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“Press Play: Jai Uttal’s ‘Queen of Hearts’” - Marin Independent Journal

“Queen of Hearts” continues the inspired artistic leap that Jai Uttal, a pioneer of world music, first made with his delightful “Thunder Love” album in 2009, when he blended kirtan yoga chanting with Brazilian music.

This time the master San Anselmo musician-singer-composer takes traditional call-and-response kirtan and Brazilian samba and throws reggae and ska into the mix.

It’s a joyous concoction that announces itself with the very opening track, “Thief of Hearts” (Govinda, Govinda, Gopala). Who can resist devotional music with a horn arrangements, by Uttal and Jeff Cressman, worthy of Tower of Power?

A reggae fan since he was a teenager, Uttal expressed that influence in some of the groundbreaking music he made in the ’90s with his Pagan Love Orchestra, one of the first world music groups to introduce an East-meets-West sound to American audiences.

He’s been wanting to revisit reggae ever since, and says the eight tunes on “Queen of Hearts,” recorded at Old Bull studio in San Anselmo with co-producer by longtime collaborator Ben Leinbach, have been percolating inside him for years.

You can literally hear that percolation in the techno opening of “Ocean of Milk,” which breaks into an irresistible reggae groove as Uttal trades lines in Sanskrit with a breathy all-female backup chorus.

On the ethereal “Vishnu’s Dream,” he wraps his soulful voice in the warm harmony vocals of the exotic Tina Malia, a veteran of his Pagan Love Orchestra. Uttal studied under the great Ali Akbar Khan, which gives him hard-earned credibility. And if listeners notice an authenticity in the always excellent musicianship on “Queen of Hearts,” it’s no accident.

On the smooth Brazilian “Hari’s Rapture,” for example, Uttal had the good sense to anchor the track with the rhythmic nylon-string guitar work of Brazilian-born Jose Neto, one of Marin’s finest players. It’s one of many bright spots on a CD full of light.

Listen and Buy: “Queen of Hearts,” Jai Uttal, Nutone Music, www.jaiuttal.com/queenofhearts/; $14.98

Read the original article here.

CD Release/Bhakti Dance Party for “Queen of Hearts”

Hey there, friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a newsletter. So sorry if any of you have felt
neglected. Wow, three CDs in a year! I think I must be crazy. But I’m really happy with
all of them, and they’re all so different. First there was Bhakti Bazaar with Ben
Leinbach, then Queen of Hearts, and coming in October, Kirtan Kids!

Have you guys heard Queen? It’s often difficult for me to listen to my own music till
many months later but I’ve been listening to Queen Of Hearts almost everyday and it’s
a total joy. The reggae and ska grooves just wake me up and make me want to dance in
my car, which can be a bit dangerous… Anyway, I haven’t done a CD release party for
any of my CDs for quite a long time but I’ve decided to do one for the Queen! But what
should it be? After so many years of interactive Kirtan, the idea of a ‘concert’, where
there are ‘listeners’ and ‘musicians’ and no meeting between the two, is kind of boring.
So for at least one gig, on September 14th, I’ve created ‘the Queen Of Hearts
an ecstatic Reggae-Samba-Kirtan band, for your listening, singing and
dancing pleasure. And most of all, to glorify the true Queen Of Hearts, Srimati
Radharani, the bestower of Divine Love.

So come join us for a Bhakti Dance Party at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. The band will be big and loud, kind of a first cousin to the late, great Pagan Love Orchestra, and, Goddess-willing, we’ll be granted a few moments of grace in the heavenly abode of RADHE SHYAM!!!!!

Come one come all!!!!!!

Here’s the band:

Jai Uttal - harmonium, guitar, vocals
Jose Neto - electric nylon string guitar
Ben Leinbach - keys and percussion
Vishwambhar Sheth - Mridanga
Krsna Kishore - kartals and flute
Daniel Paul - tablas, vocals, harmonica
Prajna Vieira - vocals
Sandy Cressman - vocals
Tina Malia - vocals
Mark Gorman - bass
Peter Apfelbaum - drums and sax

Sounds like super fun, doesn’t it?

