Our Talent

Girish

Girish is an eclectic artist with roots in jazz, world, and sacred music. His musical talents find expression in a wide array of instruments – including tablas, world percussion, guitar, harmonium, and voice.

For as long as he can remember, Girish has created rhythm to accompany life. When he was eight years old, his parents gave him a little red snare drum as a bargaining tool to stop him from banging on everything else in the house.

Drumming has always been instinctual to Girish, flowing freely from his fingers and knowing no musical bounds. In his teens, he started experimenting with pop, rock, jazz and orchestral music. His first experience of music as sacred art came in college, playing with jazz bands. “During improvisational sessions,” he recalls, “there were these unexplainable moments of synchronicity and intuition that felt like magic.”

These moments came just as Girish was feeling pulled toward a sacred life. A college philosophy class inspired him to explore spirituality through Kundalini yoga, meditation, and the study of Eastern scriptures. By the time of his college graduation, Girish was so deep into these practices that he decided to move into an ashram in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Thus began an unexpected journey-a seeming detour that inadvertently nourished his musical artistry.

Girish lived in the ashram for five years, giving up music and taking the vows of a monk in the Divine Mother tradition called Dakshina Marg or Mahashakti Yoga. Yet, here, another compelling sound force emerged for Girish: the chanting of Sanskrit mantras. As a monk in the ashram he spent hours every day chanting. Girish also studied Sanskrit as a means to understand the deeper meanings of these ancient chants, and helped his teacher translate dozens of hymns.

He thought he had given up music for his spiritual practice, but one day he happened upon a set of tablas at the ashram and was instantly compelled to play them. This event set him on a life-changing course. Guided as always by rhythm, and now by his spiritual pursuits, Girish began to study tablas with Jagadish in the Nada Yoga tradition (yoga of sound current), which emphasized the spiritual import of music. He also traveled to New York to learn the art of Indian drumming at Siddha Yoga Ashram.

After New York, Girish then connected with the musician and spiritual teacher Bob Kindler, known as Babaji. “From Babaji, I learned that sacred music is a viable outlet of spirituality, one that is profoundly uplifting and transformative,” says Girish. It became clear to him that his innate musical passions didn’t conflict with, but in fact lead to a spiritual livelihood. Traveling and performing with Babaji helped cement this notion.

Girish also studied with legendary tabla master Swapan Chaudhuri at the Ali Akbar School of Music in Marin County, California. It was in northern California that Girish met other musicians at the forefront of the chant music explosion in this country. Krishna Das was just gaining popularity at that time and Girish played with him regularly. In this context, Girish was quickly introduced to a wider world of music for yoga. Soon he was accompanying many of the names in the yoga music genre, including Wah!, Dave Stringer, Donna DeLory, Thomas Barquee, Snatam Kaur, Shanti Shanti, Steve Ross, Swaha, and Rasa. His move to Los Angeles in 2000 brought him to the nation’s epicenter of chanting and world music.

As a session player, Girish’s work has aligned him with the likes of producers Glen Ballard (Dave Matthews Band, Alanis Morrisette) and Michael Brook (Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan, Youssou N’Dour) as well as the creative team at Lucas Art. His talents are featured on some of the most popular recordings in the world music/new age field today.

Girish continues to explore and expand musical borders, and has found new avenues for his artistic expression. Yearning to express the power of Sanskrit mantras through his own voice has been a driving force behind his CD’s, Reveal (Mondolaya Music, May 2004), Shiva Machine (Spirit Voyage Music, April 2006), Yoga Vision(DVD), and his latest releaseDiamonds in the Sun (Mondolaya Music, April 2010).

HawaH

Towards the creation of a world free of oppression, exploitation and senseless violence … the birthing a new way to live beyond instincts and without predator & prey … replacing a “survival of the fittest” mentality with a “survival for All of Us” reality … This is where HawaH will take us if we listen, and if we care.

HawaH is the creator and visionary behind The Poetry of Yoga project.  An artist, author, educator, yoga instructor, and community organizer; he has dedicated his life to teaching about solutions to violence and ways to peace, and has traveled around the globe to facilitate interactive workshops, dialogues, perform poetry, teach yoga, and speak with those interested in creating a caring, sustainable, and equitable world.

