Bhakti Fest, the originator of yoga and kirtan festivals in the now wildly popular yoga festival scene is pleased to announce the kirtan talent at Bhakti Fest Midwest, July 5-7 at Willow Island Alliant Energy Center. As the only major festival in the region, the event brings yoga, kirtan music and wisdom workshops to America’s heartland.
The kirtan (a.k.a. chanting) artists at Bhakti Fest Midwest include international superstars of kirtan Jai Uttal, Wah!, and Dave Stringer, plus regional favorites including Milwaukee’s Ragani, Columbus’ Mike Cohen, Minneapolis’ Kirtan Path, Wild Moon Bhaktas and Sitara & Kalyani with Pavan Kumar, Chicago’s Amy and the Bliss Tribe and Rich Logan, and many other inspiring performers.
Some of the music is traditionally performed, yet many of today’s kirtan musicians create contemporary adaptations based in jazz, blues, rock, and rap. This artistic integration of cultures has become extremely successful and draws a following as diverse and unique as the music itself. For a taste of kirtan, please download Bhakti Fest Midwest headliner Jai Uttal’s bluesy “Jai Ma” for free here.
Sridhar Silberfein, the founder and producer of the Bhakti Fests notes, “We are so pleased to bring the Bhakti energy back to Madison. Last year we took a risk on the Midwest and we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of regional support. We are thrilled to make Bhakti Fest Midwest an annual tradition. Taking place over the long Independence Day weekend, Bhakti Fest Midwest is a wonderful way to celebrate mental, physical and spiritual freedom in a beautiful setting and bask in the liberating power of numerous top national and regional kirtan artists.”
Jai Uttal has cut a serpentine swath through the musical world over the course of a recording career that’s spanned more than two decades and 17 albums, including the Grammy nominated Mondo Rama, with treks into multi-cultural world music, avant-garde jazz, electronic rock and traditional Indian kirtan—or sacred chants—his six recordings this past decade with the Sounds True label have become staples of the yoga-practicing community. His recent releases include Queen of Hearts that incorporates a reggae vibe into kirtan, and Kirtan Kids an album created for families to sing, laugh, dance, and celebrate life together.
Of Wah! Yoga Journal notes “Mantra-scene veteran Wah! seems to be halfway between samadhi (union) and ecstasy. Her theme is the oneness of divine love and eros. Wah! lays down her love dharma in sultry downtempo grooves, throbbing club beats, and spoken-word rap passages. When the groove’s in full gear, she has us right where she wants us: blissed out and deep in the throes of a love that can’t be labeled.”
An award-winning producer, Ragani (pronounced RAH-gah-nee) leads Milwaukee’s renowned Kirtan with Ragani, one of the largest independent and ongoing kirtan scenes in the US. For more than 30 years, she has led kirtan events in the US and abroad, and she is known for her heartfelt vocals, inspiring stories and humor.
In addition to the kirtan, the yoga lineup features world class yoga teachers Saul David Raye, Govinddas & Radha and Yoga Slackers, along with the Midwest’s yoga leaders including Detroit’s Eric Paskel, Milwaukee’s Pam Bliss, Columbus’ Laurel Hodory, Chicago’s Daren Friesen, Indianapolis’ Nikki Myers, and more.
The workshops at Bhakti Fest Midwest span inspirational speakers from near and very far. One of India’s most revered and beloved spiritual leaders – H.H. Pujiya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj is giving the keynote address in Madison. From closer to home, David Haberman a professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, will speak on Revelations of Divine Love in the Bhagavad Gita. Fifteen other workshops will also take place.
Bhakti Fest Midwest also presents extensive breathwork classes. Additionally there is a marketplace with eco-friendly vendors offering delicious, high vibrational raw, vegan, and vegetarian foods and beverages, yoga gear, clothing, musical instruments, crafts and more.
Saul David Raye will present a pre-festival intensive in Madison. For information and tickets please see http://bhaktifest.com/category/festivals/bhakti-fest-midwest/bfmidwest-intensives/.
Picturesque ponds create a natural boundary for the plush green grass and limestone walkways that make Willow Island the ideal outdoor event venue for Bhakti Fest Midwest. Large, elegant Willow trees outlined by the Madison skyline craft a stunning backdrop and unmatched ambiance for the event.
Tickets for the event, including a $50 discount for seniors and college students, $75 tickets for teens and FREE admission for kids under 12, plus the full lineup and tons of info are available at http://bhaktifest.com/category/festivals/bhakti-fest-midwest/.