Lots of love,

‎’Queen Of Hearts’ - review by Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa)

Jai Uttal has done it again! Though “Shiva Station” has long been among my favorite Kirtan/Devotional CDs — and I doubted that he could ever surpass it — “Queen of Hearts,” a masterful, visionary work that shows both musical maturity and spiritual depth, vibrates constantly in my home (and my heart). Touted as “a unique blend of reggae, ska, and samba rhythms, ” which it definitely is, I also feel shades of Jimi Hendrix, elements of jazz-fusion, and glimpses of Ali Akbar Khan.

Jai Uttal, unlike many other recording artists producing kirtan CDs in the modern Yoga community, has a certain musicality that comes through in his work. Virtuoso musicianship — both his and that of his other well-chosen associates — is evident throughout, on every song. Moreover, his music has a certain funkiness borne of passion (rajas), as opposed to the more self-consciously solemn, mellow and goodie-goodie (sattva) sensibility found on so many other kirtan CDs today. The result is a distinct liveliness, a vibrancy, that grabs you and virtually transports you to that sublime world known as Vaikuntha, where dynamic spirituality reigns supreme, and, more, to Vrindavan, where every word is a song and every step is a dance.

This lively, transcendent passion is evident from the very first track of the new CD, which begins with an ode to Lord Krishna, the bonzer blue flautist of bhakti — that is to say, the Original Personality of Godhead.

Right from the get-go, Jai glorifies Him with pronounced intensity and deliberateness, bringing to mind the Bauls he so admires. This opening song, called “Thief of Hearts,” consists of a litany of Krishna’s names, effectively evoking that beautiful rascal divinity who will, indeed, steal your heart — if you let Him. “Thief of Hearts” is inextricably related to “Queen of Hearts,” the title track, which is about Sri Radha, Krishna’s entirely lovable consort and the main protagonist on this CD.

It is after this — on the second track, “Ocean of Milk” — that Jimi’s spirit emerges in full force, with guitar tones reminiscent of “Axis: Bold as Love.” Jai here gives us another helping of Krishna’s names, this time associating Him with Narayana (Vishnu). In Epic and Puranic circles, this association with the four-armed form of the Divine serves to highlight Krishna’s transcendental status — He is not just a darling cowherd boy but God Himself, the Soul of souls, our source, our essence, our Heart of hearts.

Jai then takes us to “Lanka Burning,” celebrating Krishna in the form of Rama, the spiritual archer — “Sita-Rama, Sita Rama, Sita Rama.” What more needs to be said? Sita, the Divine Moiety of Rama, the counterpart, the better half — She is to Him what Radha is to Krishna. Two sides of the Supreme. The complete whole — male and female absolute, lovingly acknowledged in all their fullness. No sexism here!

“Queen of Hearts” is next, sauntering in rather inconspicuously. But it soon explodes with Jai’s vivacious, dynamic, and electrifying mood, his signature style, bringing us head-on into glorification of Sri Radha and Her relationship with Krishna. Radhe Radhe bolo Radhe, Shyam Shyam Shyam Shyam — “Chant the names of Radha and Krishna [Shyam]!!” All with delicious blues-inflected harp — an eloquent touch.

Time to mellow out: “Hari’s Rapture” has elements of smooth jazz, with beautiful nylon-string guitar and mellisonant flute. Jose Neto’s sensitive guitar solo perfectly complements the mood of this piece, as does Manose Singh’s gentle flute work. “Radha-ramana Haribol” The song asks us to chant the names of Radha-ramana, bringing to mind, for those who know the inner meaning, the Deities of Vrindavan (Vraja). “Jai Radhe.” With this tune, praise of Srimati Radharani is never far from one’s mind and heart.

“Govinda Jaya Jaya,” the next piece, carries on with exaltation of Radha-ramana, the Deities of Vraja. “Radha-ramana” literally refers to the “lover of Radha,” who is obviously Krishna. Jai conveys this with emotion and sensitivity; he takes a traditional tune and makes it his own, with his characteristic devotion and feeling.

The rhapsodic truth of Sri Radha would be incomplete without the Maha-mantra, and so Jai chants: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, meaning, “O Lord, O Divine Energy of the Lord! Please engage me in Your service.” More literally, the mantra is in the vocative, beseeching Sri Radha for divine love, a selfless prayer to the Feminine Divine, asking for nothing more than to live a life of devotion. The mantra asks — almost demands — that She show special mercy, that She engage us in Krishna’s service. This is the seventh song on Jai’s CD, and he aptly calls it “Last Breath,” which is enticing: May we all have this mantra on our lips as we breathe our last.