HawaH is co-founder of One Common Unitya non-profit organization that inspires a culture of non-violence through music, arts and media.   For 3 years he directed the Peaceable Schools Program in Washington, D.C.’s largest public high school—specifically leading Alternatives to Violence, Conflict Resolution, Trauma Relief, Deep Breathing & Yoga classes.

A spoken word poet known as Everlutionary and an artist of a diverse collection of paintings and photographs, HawaH has authored three books: Trails: Trust Before Suspicion (2001),Escape Extinction (2003) and zerONEss (2006); released two CD’s:Survival for All of Us (2005) and CALL (2010); and produced three documentary films A Weigh With Words (2008), The MLK Streets Project (2011), and Fly By Light (2012).

Over the years, HawaH has featured as a speaker, performer and workshop presenter for People to People International, the Congressional Youth Leadership Council and the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools.  He has made appearances on XM National Satellite Radio, BBC, Fox News, and the Pacifica Radio Network.  He has also been a guest speaker at places such as Yale University, George Washington University, U.C.L.A., University of Colorado, Rollins College, University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and Brown University.

For more information about his work visit: www.EVERLUTIONARY.net.

Dr. Indu Arora

Dr Indu Arora’s short bio in the words of a dear friend and Yogini….

“Dr. Indu Arora is a true Yogini by Karma. She is highly accomplished international speaker, Master YogaTeacher & Yoga Therapist, a successful Ayuvedic Clinician, Healer and Author, with more than 35,000 hours/ 13 years of teaching experience. She is a Registered Ayurvedic Clinician 4500 Hours through AAPNA and an Academic Board member of the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of Northern America (AAPNA), Board member of the World Movement of Yoga and International Advisor to WorldYoga Council. She has a Doctorate in Alternate Medicine (MD) and Awarded with Yoga Shiromani andYoga Bhaskar. She has a Grand Parenting E-500 T-500 from Yoga Alliance and is registered Yoga Therapist. Dr. Arora is pursuing her PhD. in Metaphysical Sciences from University of Metaphysical Sciences, CA. She is a senior contributor for Tathaastu Magazine (http://www.tathaastumag.com/)  She is awarded with the titles: “Rishi Award~ Sage” for Excellence in Teaching Meditation”, “Hind-Ratna~Gem of India”, “Ray of Hope”, “Yoga Ratna~ Jewel of Yoga” for Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda. She travels globally for International YogaTherapy Teacher Training programs, Yoga and Ayurveda Retreats, Conferences etc. Dr Arora started the 200 Hour Ayurveda Parichaya (Ayurveda for Self-health Care) Training on the models of Government of India (AYUSH), approved by AAPNA in 2012 and 200 Hour Level YogaTherapy program approved by Yoga Alliance and International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Her philosophy is “Nothing has the greatest Power to heal, But SELF”.

Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa

Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa has been singing for as long as she can remember. Her journey with the sound current began many years ago and doesn’t seem to have an end—instead it has become an infinite quest for the anahat, or unstruck sound.

A student of sound for more than 15 years, she integrates the Naad into her music, teaching, and healing practices. She has studied with some of the great Sound practitioners in the West: David Hykes, Shanti Shivani, and Pandit Mukesh Desai and is also influenced by the the Shabd Guru—the sound current in the Sikh tradition.  Her music focuses on using sound to move the body, the mind and the breath toward powerful transformative experiences that uplift the individual and serve the soul.

A writer, editor, poet, singer and songwriter—and a pretty good cook, too—Sat Purkh serves as Editor and Creative Director of the Kundalini Research Institute.  This is her third album of sacred music includingNectar of the Name and Beautiful Day. She recently authored Everyday Grace: The Art of Being a Woman, an introduction to women’s teachings of Yogi BhajanShe lives with her two cats Fatty and Slim, and her dog, Vinnie.

