offers such heartfelt and masterful creations. His friend and former bandmate, Jonathan Zarov once said "give him a pineapple and he'll play it like nobody else"-- so true! I'm so glad to have him back in the studio! I keep listening to these tracks over and over again (guess that's why I like repetitive chants, eh?!), and I'm in my little kirtan hog heaven. That fretless bass must be one of my absolute favorite sounds... And just wait 'til you hear what he did for THIS album! Yum Yum Yum!! :)
--- 24.March.2005- Tim finished recording yesterday, and blew my socks off! He not only completed the first album of tracks, but also the second one too-- and such incredible rhythms! We had such fun and did so much work. Saw the deer and wild turkeys, and took a few photos (these are some of them). There is so much grace all around, and I'm so grateful to be watching this entire process happening all around me! What a blessing!
22.March.2005- Dreamed a very long dream that Swamiji put me in his lap and gave me such love and blessings and I still feel them now... was I awake or dreaming? He used to say that when I dreamed of him he was actually there, and I felt that was true during the night. I feel as though he is all around these days, watching me, guiding me, whispering into my ear... Today Dave (the producer from the kirtan movie pictured here) also came to capture some footage of this retreat, the preproduction work, and of Tim recording. This is incredible! Now you'll be seeing the ACTUAL footage of our recording for this CD in the movie! It was a day of fun, blessing and lots of inspirations!
- 21.March.2005- Tim came to record today-- what incredible tracks he did! Flawless and glorious drum performances captured again for our next CD's! I can't wait to feature him on this next CD-- he is such a talented musician, and I feel privileged to be recording with him again. At one point during the recording, I felt Swamiji on my right (I put out a special sofa chair for him!), watching and rocking to the whole process. So there I was, Swamiji on the right and Tim playing flawlessly on my left... and I was right in the middle of it all! I felt such a beautiful feeling with it all swirling around me, so inspired to feel it all happening once again. And I realized that I'm only here to supervise the production of this next CD, that Swamiji is going to do this album again, as he did in the first one. I am eternally grateful to be doing this work and watching it all happening before me!
- 20.March.2005- DONE with pre-production for the NEXT THREE CD's!!! This is really unbelievable, as I'd only expected to do at least 1/2 of just the first CD. Grace of the tradition! Things have been set into motion, and I'm going to soar with them... So many times these days it feels as though someone is whispering into my ear... sweet love whispers! Such guidance! So now we can start recording early! I've invited Tim to come to the retreat home, and he's going to begin the recording process with me tomorrow. Woo hoo! I'm so excited he'll be coming, and I can't wait to have each of these musicians back in the studio with me! So Tim is on spring break (another blessing!) so he can come record with me for three days straight! I'm hoping we'll complete the first album of drum tracks! :)

- 19.March.2005- Snowed in! Four inches of snow yesterday and another four today! A family of seven deer came by this morning to nibble on buried goodies... and we're all buried in the snow here. Beautiful white everywhere...
17.March.2005- Making incredible progress in laying out our next CD-- in fact, I've decided to lay out the next three albums (!), as things feel so full of grace at this time. I never even DREAMED that I would get this much done! Grace of the tradition of masters all around! I don't expect I'll see a large snake in the kitchen (as I did during my 2002 preproduction retreat!), but I feel their blessings all around, and I really feel that they are working right through me, that I'm hardly doing anything at all and yet so much is being done. What a beautiful feeling-- to be used by the masters! I'm just beside myself with inspiration, and watching all of this unfold I have this uncanny feeling that something great is happening here, and I'm so grateful for this time alone in the woods.
16.March.2005- So yesterday was a little warmer out-- the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. Beautiful day! Starting to feel like spring! And alas, from out of nowhere, a new bumper crop of flies began to emerge from every corner of the outdoors and indoors! A low buzz of wings surrounded me as I sat on the brick patio trying to eat my pea soup and toast. How can there be so many flies? Wasn't it just a frozen tundra here a few days ago? Where were they all coming from? Well, if I didn't think much of the day flies, by night time, the largest of the flies seemed to find their way into my bedroom and every hour or so another fly or two would bang itself against the window (trying to get to the moonlight?) in some bizarre kind of idiocy. So there I am, I'm lying in bed, barely sleeping all night, and then I remember that in the spring Swamiji's apartment used to be so full of flies too, as though out of thin air. I suppose I should have found the humor of that, but that did not occur to me until later. And for whatever reason, this was the only night I was tortured by the flies!

-- 13.March.2005- Began the 2-week retreat alone in the woods at the beautiful family farmhouse (Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat) of Freddy & The Freeloaders. Their family was so generous to give me this time alone here-- and what a beautiful place it is! Deer, doves, wild turkeys, coyote, and lots of cranes calling in the distance... so peaceful and such beautiful energy. This place really supports the energy of dreams... Lots of meditation, walks in the woods and work on the preproduction aspect of this next CD, organizing the album, laying out the chants, and really creating the feel for the entire CD. I expect to spend hours (if not days) on every chant, contemplating its essence and capturing the basic structure. I am praying for guidance from the tradition of masters. May they be present for this entire CD creation process.

10.March.2005- I'm headed to the pre-production retreat to start our next kirtan CD! Nearly two weeks of meditation, prayer, walks in the woods, and of course a TON of work to begin laying out what will be the chants on our next CD! After this period, the actual recording sessions begin and we're rolling!! :)
23.February.2005- Getting ready for the pre-production phase of the next CD. I'll be spending 2 weeks alone in retreat at the wilderness farmhouse in mid-March for plenty of reflection, meditation, prayer and hard work! During this time, the scratch tracks (basic chant outlines) will be created for the entire recording process. I can't wait to get back into the studio with these musicians!! :)
09.January.2005- Girish's plane tickets are booked! And we're ON to start production for our next CD on March 9th. We can't wait!


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