Jai Uttal - world music pioneer at Bloom 2015

We are very excited to announce that Jai Uttal will be performing and sharing a workshop at BLOOM 2015. He will be playing before our keynote speaker on Saturday evening.  Imagine opening yourself up with an interactive Kirtan/Concert with Jai and then this followed by a talk by a very special guest speaker... followed by the BLOOM Opening Gala. Its going to be one full day that will leave you completely inspired. On Sunday, Jai will be sharing a talk about the Ramayan which will give you such a deep understanding and appreciation of Bhakti Yoga.

Jai Uttal is a pioneer in the world music community. His eclectic East-meets-West sound has put his music at the forefront of the world fusion movement. Jai Uttal's musical roots embrace a rich variety of cultures and traditions that span the globe and the centuries. From the hillbilly music of the Appalachian mountains to the passionate strains of Bengali street singers, from the haunting rhythms and melodies of ancient India to contemporary electric rock sounds, Jai's music distills the essence of diverse musical forms. His best-selling CDs include Shiva Station, Nectar and Mondo Rama.

Q: As a musician you draw mainly from the spiritual tradition of Bhakti Yoga. How do you feel that music aids in the healing process?

Jai Uttal: There are so many levels. I think the healing process stems from the heart, stems from love and understanding, and from permission to feel everything.

Jai Uttal

Music that helps that process of feeling is healing music. Particularly, it's music that gives you a feeling of your own heart, and at the same time gives you a perspective of the vastness of the universe. To me, that's another phase of healing. Of course, prayer is a big part of healing; music that incorporates prayer will also lead to healing. Then there is the whole field of Sound Healing, which doesn't even deal with the emotional body so to speak, but with the way that some sound can adjust the molecules in the body and bring things more into harmony. I haven't gotten deeply into that with my own music, although I have studied it quite a bit. With my own records I am dealing a bit more with dance music and rock elements, so it doesn't always have that aspect. Then there is the healing quality of the voice, which I feel my music is focused on more and more.

The Share Guide: What you do when you perform at a concert or any sort of kirtan is bring people together, which is a healing force in the community.

Jai Uttal: Yes. The majority of what I do is kirtans, which turn into evenings of group communal singing. That is an amazing process to watch. It comes from ancient days in India where people would gather and channel their prayers together.

The Share Guide: To be clear, since all of our readers may not know as much of the Eastern words as you and me, kirtans are Indian chanting. When I visited your website, I learned that as well as doing big performances, you offer smaller kirtans at meditation centers and so forth. It may be the same kind of music, but two styles of outlets.

Jai Uttal: That's right. Recently I have been leading kirtans at a lot of yoga schools and meditation centers around the country, and around the world actually. Some of these appearances are basically leading a group in singing chants, and some are more workshop oriented, where I give a background talk and we share our thoughts and feelings and tell stories in this tradition. I think people are really opening up to this practice. The exotic aspect is kind of cool at first, but when it can become part of one's daily life, that's when it really clicks into a real transformational healing practice. The Share Guide: I've read that mantras are ancient words, sometimes called the primordial language of the Gods, so it seems like through chanting we are bringing spiritual energy into the earth plane--and into our own lives.

Jai Uttal: I totally agree with you. In an evening of kirtan, our energy in the group becomes bigger and bigger, and expands into past and present, above and below. At the same time, divine energy comes through us and spreads on the earth. I wish more and more people would do this in different ways, because we need it now.

Bloom 2015Robin Mohar