Sitara (Susan Shehata) Lead Vocals, Harmonium

Susan Shehata, also known as the Space Guru, assists clients in transforming the space around and the space within, through feng shui, music, holistic healing and spiritual coaching. After five years as the co-owner of Sacred Rearrangements, shop and healing center in Uptown Minneapolis, Susan is currently the co-owner of Shift Home & Lifestyle; a lifestyle transformation business. Raising the Consciousness, the media and events arm of her business, produces a radio show, the Twin Cities Kirtan Festival, as well as many other healing and music events that inspire global change through individual action. Susan is also a writer whose column, Space Guru, has appeared in the Edge Magazine and Southwest Journal. As a musician, Susan focuses on musical theatre and kirtan (yogic chant music) and she has just released her first kirtan album with her band, Sitara & Kalyani with Pavan-Kumar. Her life’s mission is to use her voice as a vocalist, writer, speaker and healer to assist in global transformation.

Kalyani (Colleen Buckman) Lead Vocals, Guitar

Colleen Buckman,(Kalyani), is a true renaissance woman. She is one who weaves all of her unique gifts into each element of her expansive career. As a holistic healing practitioner, Colleen takes great care with each client and patient to guide them on their personal healing journey, restoring the mind, body, spirit connection. As a songwriter, producer and composer, Colleen shines with her powerful voice, potent lyrics and authentic sense of musicality. Her debut album, Sometimes in the Sun, put her on the map as a real songstress in 2007. Currently, she is composing, producing and recording her second solo album, in addition to having just released a new collaborative Kirtan album with Susan Shehata, (Sitara) and Keith Helke (Pavan Kumar). Colleen is the Founder and Owner of Fair Trade Om; a conscious philanthropic production company. And she is a producer and co-host of the radio show and media/events company, Raising the Consciousness.

Pavan Kumar (Keith Helke) Bass

Keith is an educator, food coach and personal chef, as well as a producer and musician, with an eclectic background and a wealth of knowledge that he brings to his work. He has worked professionally in the food industry for over 25 years. As a personal chef, he has prepared meals for Gold Record holding artists in the recording studio to groups of campers on wilderness trips. Keith picked up his first guitar at the age of 16, and has recently re-focused his attention on music, playing with several small bands in the Twin Cities. Keith (Pavan-Kumar) just released his first kirtan album with his band, Sitara & Kalyani with Pavan-Kumar. After five years as the co-owner of Sacred Rearrangements, shop and healing center in Uptown Minneapolis, Keith is currently the co-owner of Shift Home & Lifestyle; a lifestyle transformation business. Keith is also an associate producer with Raising the Consciousness, which has produced a radio show by the same name, produces the Twin Cities Kirtan Festival, and has also produced the music for the Twin Cities Yoga Festival, and concerts with performers like Deva Premal and Miten, Dave Stringer and Medicine for the People.

Steven Scholl

Steven Scholl is an independent scholar of Islam and comparative religion. He has lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East after doing his graduate studies in Islamic philosophy and history at McGill University. Steve is the founding publisher of White Cloud Press and is the editor of several books including “The Peace Bible:  Words from the Great Traditions” and “Common Era: Best New Writings on Religion.” He writes on religion and culture for newspapers and magazines and is a contributor to the “Encyclopedia of Religion” (ed. by Mircea Eliade).

Through his company, Imagine Adventures, Steve leads trips to Morocco and the World Sacred Music Festival every June and is launching tours to Turkey and the Holy Land (Israel and Palestine). For more on this work, visit www.imagine-adventures.com.

Steve has presented lectures and workshops around the world on Islam, Sufism, “Rumi and the Religion of Love,” and interfaith dialogue. He can be contacted by email at: scholl@whitecloudpress.com

Lia Bello

Lia is a long time lover of sacred music from gospel, through kirtan and zikr to classical and sounds that make your body move like dubstep and electronica.  “Dances of Universal Peace fulfills my passion for chanting, connecting with others and it acts a moving meditation.”  Lia is an active member of  Santa Fe Dances of Universal Peace  which meets monthly.  http://dancesofuniversalpeacesantafe.org  Lia specializes in Homeopathic Medicine in her private practice as a family nurse practitioner in holistic healthcare . 505-474-4917  www.homeopathicare.org