Airdate: November 15, 2012
Are you familiar with the music of Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band? No doubt you are, but here’s a chance to get to know Sean even better as he talks with Ramdesh about mantra and his spiritual journey.
Sean and his band, which includes Sean on vocals and harmonium, Gwendolyn Colman on percussion, and Alvin Young on bass and guitar, bring together rock, soul, hip-hop, mantra and folk styles. As part of the bhakti yoga tradition, the group strives to “touch as many hearts as possible,” and that’s just what they’re doing. While some of their tracks are mellow and peaceful, at times they are dynamic and up-tempo. “We give folks a chance to touch into the whole palette of their hearts.”
With a master’s degree in teaching mantra and chanting, Sean has a deep passion for the practice. Though he briefly abandoned singing as a child, he rekindled the love in college and never looked back. “I feel most free when I’m singing,” he explains, “And because I had that experience of shutting down my voice and then waking it up again, I really want to help people open up. Kirtan is an amazing way to help people tap into their voices.”
Listen first to “Shiva Shankara (Transformation)” from the album Devaloka. Open your heart and dance with change instead of resisting and tap into the transformative energy of Shiva. Next you’ll hear “Jai Hanuman,” also on Devaloka. The story of Hanuman the monkey God is one of Sean’s favorites. You’ll hear all about how Hanuman exemplifies courage and devotion as the podcast progresses.
You’ll also hear “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” from Calling the Spirits. The track is also offered on Kirtan Aid: Chants for Hurricane Sandy. Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band are among the 33 artists who contributed music to this beautiful CD, the proceeds of which are donated to Hurricane Sandy relief. Having gone through hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans-based group has a deep empathy for those who are struggling now. Looking back on that experience, Sean explains how when something really hard or challenging happens it is sometimes an opportunity to “deepen our connection to life, transcend the pain and offer it up.”
“Om Hari Om/Sharanam Ganesha (Refuge)” comes next, a song about another beloved Hindu deity. This track is a combination of mantras that connect with the power to remove and to clear obstacles. You’ll also hear “Ram Sita Ram (Union)” from Devaloka, a track that celebrates the masculine and the feminine energies. Ram, explains Sean, is the great prince who represents a profound sense of dharma and following the soul; Sita is his consort, the princess, who represents the power of nature, unconditional love and creativity.
Sean also reveals that his deep faith is based in a line of seekers from his family. His mom was a nun and his father was studying to be a Jesuit priest; they left that behind, and followed a spiritual path that transcends dogma. “I credit my parents and my family for my sense of faith,” he says.
Tune into this spirited discussion, and learn more about this extraordinary artist, his group, and all the exciting things he offers at his yoga studio, including the eight-day “Bhaktimmersion.” Get ready to dance, chant, and celebrate life: You’ll feel the love, friendship and faith on every track!