As a postscript, the CD ends with “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya,” a beautiful arrangement of a traditional tune. The meaning of this mantra is, basically, “Prostration, obeisance, to Bhagavan Vasudeva [Krishna].” Jai combines this with the Maha-mantra in a particularly creative way, showing his depth as a true artist, completing the CD with angelic singing and moody spirituality. As I play the disk yet again, I marvel at his singing. That voice. What can I say? Jai’s voice is a gift from above. Nuff said.

Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa) is an initiated disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He is also founding editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies and associate editor of Back to Godhead magazine. In addition, he has published twenty-one books in numerous languages, including Krishna’s Song: A New Look at the Bhagavad Gita (Praeger, 2007); Essential Hinduism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008); and The Yoga of Kirtan: Conversations on the Sacred Art of Chanting (FOLK Books, 2008).

New album “Queen of Hearts”: Special Pre-Order Packages

Dear friends,

Making an album is a journey across mountains and valleys of moods and emotions. Sometimes the sessions are pure flow, joyful, easy and inspired. And, of course, on other days the creative process is like pulling hairs. Agonizing, depressing, and seemingly impossible. I always see my weaknesses as a musician and, on the other side of the coin, how ridiculously self-critical I am. And sometimes I’m amazed and inspired by my own seemingly endless well of inspiration. Where does it come from? Well, I have no question about that. It’s a direct gift from my Guru…. Hopefully, through it all, I can learn and grow as a musician, but more importantly as a human being crawling along the path of spirit and love.

Anyway, just like every album seems to have its own flavor, the process of making the albums is also quite different from one to the other. And the weird part is that the final ‘product’ doesn’t always seem to reflect the moods that went into making it. Some albums that were torturous to create sound sweet and joyful, while some of the ones that were super easy sound kind of tortured. At least to my ‘unbiased’ ears.

To read more, visit the special Queen of Hearts page where you can listen, pre-order the album, watch behind-the-scenes videos, read stories, and more.

May the blessings of the Queen of Hearts rain down upon us all!!!!!

P.S. To celebrate the Queen of Hearts release, I’ll be playing at Yoshi’s in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 14 … with a reggae-kirtan band!!! More details to come.

Queen of Hearts Pre-Order

• Immediate “Thief Of Hearts” MP3 download
Queen of Hearts album download delivered July 26
Queen Of Hearts CD in Digipak

Buy Now


Queen of Hearts Package: CD + MP3 + T-shirt or Tank

T-Shirt Package

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Tank Package

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• Immediate “Thief Of Hearts” MP3 download
Queen of Hearts album download delivered July 26
Queen Of Hearts CD in Digipak
•  Unisex Queen of Hearts Alternative Apparel Organic Crew T-shirt or Women’s Queen of Hearts American Apparel Baby Ribbed Tank

Buy Now


Jai featured in Common Ground magazine

The following article was featured in the June 2011 issue of Common Ground. You can browse the entire issue here.

Jai Uttal’s Unusual Journey

Despair, Dedication, Devotion

by Prajna Vieira

Jai Uttal is stirring a pot of chai in the kitchen of his San Anselmo apartment. Hariprasad Chaurasia plays softly in the background as he hands me a mug and we sit to talk. I secretly fret about the article I am here to interview him for—I really want to do him justice. He’s a Grammy-nominated world music icon whose work has inspired and uplifted so many, yet he struggled for years with drug addiction, anxiety, and deep insecurity. Today, Jai is at the top of his game, having released two critically acclaimed albums (Thunder Love and Bhakti Bazaar, both coproduced with longtime collaborator Ben Leinbach) in the last two years, with two more (one reggae kirtan and one kids kirtan) in the vault for summer release. He’s also my mentor.

For the past year and eight months, I’ve sat at Jai’s side as his backup singer, riding the waves of his spontaneous creativity and devotional longing. From tiny local yoga studios to huge festival stages in South America, with crowds ranging from several dozen to several thousand, I’ve enjoyed the best seat in the house. Jai was among the first few artists who pioneered the Western kirtan movement decades ago. Nowadays, it’s a worldwide phenomenon, with festivals popping up everywhere and a steady stream of emerging new artists. In person, Jai is ebullient, clever, and a great storyteller, but he’s also very private and sometimes shy. His level of musicianship is astonishing, flowing gracefully between classical Indian ragas and Appalachian hillbilly music, Brazilian samba, reggae, and blues. He sings with an intense emotional nakedness that is rare in the genre, where so many artists carefully craft a polite aura of dreamy bliss.

