There are a few songs that made me stop in my tracks from the first listen and Snatam Kaur’s “Re Man Eh Bidh Jog Kamao” is one of them. Little did I know on that fateful day in 2007 that the song was 32 minutes long. It must have been quite strange for the other customers in the store to see a grown man peering into a ceiling speaker for over half an hour like a child looking for the orchestra on the radio. I didn’t need to understand Gurmuki — the Sikh language of prayer — to be immediately swept away by Snatam Kaur’s music. Her voice has a unique, rhapsodic quality that is utterly mesmerizing.
On his new album Nirankaar, the New Age Grammy nominee takes us on a journey of beautifully produced mantra music with rich, contemporary arrangements that blend guitars, tablas, keyboards, strings and trumpet. You can listen here.
While the kirtan styles of contemporary artists such as Krishna Das, Deva Premal & Miten and Jai Uttal typically feature Sanskrit mantras, Snatam Kaur is renowned for her vast repertoire of luminous Sikh mantras, which she has been chanting since she was little girl. Each of these mantras is a separate prayer addressed to a higher power.
The title of the CD means “Formless God” and according to Snatam expresses how the divine manifests in ways that cannot easily be understood. I loved “Ang Sang Waaheguru”, which translates to “The divine…absolute joy, bliss and love…dances in every cell and fiber of our being”. Snatam begins the song with an infectiously dreamy verse and we lose ourselves in the resonance of his reverence. The song then transitions via a sparkling guitar riff and crisp tablas to an uplifting chorus that morphs into an inspiring and moving celebration of infinity through rhythm and repetition.
The songs of Nirankaar were written and produced with bandmates Ram Dass on piano and vocals, Grecco Buratto on guitar and vocals, and Sukhmani on tabla, percussion and vocals. All of these outstanding tracks were composed to enhance sacred mantras that have been specifically selected by Snatam to help people experience the unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic.
As a singer, writer, teacher and peace activist, Snatam has been an inspiration to the international yoga community for nearly two decades. After hearing “Re Man Eh Bidh Jog Kamao” 15 years ago, I allowed the song to be played on my “Yoga for Depression and Anxiety” DVD and still play it when I practice or teach yoga. His music is indispensable for kundalini yoga kriyas and his songs resonate in all kundalini festivals and yoga studios.
Snatam, who usually tours overseas every year, was able to keep in touch with his followers through his online school Kirtan and Kundalini. She and her band will soon embark on the Into The Light international tour across the UK, Europe and Israel, incorporating nightly group meditations for peace as well as workshops. For more information, visit www.snatamkaur.com.