2018 SINGLES: LINER NOTES

ABOUT 2018 SINGLES

2018 SINGLES is exactly that – a collection of six tracks created with producer Ben Leinbach and released during 2018 and early 2019. These six Kirtan songs traverse a wide swath of musical genres – including Funk, Soul, R&B/Motown, World, and Indian Classical Music – that seamlessly integrate timeless Sanskrit mantras (from India) with modern Western grooves. The end product are a half dozen infectious and highly accessible chants that will guide you through your heart to the Heart of the Divine. Enjoy!

TRACKS

  1. Sita Ram (Soul Version)
  2. Shiva Jam
  3. Balaji’s Maha Mantra
  4. In This Together
  5. Kali + Shiva
  6. Lalita Invocation

PRODUCTION

Produced by Ben Leinbach at Old Bull Studios in San Anselmo, CA. Mastered by Michael Fossenkamper at TurtleTone Studio located at the corner of Broadway and Houston Street in Manhattan, New York City. Singles: 2018  features virtuoso guitarist Gawain Matthews, and exquisite vocalists Dawnia Dresser, Sandy Griffith, Samantha Keller and Lakshmi Devi. Cover photo by Douglas Dresser. Cover designs by Laina Taylor.

MUSICIANS

Michael H. Cohen – lead vocals, harmonium

Ben Leinbach- drum & percussion programming, keyboards, guitar, choir vocals

Dawnia Dresser – vocals on all tracks

Rob Fordyce – electric bass (1-5)

Gawain Matthews – electric guitar (1-5)

Lakshmi Devi – vocals (5)

Sandy Griffith – vocals (1, 2)

James Hoskins – cello (5)

Samantha Keller – vocals (6)

Ken Matarazzo – frame drum (5)

Noah Wilson Rouse IV – sitar (6), hammer dulcimer (6) and dilruba (3, 6)

Choir: Chava Horowitz, Toni Marinkovich, Robyn Broyden and Sarah Waalkes. (2, 3)

All music composed by Michael H. Cohen © 2006-18 Shiva Datta Music, LLC (BMI).

© 2018, Shiva Datta Music, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Dreamy, electric and so so soulful. Sita Ram seduces us to a place of complete divinity. Simply gorgeous!
-- Elizabeth Pumer, Yoga Instructor, Kirtan Leader

SPECIAL THANKS

Deep gratitude to Philip Lipetz, Swami Kaleshwar, Shirdi Sai Baba and the Guru Parampara for so generously sharing the wisdom of the Dattatreya/Lalita lineage and the practice of Collective Spirituality. Heartfelt appreciation to the virtuoso musicians featured on this project: exquisite vocalists Dawnia Dresser, Sandy Griffith and Samantha Keller; virtuoso guitarist Gawain Matthews; renowned producer Ben Leinbach and gifted mastering engineer Michael Fossenkamper.

Big thanks to Cindy Marteney for providing a beautiful and welcoming home during the recording sessions. I am beyond grateful to the many Kirtan Leader Institute students who have so fully and authentically stepped into the challenging, yet infinitely rewarding, practice of leading Kirtan. Your authenticity, love for Kirtan and desire to learn fills me with inspiration. Finally, I am so appreciative of my band, The Shakti Groove. Percussionist Ken Matarazzo, vocalist Dawnia Dresser and cellist James Hoskins generate deep love, share authentic friendship and inspire ongoing musical inspiration.

1. SITA RAM (SOUL VERSION)

Inspired by Ray Charles, George Harrison and Joe Cocker, this soul version of Sita Ram + Maha Mantra includes a Beatles song you know and love. May we hold the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine in our hearts, and allow them to be earthy and heavenly, engaged and filled with life.

Produced and co-written by Ben Leinbach (Old Bull Productions). Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper (TurtleTone Studio). Tthis track features beautiful vocalists Dawnia Dresser (Kirtan Leader Institute) and Sandy Griffith (Huey Lewis & the News), organist Eric Moon, guitarist Gawain Mathews (Mickey Hart) and bassist Rob Fordyce. All other instruments and vocals by Ben Leinbach. With a Little Help From My Friends © Lennon and McCartney. Photo of Mike Cohen, Ben Leinbach and Dawnia Dresser courtesy of Doug Dresser. Album art design by Laina Taylor.

Sita Ram, Sita Ram. Sita Ram, Jay Hanuman.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare.

Hare Rama, Hare Rama. Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram Sita Ram Jay Jay Hanuman.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare.

