North Leverett, Massachusetts – October 1, 2020 – Noted Bhakta, bassist, and Kirtan leader Adam Bauer’s third album Return to the Sacred will be released tomorrow, Friday October 2. Return to the Sacred (on Spotify here starting tomorrow) is an inspired collection of all-original music born during extraordinary times. For a preview of the full album, please go to https://soundcloud.com/adambauer-1/sets/return-to-the-sacred/s-MqyqEu33xll.
At the end of co-leading a pilgrimage in India in early 2020, Adam landed at Depot Records in Delhi to create the core of these tracks on the cusp of the global pandemic. During lockdown in the US, the album was crafted with highly respected world music producer Ben Leinbach (Jai Uttal, Deva Premal).
The India sessions were brought together and anchored by Mohan Shyam Sharma (Ravi Shankar, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, All India Radio), one of world’s most revered players of the pakhawaj, a traditional temple drum. The Indian recording artists are an all-star team of talented musicians including Rajeev Janardan on Surbahar, Kailash Sharma on Bansuri, and Hricha Rashmi and Deepa Mishra on vocals.
The tracks were exquisitely embellished in the US, on the first single/emphasis track “Healing Song” (released September 11) by Grammy-nominated classical cellist Joel Cohen, and Ali Akbar College of Music ED Steve Oda on sarod, and on the rest of the tracks by cellist Noah Hoffeld (Phillip Glass, Natalie Merchant, Krishna Das) and lifelong Bhakta and Kirtan multi-instrumentalist Visvambhar (Vish) Sheth (The Mayapuris) playing Indian drums and percussion. Leinbach brought his trademark deft production touch, and mixed and mastered Return to the Sacred at Old Bull Studios in Marin County, California.
Return to the Sacred is dedicated to the memory of Adam’s father, Edward Bauer, and his friend and inspiration Ram Dass, who both left their bodies in 2019.
Each song on Return to the Sacred has its own story. The album’s midpoint, and second single, also out tomorrow October 2, is “Baba (Neem Karoli Guru Bhai)” a tribute to Adam’s guru Neem Karoli Baba, and noted bringer of Baba’s teachings to the west, Adam’s friend and teacher, Ram Dass. Adam explains, “this song dropped in on me in the hour after I heard that Ram Dass had left his body around last year’s winter solstice. I heard the news at 3 AM, got up and did my ablutions and prayed for him, feeling deep gratitude for who Ram Dass has been in my life, and the lives of so many. This melody and mantra spontaneously arose in those predawn moments, and I added some of the classic messages that Ram Dass brought us directly from Maharaj-ji. Love everyone, serve everyone, feed everyone and remember God!”
The album opens with “Vaidyagrama Hare Rama,” one of the three songs on this album with English lyrics along with a traditional Sanskrit mantra. Adam wrote this song in South India while on a panchakarma retreat at a healing center called Vaidyagrama—hence the title. He notes, “The simple yet evocative message has deeply moved audiences since the week I wrote it.”
On the second track, “Shri Ram Jai Hanuman,” Adam notes, “this melody first came to me in a dream, and it kept reappearing during waking hours over a couple of years, so much so that for a while I thought it must be some other person’s melody that I had heard and kept remembering! It was insistent, and I found it mesmerizing, and so I’m happy to release it here for the first time. Jai Hanuman!”
The album’s penultimate track, “Arunachala Shiva” highlights Adam’s deep connection with bass sounds both vocally and instrumentally. About the song he recalls, “it came to me earlier this year, on my first barefoot walk on the sacred mountain Arunachala, considered to be the form of Lord Shiva, above the ashram of the beloved Hindu nondual saint Ramana Maharshi. I sang it as it appeared in me during my entire walk down the mountain, until I could sit down and translate it to my harmonium. I have bittersweet associations with this mountain, as the only other time I had laid physical eyes on it was right after I heard that my beloved friend Shyamdas left his body back in 2013. It felt like I’d come full circle to finally get there with time to truly be with the mountain, and I’m grateful that it gave me this song on our first real meeting.”
The album closer, and first single, “Healing Song” was also inspired by Vaidyagrama which means a healing village, and this song of healing came to Adam at the Ayurvedic center in Tamil Nadu, South India. He says, “the English verses and melody bubbled up from within as I was lying horizontal one day during a treatment, and I sang it to myself as part of my own internal healing process, then and ever since. I hope it has the same effect on all who hear it.”
His critically-acclaimed first solo record, Shyam Lila, debuted on Mantralogy Records in 2014. His sophomore album Wonderville was released in 2017 and generated more interest in his work. Adam’s music is available on major services like iTunes and Spotify, or directly from https://iamadambauer.com/
Adam was blessed to spend many years playing bass in support of sacred chant superstar Krishna Das, and later with Bhakti Yoga legend Shyamdas, both of whom nourished his love of sacred sound and the yoga of devotion. For the past decade, Adam has been on the road offering his own perspectives, teachings, and kirtan across the Americas, Europe and India, and even Antarctica. A lifelong student of the devotional life, Adam enjoys gathering with others and comparing notes on the path wherever the opportunity arises.