Music Review of Soul Contact
Written by Debi Buzil
Published on Yoga Chicago January 2014
Michael Cohen’s Soul Contact is pitch perfect. Soul Contact features the divine voices of Joni Allen and Allie Stringer. Opening with “Sai Isha Sharanam” (Dance of Ganesh), the music moves from an ancient incantation, straight to the energy of the modern world. Mike’s chants are direct and concise, with interesting twists on the melody. “Om Sai Shree ” ups the ante as energy moves up the spine with the chanting of “Om Namah Shivaya.” Produced by Grammy Award-winner Jeff Ciampa, the beats, harmonies, and energy are pure avant-pop, very current and moving . Soul Contact provides connection of body (groove), mind (mantra), and spirit (beyond the veil) to a sacred space.
Chanting with Michael is a very high experience. Last year at Nature Yoga, Michael was joined by tabla player Jim Feist and vocalist/percussionist Allie Stringer for an evening of kirtan. This was my first time experiencing several of these chants from Soul Contact . Michael is a forward thinking Kirtan-wallah, pushing boundaries with the power of his voice and the power of the mantras themselves.
Michael Cohen’s music is rooted in his devotion for his guru, Shirdi Sai Baba, said to be the incarnation of Dattatreya. The three faces of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer) make up the image of Dattatreya, the Hindu trinity all rolled into one. There are nine chants on this release, and all are unforgettable, unique, mysterious techno-enhanced mantras from the heart of Dattatreya kirtan. Soul Contact rises to the challenge of presenting the essence of the heart in this digital modern age we live in.