Awakening Music

Jai’s father was a record company exec who specialized in R&B, pop, and soul. Born Douglas Uttal, Jai grew up in New York City and started piano lessons at age 7, where something undoubtedly went wrong. “I don’t remember much of my childhood. There’s a big defense thing that blocks out a lot. Something about lessons with my music teacher … even to think about it I get a chill. I quit after a couple of years and didn’t want anything to do with music. I really reacted to it badly. I don’t know what it was, I don’t have any memory of it. Whenever I think back there I get this twisted feeling in my stomach.” A few years later Jai would take up the banjo with teachers he adored. Playing the banjo gave him a sense of peace, and he grew to love “old-timey music, pre-bluegrass,” translating hours of obscure fiddle music to the banjo. He was accepted into the High School of Music and Art, where he studied percussion. “I did well in academics, but the irony was that I did really poorly in music. I failed composition. Meanwhile, I was madly into the Beatles, madly into Jimi Hendrix. So banjo playing inched back and was replaced by electric guitar. I started listening to Ali Akbar Khan (known to many as “Khansahib”) and jamming along with my guitar… probably so horribly,” he laughs, cringing a little. 

Jai enrolled at Reed College in Portland, where he attended a concert of Ali Akbar Khan. He was high on mescaline, and describes the performance as “totally, totally life-altering.” Three months later he moved to the Bay Area and began studying the sarod with Khansahib, who “insisted that everyone there study vocal music, even the tabla players,” Jai recalls. “It’s a necessity you know, he insists. So at first I was just doing it because he was telling me to. Before that, I wasn’t singing at all.” “Really?” I ask. I’m amazed that one of the most expressive vocalists I know of wasn’t singing from day one. “Did you even know that you had a good singing voice?” Jai cracks up. He has a great laugh. “I didn’t have a good singing voice!” “It was a total mystery to you?” “No, it wasn’t a mystery. I was very clear that I was not a singer, that I could not be a singer, and that I’d better not even think about being a singer! As you know, singing is probably the most close to the core, and I didn’t even want to get near that core. I hadn’t sung my whole life, and I’d been told not to sing, that my voice wasn’t good. I had a million reasons not to sing, but Khansahib made us. Then I remember one time practicing the raga in my room. I started singing, and I touched something in me that was so primordial and so … shalom. Do you know that shalom means ‘wholeness,’ not just ‘peace’? It was so whole, and that triggered a process which took many years to manifest. It was around 1970, before I went into India.”

Meeting The Master

Jai’s love of Indian spirituality, and in particular the path of bhakti (devotional) yoga, went hand in hand with his interest in Indian music. He traveled to India, where he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba (affectionately called “Maharajji”)—the same guru of author Ram Dass and kirtan singers Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das, and others. Maharajji’s ashram was resounding with “constant kirtan,” according to Jai. “He told us Westerners to sing, and we sang like crazy! He was always getting us to sing, you know, as a group … a lot, a lot, a lot. At the same time, there was always the most beautiful Indian kirtan going on. Bengalis, mostly, but I remember when I first met Maharajji, it was Nepalis up there singing, and it was like music from heaven.” 

Jai talks about Maharajji with real modesty, choosing his words carefully. “It’s hard to know what the master likes, but it seemed to make him happy when we were singing. Maybe that was just because it kept us out of trouble! But also, Maharajji’s devotion was emanating from his every molecule, so the practices of devotion are what happen in his temples. Bhakti and service. Devotion without service is self-indulgent bliss-out. Devotion with service is a way of life.” It’s astounding to think of the lives that have been profoundly altered by Maharajji’s blessing, but the faces in the audience of a Krishna Das or Jai Uttal concert speak volumes about its ripple effect. For so many, kirtan is not just an enjoyable musical expression—it’s life-saving, and Jai counts himself among those who take refuge in it. “I started leading kirtans before I was any good at it, and I was petrified, but I needed to do it. I’m sure that Maharajji forced me to do it for my own salvation, sanity, and survival.” He looks down, silent for a moment, then continues. “For a long, long time I didn’t talk about Maharajji in public. It’s not like I would lie about it, but I wouldn’t talk about it unless I was directly asked about him. The relationship is so intimate. You start talking and before you know it, it becomes a part of your shtick. I don’t really have a shtick, so to speak. I didn’t want that to be part of my repertoire.”

