When I teach Kundalini Yoga, I always include some of the beautiful songs of Mirabai Ceiba on my play list. At the moment, I’m really partial to “Ocean” (from their album of the same name) and “Har Har Mukanday” (on Awakened Earth). This music is, in my opinion, exactly what devotional music should be: at once ethereal and accessible.
So, I couldn’t be more thrilled that — in just a few short weeks — I’ll have the opportunity to see Mirabai Ceiba live at Sat Nam Fest East in Waynesboro, PA. They’ll be performing in an evening concert on Friday, September 14 and accompanying Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa’s workshop on Saturday, September 15. I had the opportunity to talk to guitarist/singer Markus Sieber and harpist/singer Angelika Baumbach, the real-life couple who together make up Mirabai Ceiba, about Sat Nam Fest, their family life, and more.
Cate: I think people are very interested in and inspired by the fact that, in addition to being a musical duo, you’re a couple. Can you talk about working together?
Angelika: “My dad always used to say that as a couple the real challenge and spiritual work is to create something together that is higher than yourselves, so that when difficult times arise, you know that you are not feeding each others’ egos with power games, but there is something greater, [a reason] why it’s worth going through the storms of life together.”
“For us, the music was … the bridge that helped us to really come together, and in a way it defined very much of our life together. And with time it has become our spiritual path, our job, our hobby, our child, our love…as I said, an entity which is even greater than ourselves. And we have found that, even though each of us has our own talents and skills, what we are sharing with the people is what we create together, and this is what is so powerful.”
Cate: Why is Sat Nam Fest an important event for you?
Markus: “In these crazy and challenging times, the Sangat (the circle of friends, the bond between brothers and sisters joined in truth, love and spirit) is such an essential point of reference in life. After having toured through many places and cities and shared our music, we come twice a year home to Sat Nam Fest. We charge our batteries… We chant and laugh with all the people who have come with an open heart to participate in an extraordinary and profound experience of Sound, Yoga, and Oneness.”
Cate: Do you have any favorite songs to perform?
Angelika: “It is very difficult to choose some favorites and leave others out, but it is true that we enjoy the high flights. I also enjoy very much, beyond the mantras, when we sing songs with lyrics, since this touches very directly our human stories in real life, and so it touches the emotions in a different way than the mantra does. I love to find a balance between those realms.”
Cate: You’ll be performing in a concert and accompanying Mahan Rishi’s workshop at Sat Nam Fest. How will you approach these events differently?
Markus: “…The vision in our concerts is to touch the Spirit of Oneness with the audience, where we all dwell in peace, in love and harmony, like a magical celebration where we may understand on a cellular level ‘We are We and We are God’…In a yoga class, we can have a much more specific focus. It gives … an opportunity to work on particular patterns, blocks, fears and bring consciousness to certain situations and habits in our life…Through rhythm and tune we can help to open the space faster and hopefully deeper… Also the music can provoke the dormant emotions to come out and find liberation…”
Cate: Are you looking forward to collaborating with Mahan Rishi?
Markus: “To collaborate with Mahan Rishi in this class has been a dream for a long time. We love him beyond words. He has given us so much inspiration, encouragement and blessings to walk the path of who we are .… A lot will be improvised and invented on the flight, although the basic points will be defined according to the theme Mahan Rishi suggests…”
Cate: How do you balance your family life with your two children with your work?
Angelika: “We are a family that spends most of our time very close together since we travel a lot, so we have the fortune to be able to follow each step of development of our girls, and they seem to enjoy and benefit from our lifestyle in many ways. We do take quiet family time, where we are only there for each other, and this is indispensable for the work that we do.”
We can’t wait to see Mirabai Ceiba at Sat Nam Fest East, September 13-16, 2012!