Sat Kartar is a powerhouse in the yoga music world. She has been practicing Kundalini yoga since the 1970s and was a member of the Khalsa String Band alongside Gurudass, Guru Singh, and Krishna Kaur to name a few. She has sung with Krishna Das and Dave Stringer, studied classical Indian raga, and toured extensively for many years. Sat Kartar has released numerous albums, including 3 produced by the amazing Thomas Barquee. When I found out at nearly the last minute that Sat Kartar was going to be leading kirtan near me as part of her Call for the Beloved Tour, I immediately changed my schedule so I could attend.
Attending a kirtan led by Sat Kartar is like singing kirtan with a close friend. Though most of those in attendance had never met her before, her warmth and good humor invited everyone in. She has an incredibly grounded, down-to-earth style, mixing jokes and stories between each mantra. Along with her tabla player Kristopher Rein, she led the group in perhaps the most interactive, meditative kirtan I’ve ever attended! Before each mantra, Sat Kartar would give a great explanation of the meaning, and give instructions for the corresponding meditation if people felt called to try it.
Chants from Sat Kartar’s album Call For The Beloved made up the core of the kirtan. Call for the Beloved brings together mantras which will help people in their quest for healthy, grounded relationships. When we sang “Amrit Nam,” she quipped that the image of drinking from the sacred nectar of the Sound Current with a romantic partner is probably a good deal healthier than going to a bar! We also meditated to the mantra “Hari Har,” which Sat Kartar explained is both a prosperity mantra and works on the heart center. Our seated meditation turned into a dance meditation by the end, as we sang out “We are the people of Love” to the whole world. In a word, it was awesome!
She also led two meditations that were familiar to anyone who has Yoga and Mantras for a Whole Heart. We sang “Sat Kartar” with the mudra and arm movements, and she joked to newcomers that we were not worshipping her in doing so! It was a really wonderful experience to hear her voice in person, rather than on the cd, when practicing that heart opening meditation.
We also practiced the meditation for Projection and Protection from the Heart, using “Ad Guray Nameh.” Sat Kartar explained that the mantra is often used for protection before operating machinery, such as a car, by visualizing a field of protection on all sides as you chant each line. In the context of Love, this mantra can help to create healthy boundaries, so that you can allow Love into your life while also maintaining a healthy sense of Self.
All of the heart opening mantras were wonderful, but personally I was thrilled that she led a meditation to her “Laya Yoga” from Listen. I have always loved the intensity of her version of the mantra, and the combination of bandhas and swirling visualization in the meditation were quite powerful!
If you aren’t very familiar with Sat Kartar’s music, I highly recommend checking it out. She has a huge voice, which pulls you in and encourages you to chant your heart out. And if you ever hear she’s coming through your town on a tour, go! You’ll be so glad you did! You can find out more about her schedule on her website: www.satkartarmusic.com or the Spirit Voyage Events page.