The Dark Times

Returning from India, Jai dove into his music full of inspiration from his time with Maharajji and with the Bauls of Bengal—wandering musician-mystics whose poetry and songs of intense, passionate longing for the Divine had struck a chord within him. He began leading kirtans and continued to study Indian music. In 1991 he released his acclaimed debut album, Footprints, a heartfelt meeting of his Indian and Western musical influences. Jai and his band, The Pagan Love Orchestra, quickly gained international acclaim for their vibrant, innovative world music, and they released a series of successful albums over the years. Outwardly, Jai was immersed in his work, but his inner life was giving way to an increasing sorrow that would lead him into the darkest places of his life. Jai laughs gently and looks at his hands, remembering the double life he once lived. “Well, drug addiction and everything that goes with that. You know, fill in the blanks. I guess you could say it was a successful manifestation of a life that supported the belief that I was worthless, useless, and cursed!” He laughs again, and sits up a little taller. “But not successful enough, because the support of my guru and God’s name saved me and was always there. I was still singing and doing music, and the music was my connection to spirit. I don’t feel that I was hypocritical in that, but I will say that there was a lot of shakiness in the integrity of my walk.”

The music Jai put out during those years is revealing. “I see it as being very dark,” he says. “I still experience music as a catharsis. If not, why do it? The angst level is different now. My life is such evidence of God’s mercy.” Jai’s heartache and longing came through more fully on his third album, Beggars and Saints (1994). “I thought it was the saddest. It was dripping with pain! I thought, ‘How is anybody going to get through this? What am I giving to the world? Sixty minutes of anguish!’ But even still, people tell me how much joy, nourishment, and healing that record gave them. So that was discovering that music is part of my own healing journey, and then gradually I began to let in the fact that it is also healing to others.” Jai knows that his music and story have been healing for me personally. My own struggle with alcoholism kept me from singing kirtan for a long time, and I was just over a year sober when we met. I think a lot of people can relate to his wholehearted pursuit of self-destruction and simultaneous yearning to touch the Divine. Whenever we talk of these things, he becomes full of warmth and compassion. Some people have to go through hell to discover that the One they were yearning for was there all along. “And maybe I could just credit that spiritual longing to Maharajji,” Jai adds thoughtfully. “It didn’t seem to be touched by anything in the external world. Drugs and alcohol didn’t dull it; they dulled a lot of other stuff. The spiritual longing and the realization from early on that the music was my salvation—that just overrode everything. It’s a many-lifetimes job, having all the elements of our life being in harmony with each other. Obviously, one can’t be madly committed to spiritual redemption and at the same time let the rest of one’s life be in shambles. It doesn’t work. It’s not honoring God, and it’s not honoring yourself. It’s not honoring the people around you. It’s not honoring life.”

Love and Redemption

Jai’s inner turmoil began to soften when he met his wife, Nubia Teixeira, a yoga teacher and bhakti dancer from Brazil. “I was deeply embedded in the belief that even wanting happiness in life was unspiritual. You can see the incredible conditioning that goes into that thinking—that our humanness is to be run away from at all costs, rather than embracing our entire manifestation as God’s grace, the easy parts and the hard parts. My life was really… complicatedly messed up, and when I met Nubia, for the first time I wanted to feel. And that messed up everything, because of course, you can’t be a drug addict if you want to feel! I’m not saying that I got sober for Nubia, ’cause that’s not true. But it was the first time I wanted to be sober in 35 years. She was the first person I ever had a relationship with where I felt safe enough to be honest. Suddenly I realized that I was lying all the time, to myself primarily. Nubia allowed me to start that process. And we had a baby! For me, having a baby like Ezra Gopal opened up my relationship to Maharajji and to God in a way that nothing else ever had.

