Sat Nam Fest in 2011 brought together some of the world’s top names in yoga music, including Snatam Kaur, Mirabai Ceiba, GuruGanesha Singh, and more. The Grace Within You: Live From Sat Nam Fest 2011 is a recently released compilation of the highlights of the second Sat Nam Fest, showcasing some of the best of what’s new in yoga music as well as old standbys, all performed live with an enthusiastic audience. The energy and passion of the event infuse every note of The Grace Within You. Because it’s a compilation, the mood and tone change with each song, and each track feels like a sweet surprise that flows smoothly from one to the next. And so many of the songs are in English that this is a great choice for people who are less comfortable with complex yoga mantras in less familiar languages.
The Grace Within You starts with Snatam Kaur chanting the simple but powerful mantra “Hallelujah” with an inspiring voice-over by teacher Gurmukh, who leads listeners in a guided meditation. As the music picks up intensity, it’s hard to not get drawn in to chant along, especially as the voices of the audience become expertly blended in with Snatam and her band. This is an uplifting version of the universal prayer for peace and self-love, and sets the tone for the mantras that follow.
The next mantra is another one with roots outside the yoga music traditions. “Yemaya”, performed by Mirabai Ceiba, pays respect to the eponymous Yoruba river goddess with joy and spirit. It’s believed that Yemaya traveled in the holds of slave ships from Africa to the New World, accompanying and protecting the precious cargo. As fans of Mirabai Ceiba have come to expect, the melding of the voices of the musicians, their instruments, and the audience creates a feeling of being protected and embraced. This mantra can be listened to time and time again without getting old.
The mood changes again with the next track, Aykanna’s “I Am”. It kicks off with a touching and humorous story told by band member Ahkadahmah, who puts the mantra into context for listeners. As Sukhdev then begins to chant, she carries the Sat Nam Fest attendees along with her, and the CD is able to effectively convey her love. “I am what I am, and that’s all right” is a mantra that resonates with all.
Jai-Jagdeesh slows the pace down next “With You”. Her haunting voice goes straight to the heart, and this version of the song from her debut album “I am Thine” just serves to prove that Jai-Jagdeesh is a talent to watch and listen to.
The mellow tone continues with Gurunam Singh’s “Grace of God”. Gurunam is one of the hottest new names in yoga music, and with this track, it’s easy to see why. Here he reminds listeners to leave the past behind and go within, and his incredible voice carries both his live and recorded audiences along on this journey.
“Ong Namo” is performed by another exciting new artist, Harnam. This mantra is well-known by all Kundalini Yoga practitioners and with Harnam’s clear and soothing voice, it is easily picked up by those who are new to it. In the middle of this track, there is a beautiful musical interlude with Siri Kartar Singh’s pedal steel guitar that takes listeners up to the ethers!
The indomitable GuruGanesha Singh picks up the pace next with “Joy is Now”. For anyone who has had to fortune to see GuruGanesha and his band play live, this spirited rendition of one of his greatest hits will take you right back there. He uses a bluesy kirtan style call and response to take you deep into this mantra.
Prabhu Nam Kaur, who has been singing devotional and yoga music for over 35 years, then graces us with the extremely beautiful “Blessings”, a short and sweet ecumenical prayer. Listening to this song, Prabhu Nam’s voice shines clearly.
The Grace Within You then takes us back to Snatam, who leads Sat Nam Fest participants in “Every Heartbeat”, a soulful interpretation of the poem written by Yogi Bhajan. This song is an example of how masterful the engineering on this CD is. It starts very slowly, with just Snatam’s voice carrying us along, and smoothly and gradually other voices join her, building to a crescendo of community wholeness.
This amazing CD ends with what might be its strongest track: “Sat Nam The Grace Within You”. This finale brings together all the artists at Sat Nam Fest and the mixing of their voices and instruments is powerful and uplifting. It’s a fitting end to a must-have CD for all fans of yoga music.