Hare Rama, Hare Rama. Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends.

I Get High With a Little Help From My Friends.

I Try With a  Little Help From My Friends.

2. SHIVA JAM

Who says Kirtan can’t be funky? This chant to Shiva, Lord of Transcendence, is a fun jam that unites Eastern mantra with Western grooves with altitude and attitude. An invitation to chant, clap and dance, Shiva Jam will get you tapping your toes and scrunching your nose as you integrate Heaven (Spirituality) and Earth (Worldliness). Chant along to get your groove on while opening your heart and lighting up your soul.

Produced by Ben Leinbach (Old Bull Productions). Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper (TurtleTone Studio). This track features beautiful vocalists Dawnia Dresser (Kirtan Leader Institute) and Sandy Griffith (Huey Lewis & the News), organist Eric Moon, guitarist Gawain Mathews (Mickey Hart) and bassist Rob Fordyce. Choir vocals by Robyn Broyden, Toni Marinkovich, Sarah Waalkes and Chava Horowitz. All other instruments and vocals by Ben Leinbach. Photo of Mike Cohen, Ben Leinbach and Dawnia Dresser courtesy of Doug Dresser. Album art design by Laina Taylor.

Om Namah Shivaya.

Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum.

Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shivaya.

3. BALAJI’S MAHA MANTRA

Tirupati, a holy city dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is home to the Sri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple. One of the richest temples in the world, it is also one of the most visited temples in the world with close to one hundred thousand pilgrims on an average day. Ecstatic pilgrims hike uphill to reach the temple, then wait in line for hours to experience just a few delicious seconds of deep connection with this profound deity. The energy of the journey is palpable and exquisite, punctuated with joyful shouts of “Govinda.” Before the deity, pilgrims ask Balaji to fulfill their biggest wishes for inner and outer prosperity, many of which are eventually realized. This chant is dedicated to Balaji and taps into the joy and energy found within a beautiful and ecstatic temple devoted to spiritual and material abundance.

Produced by Ben Leinbach (Old Bull Productions). Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper (TurtleTone Studio). This track features vocals by Dawnia Dresser (Kirtan Leader Institute), guitar from Gawain Mathews (Mickey Hart), dilruba by Noah Rouse and bass from Rob Fordyce. Choir vocals by Robyn Broyden, Toni Marinkovich, Sarah Waalkes and Chava Horowitz . All other instruments and vocals by Ben Leinbach. Photo of Mike Cohen, Ben Leinbach and Dawnia Dresser courtesy of Doug Dresser. Album art design by Laina Taylor.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare.

Hare Rama, Hare Rama. Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Hare Krishna. Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare.

Hare Rama. Rama, Rama, Hare Hare.

Ram Ram Sita Ram, Ram Ram Sita Ram, Ram Ram Sita Ram, Jay Hanuman.

Govinda, Govinda Gopala, Govinda, Govinda Gopala.

4. IN THIS TOGETHER

This Motown flavored anthem is a call to transcend partisanship and tribalism, an appeal to Unity as well as Diversity. Can’t you see? We’re ALL in this together. Let’s chant and bring Awareness (Shiva), Peace (Shanti) and Love (Prema) into our world, right here, right now!

Produced by Ben Leinbach (Old Bull Productions). Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper (TurtleTone Studio). This track features beautiful vocalists Dawnia Dresser (Kirtan Leader Institute) and Suzanne Sterling (Off the Mat and Into the World), guitarist Gawain Mathews (Mickey Hart) and funky bassist Rob Fordyce. All other instruments and vocals by Ben Leinbach. Let Love Rule ©Leonard A. Kravitz. Photo of Mike Cohen, Ben Leinbach and Dawnia Dresser courtesy of Doug Dresser. Album art design by Laina Taylor.

Namah Shivaya, Namah Shivay. Namah Shivaya.

Me and You, All Them Too. We’re in this Together.

You and Me, Can’t You See. We’re in this Together.

Shi, Shi-i-va-ya. Shi, Shi-i-va-ya. Shi, Shi-i-va-ya.

Namah Shivaya. Namah Shivay. Namah Shivaya.

You and Me, Soulfully. We’re in this Together.

Datta, Lalita. They’re in this Together.

Prema Om. Prema Om. Shanti Om. Shanti Om.

Shi, Shi-i-va-ya. Shi, Shi-i-va-ya. Shi, Shi-i-va-ya.

Namah Shivaya. Namah Shivay. Namah Shivaya.