Kirtan, Success, and Ego

Many people are eager to connect personally with Jai and share their experiences. Some ask what he’s “doing to the energy” during the kirtans. Without a hint of condescension, Jai deflects any assumptions. “We all think we’re the doer, and we gotta sing ourselves into bliss, and while we’re at it, let’s sing the other people into bliss. There are many paths of spirituality in India, and there are paths that use mantra and singing to create effects, to generate energy in chakras. But that has no appeal to me. I don’t do anything like that. I’m trying to stay grounded and find a place of surrender, and within that place of surrender trying to find a place in my heart that is awake, that is just heart. There was a while that I really felt, leading kirtan, that I was responsible for everybody’s experience. And oh, what a completely illusory, backbreaking, shoulder-squashing, spirit-crushing burden that is! I, of course, fall back into it sometimes, but not as deeply, and I understand now that it’s not my job.” The vast majority of what Jai sings live is composed on the fly—either during sound check or in front of the audience, in real time. I can’t think of any other musician who lets the audience so close to their creative process. “It’s certainly part of the training I had on and off for 40 years with Ali Akbar Khan. Everything he taught us was, ‘Be on the edge. Improvise, but let it come from a base of continuing practice.’ Sometimes I think I’m a little nuts, that I’m always improvising. But I’m praying, and I’m using the improvisation as a way of exploring my heart. Some people have huge audiences, and some people, like me, have modest audiences. Perhaps if I did it differently, I would have bigger audiences. But I can’t do it differently, and I don’t want to. It’s so joyful! What do you have to offer people but the honesty, depth, and realness of your own prayer? Otherwise, what are you offering? An entertainment—which is not bad, but if you say you want to offer the highest, then this is what I can respond to. If you say, ‘I want to make a lot of money, I want bigger audiences, I want people to love me, I want to be on the cover of Yoga Journal,’ well then, you can explore other strategies, you know? I’m not saying I never have those thoughts, but those are the thoughts that I do my best to offer up because they’re dead ends—they’re passageways to hell. I want to really know what devotion is. And faith, and service. Just those three things. Could it ever happen in this life that I will really know what devotion is?” It sounds absurd coming from a man whose life is literally sustained and supported by devotion. “If anyone’s giving it a really good try, it’d be you,” I point out, and Jai laughs. He says, “I am giving it a try, but you know, so are you, and so are many! You know the Bauls of Bengal? ‘Light has burst in the walls of the sky’—that’s one of their lines. Always bursting that canopy above us, breaking through.” 

Prajna Vieira loves singing kirtan, whether accompanying Jai Uttal, or with Ben Leinbach, or as part of Mukti, her own ensemble. She lives in San Jose, where she teaches lots of yoga classes. PrajnaVieira.com

New Year’s retreat in Bahia, Brazil!!!

Hi friends,

Happy summer to you all.

Ever since we started our annual Kirtan Camps people have been asking us two things: when will we do one in India and when will we do one in Brazil? Well, it was four years ago that we took a group of about 45 people to India for a Kirtan Camp in Kerala and it was a life changing adventure for us all. Kirtan in the very home of Bhakti, the land where it was born…

But why Bahia, Brazil? Well, first, of course, for the incredible natural beauty and serenity of the land; vast beaches, warm ocean, miles and miles of virgin coconut forests…..

But more than that, Kirtan in Brazil seems to represent the meeting of cultures that we’ve found in our family, in our music and dance, in our life…. Hindu devotional practices to a Samba beat… Bhaktinova!!!! To some that may sound strange. But I know to many it sounds like bliss. Well, that’s how it sounds to me and to Nubia and to Daniel, so we’re giving it a try. Wanna come????? We’d love to share this with you.

Give it some thought, ok?

Lots of love,

P.S. Summer Kirtan Camp is filling up, so act now!!!!!

Jai Uttal introduces BhaktiCast: online kirtans and workshops

Jai Uttal Announces BhaktiCast!

Sign up now for this unprecedented event! First 25 registrants receive a free download of Jai’s Mantra of the Day Collection.

On May 3rd, 2011, Jai Uttal will be debuting BhaktiCast, a series of online simulcast kirtans and trainings broadcast over the internet!

Why BhaktiCast?

Dear friends,
For many years kirtan devotees around the world have reached out to me in hopes of hosting an event in their community. Though I accept many of these kind invitations, because of the realities of daily life, the difficulties of traveling and the sweet joy of being a poppa, more and more I’ve found myself unable to reach the many corners of the earth in person to share my chanting. And it’s always really difficult for me to say “no.” The good news is, seeing that thousands of kirtan devotees are online and interacting directly with me through Facebook, Twitter and email, we now have an opportunity to take my kirtans online.

