Fairfax, CA – Noted for his heartfelt renditions and upbeat barn burners of classic Kirtans (Sanskrit chants from ancient India), and his first instrumental album Gauri’s Lullaby, currently in consideration for a New Age Grammy, his notable summer single “Behind the Walls” inspired by his work with inmates at San Quentin, and the horrible novel coronavirus outbreak currently taking place there, as well as hosting a sold out online Kirtan camp last summer, Jai Uttal is excited to announce tomorrow’s release of his new single, “Time and Again.” The song is available in all audio formats here.
“Time and Again” is the first single release from Jai’s upcoming album, Songs of the Mystics, that will be coming out next year. “Time and Again” was composed by Jai and his wife Nubia Teixeira, based on a song of the 16th century Indian Bhakti poetess, Mirabai. Though scorned by the presiding culture of the time, Mirabai’s passionate and sensual devotion to her Lord, and her complete disregard for social mores, became a clarion call to the poor and marginalized masses. She was, indeed, a mystic revolutionary!
‘Songs of the Mystics’ will include re-imaginings of songs and poems by many of the Bhakti saints, but Jai thought it appropriate to start with Mirabai. Her message and mood are timeless and resonate even today in the hearts of all devotees. About recording this track in all the insanity that is 2020, Jai notes, “I decided to release this song now because it seems that at this moment in history, more than ever, we are being called upon to act as well as to pray, each in our own way, that spirit will come and lift the mountain of chaos and division and divisiveness and pain from the world so that we can all breathe and our hearts can freely love once again.”
As with everything, the COVID-19 crisis has affected Jai’s recording process, noting that for this single, “My entire recording process has changed during this pandemic. Here in Northern California we’re still mostly in quarantine. So, this recording used pieces from various sources. The lovely background voices by the Pagan Love Choir were from a live concert I did of this song in February, which was multitracked. The accordion was recorded two years ago over a guitar demo I had at the time of the song. The rest of it was produced in Ben Leinbach‘s little studio that is now divided by huge plexiglass walls. Awkward, but we got the job done. I couldn’t let the pandemic squash creativity. Creativity is medicine!”
Besides COVID-19, the intense fires of Northern California and the social and political strife has also affected everything Jai’s life and he notes, “2020 has, indeed, been a year full of challenges, but it has also been a year of deep healing, personal growth and more intimate family interaction. It’s also been a time of deep connecting with my extended family and greater Bhakti community. I’ve been doing weekly live stream concerts and Kirtans, that have been a great point of focus for myself in terms of preparing and creating new songs and practicing my older songs, as well as bringing our extended Bhakti family and community together over Zoom. The pandemic has also pushed us to create online Kirtan Camps. These events have been greatly appreciated, and have enabled people from all over the world, who would never have been able to attend a Kirtan Camp in person, to join us The Online Camps have also helped me organize my own thoughts, experiences and music into a much more potent and accessible way of teaching. We’re in the middle of our second camp now.”
The Hindi verse, of “Time and Again,” ‘Meera Kahe Prabhu Giridhara Nagara, Hey Govinda Hey Gopala’, calls out: ‘Oh Lord of Mira, Govinda, Gopala, lifter of the mountain.’ One might paraphrase this as: ‘Oh my Beloved, please lift this insurmountable mountain of suffering and separation, that I may be yours forever!’
Jai adds, “I hope we all can taste a droplet of Mirabai’s intense, oceanic devotion.”