Let Love Rule. Let Love Rule.

Prema, Prema Om, Prema Om. Shanti, Shanti Om, Shanti Om.

Together, Let Love Rule, Let Love Rule.

When We’re Together, Let Love Rule, Let Love Rule.

 

5. KALI + SHIVA

In an effort to win an epic battle against the forces of negativity, Durga (the goddess of protection) manifests from her brow the fierce goddess Kali. In one famous image, Kali is pictured amidst a background of orange and red flames, wearing a garland of skulls (representing the ego) and holding one that has been freshly chopped. Kali’s unmatched strength turns the tide of battle, repelling the demons of negativity.

Fearsome Kali finds herself intoxicated by a battle lust that drives her to dance with a force that destroys everything in her path. She overpowers not only the Forces of Negativity, but also the Good, True and Beautiful. Can her rage be quelled before it destroys the world? Kali’s husband Shiva (the Lord of Consciousness) comes and lays down before her. As Kali unknowingly steps on his prone form, Shiva’s loving presence permeates her so fully that her wild energy is transformed from fierce rage into deep passion and love. Her tongue extends, indicating sincere remorse over her unconscious actions.

The story of Kali and Shiva is particularly relevant now, and in many ways mirrors our current times. As the light of awareness shines on painful examples of masculine shadow, a Kali rage has erupted. How can we regain balance? Kali’s wild passion calls forth Shiva’s unflinching presence. Only his divine masculine consciousness can bear witness so powerfully that her anger can be transformed, allowing a greater love and deeper integration into our world. This passionate chant tracks Kali’s dance of destruction and Shiva’s emergence from meditation. As Shiva envelops Kali with his steady presence an exquisite transformation unfolds through this merging of Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.

Produced by Ben Leinbach (Old Bull Productions). Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper (TurtleTone Studio). This track features beautiful vocalists Dawnia Dresser (Kirtan Leader Institute), Suzanne Sterling (Off the Mat and Into the World) and Lakshmi Devi, frame drummer Ken Matarazzo (The Shakti Groove), cellist James Hoskins (The Shakti Groove), guitarist Gawain Mathews (Mickey Hart) and funky bassist Rob Fordyce. All other instruments and vocals by Ben Leinbach. Photo of Mike Cohen, Ben Leinbach and Dawnia Dresser courtesy of Doug Dresser. Album art design by Laina Taylor.

Kali Durge, Namoh Namaha.

Kali Kali Ma, Durge Durge Ma.

Shivaya Namah Shivaya, Shivaya Namah Shivaya.

Durge Ma, Jaya Durge Ma. Durge Ma, Jaya Durge Ma.

Kali Ma, Jaya Kali Ma. Kali Ma, Jaya Kali Ma.

Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shivaya, Om.

Om Namaha Shivay. Om Namaha Shivay. Om Namaha Shivay, Om.

6. LALITA INVOCATION

We invoke the Goddess Lalita, aka the “Divine-est” Mother. Lalita is “Ma Amba” (creator of the entire manifest universe) and is associated with “Sundari” (Beauty). In the spiritual lineage of Sri Kaleshwar Lalita is referred to as “ParaShakti” – the highest and most supreme form of feminine energy.

Like her male counterpart Dattatreya, Lalita is superordinate. She integrates the polarities of Spiritual/Sensual (Worldly), Masculine/Feminine, Individual/Collective and the energies of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva along with their beloved consorts Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali. This traditional invocation is an invitation to feel fully held and healed by the Unconditional Love of the Divine Mother.

Produced by Ben Leinbach (Old Bull Productions). Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper (TurtleTone Studio). This traditional mantra features sublime vocal performances by Dawnia Dresser and Samantha Keller (Kirtan Leader Institute) and exquisite instrumental offerings from Noah Rouse Wilson IV on dilruba, sitar and hammer dulcimer. Photo of Mike Cohen, Ben Leinbach and Dawnia Dresser courtesy of Doug Dresser. Album art design by Laina Taylor. Lyrics and melody are traditional and inspired by Craig Pruess.

Ma Amba Lalita Devi, Parashakti Sundari.

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasya Namo Namaha.

Ma Amba Lalita Devi, Mahalakshmi Vaishnavi.

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasya Namo Namaha.

Ma Amba Lalita Devi, Tvam Brahmani Gayatri.

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasya Namo Namaha.

Ma Amba Lalita Devi, Parashakti Sundari.

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasya Namo Namaha.