With the launch of BhaktiCast, I will be offer an ongoing series of simulcast kirtan performances, classes, conversations and ‘living room concerts’ that you can experience from the comfort of your home. You will also receive access to the video archive for 6 months after the broadcast. Here are the full details…

BhaktiCast Episode 1
(Live from The Lotus Pond, Tampa FL)
Jai with Daniel Paul and Bali & Dhanya Rico of ‘The Mayapuris’

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 7:30pm-9:00pm Eastern Time Zone (GMT - 5:00)
Price: $19.95. Register here.
First 25 registrants receive a free download of Jai’s Mantra of the Day Collection
15% off Organic India products
Free Audio Download
Archived version available for 6 months after the event

Jai featured on “Insights on the Edge” podcast

Jai recently spoke with Tami Simon, founder of Sounds True, on her “Insights on the Edge” podcast. On this free podcast entitled “Chanting as a Heart-path to God,” Jai discusses chanting as a devotional practice, the story of Jai’s first trip to India, his experience meeting his guru, and his understanding of the many Hindu god and goddess figures. You can listen to the interview, download the podcast, or read the transcript here at SoundsTrue.com.

Jai’s first official music video!

Greetings friends,

Well, it seems like ages ago that we started conceiving of a music video for “Down On My Knees,” one of my favorite songs from Thunder Love.

First, my good Bhakti buddy Gaura Vani introduced me to his two childhood friends Ishan and Marija, who were just back from film school in Paris. We all liked each other immediately and they very emphatically said “Yes!” But, uh, where were going to get the money…. So we said we’d brainstorm and think about it. We thought, and we thought, and thought some more, but no money manifested….. Oh well, I thought, that was that…….

Then one day I got a phone call from Ishan. “Have you heard of Kickstarter.com?” I hadn’t. He explained that it was a way for the greater community to help each other finance all sorts of projects, everything from books, to plays, to music, to movies, to day care centers…. So we gave it a try and within a matter of weeks our financial goal was reached. Wow! Once again I was shown how much love and kindness actually exists in this world, how willing people are to come forward and help when its needed. To all you who extended yourselves for this project, I offer you a big thank you!!!

So then we filmed. Hard work!!!! Long long days… Hot sun, freezing winds. I see why I’m a musician and not an actor (well, besides talent and lack of it…). My while family got involved, with little Ezra Gopal stepping into the starring role and Nubia manifesting her deep shaman dancer side. I just did what I usually do, I sang.

And Ishan and Marija edited, edited, edited, edited…… Trying out many different versions and views and finally deciding on the final cut. When I’m mixing an album, I’m aware that the process can go on and on, not getting better, just different…. Finally we say, “Enough!” and that’s the album. I imagine that editing the film is a bit like that. But I also think these guys are geniuses. Very sweet geniuses…..

So, at long last, here it is, my first music video, after soooo long in this crazy world called the music business. “Down On My Knees”……

Now the challenge is to get it out and spread it around, like a virus of love, and I’m asking you all to help. Let’s make a chain letter. If everyone passes the link on to two people, and asks each of those two people to do the same, pretty soon the whole world will see this video. (Well, I know, I know. But it’s fun to exaggerate.) Now, with this chain letter, if you don’t pass it on, absolutely nothing bad will happen to you. No car wrecks, bounced checks, broken bones…. But on the other hand, perhaps nothing good or different will happen to you either. So what do you think? Wanna give it a try? Pass this on and spread the circle of mantra and love and prayer.

I was also thinking of a contest. Ezra Gopal is dressed as a very particular character, a hero in a beautiful animated movie, one of our favorites. The first person to guess who this character is gets a Thunder Love CD and a Jai Uttal t-shirt. Fun? Submit your answer on Facebook here.

Well, that’s it for now. Enjoy the video and please stay in touch.

Lots of love,


Mantra of the Day Collection

Hey there, folks….

Here’s something pretty cool. About a year ago I got on Twitter but had no idea what to ‘tweet.’ So I started posting small song ideas, concert snippets, silly musical thoughts, and not-so-silly prayers, and calling it the “Mantra of the Day Club.”

After gathering a whole bunch of them we thought, hey, let’s make it available as a download. So here it is, the Mantra of the Day Collection! Although the downloads are free, we encourage and urge you to make a donation if you are able.


Warm wishes,