Small World Kirtans is an album that changes our perception of what kirtan could sound like. With his new album Krishna Sharma dasa shows us the endless possibilities and styles the devotional music can adopt and adapt. With a lot of grace and taste he combines reggae, ska and Motown in a unique blend of contemporary sounds just to make kirtan even more attractive to his audience. Rhythms are catching, melodies – pleasing for the ear and the lyrics – simple but sublime: the Hare Krishna mantra. Here is what he shares with us about his latest album Small World Kirtans.
Please tell us more about your new album.
The new album is a collection of 12 tracks of 12 original melodies. It’s always difficult for me to define the genre of the music I work on but there are very definite reggae, ska and Motown influences throughout. I used lots of keyboard instruments as well as drums, bass and guitars. However, the only lyric on the whole album is the Hare Krishna mantra. I usually write lyrics but for this project I wanted to skip that part of the process and just sing Krishna’s names. I also intentionally kept the tracks short with introductions of just one or two bars after which come in with the vocals along with the Maha-mantra.
What makes kirtan and devotional music so special to you?
Kirtan allows us to connect with the source of all beauty and of all life. When we do it right, it is a calling out from the most profound part of our being. Aside from being a pleasurable experience to get together with like-minded people and sing and play music, it also satisfies an altogether deeper desire we all have within us; the longing of the soul to reconnect with the heart’s innermost craving for pure love and joy.
What was your inspiration and main motivation to compose it?
Well, I pretty much always find myself inspired to make music. It’s something that has always come very naturally to me. If I’m not recording something then I’m playing something and if I’m not playing then I’m writing, I can’t keep away from it for very long. So, instead of singing about the temporary and mundane aspects of my life and the world I live in, by singing about Krishna all my musical efforts transform into yoga and I feel connected to a higher power – just by making this shift in consciousness. So apart from enjoying the combinations of chords, melodies and rhythms that occur in music, having this philosophical understanding keeps me motivated and inspired day after day.
Pleas take us through the most difficult moment of creating. What helped you to keep going?
Mmm, difficult moments? No, can’t think of any. I just get on with it. Some editing work can be a little tedious and programming the drums is a painstaking process at times but by listening to talks by spiritual leaders who inspire me as I work I kept going without losing patience or strangling anybody.
What do you want people to remember after listening to your album?
One desire that most of us have is to listen to music we enjoy. If someone can listen to Small World Kirtans and satisfy that desire and simultaneously hear the Hare Krishna mantra and thus remember Krishna then that will bring me a great deal of satisfaction.