Lucid Culture


Concert Review: Sruti Ram & Ishwari at Jivamukti Yoga School, NYC 1/28/09

Sruti Ram sings, plays harmonium and percussion; Ishwari plays acoustic guitar and sings, the two taking turns with what were essentially lead vocals throughout their long, practically two-hour show. Sruti Ram & Ishwari’s new cd Fire of Devotion features a wide, assorted cast of musicians; at this show, the duo were augmented by two percussionists and the audience. Many seated in the spacious upstairs room knew the words (a lyric sheet handed out by school staff helped), clapping and singing along. What Sruti Ram & Ishwari play is a new spin on kirtan music, in this case ancient Hindu yoga chants set to catchy pop melodies. Like Christian gospel music or qawwali,  kirtan (the word is Sanskrit for “repeat” and translates as “worship service”) is an integral, functional part of the service, in this case a yoga ceremony; unsurprisingly, this show was much a workshop in how to sing along to this stuff as it was a concert.


The songs were as catchy as they were hypnotic, going on for at least ten minutes at a clip, rising and falling, often using a verse/chorus pattern to establish the dynamics, the singers’ beautiful harmonies frequently aided by the audience. A couple of the melodies evoked rustic 70s British folk-rock in the vein of Fairport Convention. Another song took a happy, catchy garage rock chord progression, running it over and over again until it was practically trance-inducing. Yet another one, dedicated to an earth mother figure, had a strikingly dark, austere melody that would have been completely at home on a folk-rock record from the 60s. The overall effect ranged from rousing and inspired to inescapably soothing. Testament to the healing power of some types of music, at least one person (guess who) arrived with a barking lower back but left the performance pain-free. If the show is any indication, the new cd could be enjoyed not only by experienced yoga practitioners but also by anyone who likes pleasant, melodically attractive, late-night sleepy-time music. Sruti Ram & Ishwari are back at Jivamukti on 2/25; if the reaction of the audience at this show is any indication, you can expect an experience that could range from peaceful and relaxing to completely blissed-out, depending on your frame of mind.    

January 30, 2009 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] See the rest here:  Concert Review: Sruti Ram & Ishwari at Jivamukti Yoga School, NYC … […]

    Pingback by Concert Review: Sruti Ram & Ishwari at Jivamukti Yoga School, NYC … « Yoga Bin Blog | January 30, 2009 | Reply

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