I often feel blessed to live in the Garden State (aka New Jersey) but I felt particularly so last Sunday night, when I was thrilled to discover that Jai-Jagdeesh was performing at AquarianYoga Center in Montclair, which happens to be the first Kundalini yoga center in NJ, as well as the center at which I practice! I hightailed it over there as soon as my family Mother’s Day celebrations were completed and settled in for an extra special treat.
Jai-Jagdeesh opened the evening with a beautiful selection, accompanied by Tripp Dudley on guitar. The piece was from the Sikh morning prayer, called Japji. “As we swing from a masculine energy to a feminine energy that is equally powerful but different, we will find our balance and equilibrium,” Jai-Jagdeesh observed. Helping us to honor the masculine and feminine polarities within ourselves, this selection was hauntingly lovely; the combination of Jai-Jagdeesh’s stunning voice and the mellow guitar filled the room with a glorious vibration.
The next piece they played was a sort of “splicing together” of two wonderful songs from Jai-Jagdeesh’s first album, “I Am Thine,” and “Ong Namo Guru Dayvaa,” a mantra which calls on the wisdom of all the teachers, past, present, and future. As Jai-Jagdeesh sang “I Am Thine” time seemed to stand still. The beautiful combo of these two selections was a double delight.
A concert with Jai-Jagdeesh isn’t all seriousness. Telling jokes and stories about her life and travels (Jai-Jagdeesh and Tripp Dudley have been on tour since last April and will appear in several more places before this tour ends), she kept us all laughing. “We’re here to create an experience for you—the experience that you want it to be.” We were invited to chant along, sit quietly, or if the spirit moved us, to get up and dance!
The healing meditation “Ra Ma Da Sa” came next. Jai-Jagdeesh explained that the words mean sun, moon, earth, infinity. For those who were new to Kundalini yoga or chanting, she assured, “Don’t worry about the words. Yogi Bhajan said, ‘just copy the sound: that is enough.’” With this soothing mantra we sent our healing prayers to our loved ones, to those who challenge us, to ourselves, and to all those around the world. We then chanted the mantra for protection “Aad Guray Namay,” which Jai-Jagdeesh described as being like “a big hug from the divine.” Embraced by the sound current, and chanting along with Jai-Jagdeesh, that is precisely how the mantra felt.
Next up was a rockin’ version of “Mayray Govindaa,” with Tripp on the cajon, a box-like instrument which originated in Peru. The truly phenomenal Tripp also plays tablas and a host of other percussion instruments.
A “cover” of “Hallelujah,” originally by Leonard Cohen, was next. Jai-Jagdeesh’s soulful version was spellbinding; the piece is about heartbreak, loneliness and spirituality, about coming through the dark night of the soul and into the light. The evening ended with “Aap Sahaaee Hoaa,” which clears challenges and obstacles. Said Yogi Bhajan, the mantra “has the power to melt your enemies like ice cream under the sun.” Of course, the “enemies” in this case are the obstacles and challenges from which we learn. “Invite the obstacle into your heart, love it, set an intention to learn the lesson, and let it go,” Jai-Jagdeesh suggested.
Jai-Jagdeesh played to a rapt and enraptured audience, but there was plenty of laughter between the notes. We left with joy in our hearts, and profound gratitude that Jai-Jagdeesh and Tripp Dudley had come to AquarianYoga Center to share this sacred music with our growing community (the center first opened on 11/11/11). I hope you’ll have a chance to attend a live Jai-Jagdeesh concert during this tour, at the upcoming Sat Nam Fest East in the Blue Ridge Mountains in September, or at another future venue. I guarantee that you’ll fall in love with Jai-Jagdeesh’s captivating voice and sparkling personality!