If you have found yourself downloading music by Krishna Das and Jai Uttal, chances are you’ve found your way to kirtan, the call-and-response devotional music that comes from bhakti yoga.
Many yoga teachers use live or recorded kirtan in their classes because it induces a meditative state and inspires a feeling of community. And the experience of attending a kirtan event, with a live performer leading the call and response of devotional lyrics from the room, is an amazing, energizing, and deeply heart-felt experience.
But if you’ve ever thought you’d like to learn more than the words to a few simple chants, you might notice that harmonium and kirtan teachers are not exactly as easy to find as piano teachers. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in an areas where there are a lot of kirtan artists nearby, it can be challenging to get quality instruction.
That's why harmonium teacher and founder of Kirtan Central Daniel Tucker created Bhakti Breakfast Club, a new website that offers streaming video of harmonium and kirtan instruction, home practice exercises, and downloads for $25 a month. "I really feel that many thousands of people around the world are sitting there with their harmonium and their Krishna Das CDs, frustrated because they can't figure it out," he told Buzz. "And they just need a halfway decent music teacher." Tucker, a well-known kirtan teacher and performer, teaches workshops at places like Kripalu, and has collaborated with Krishna Das and Jai Uttal, among others.
Learning a new skill is only part of the mission of the Bhakti Breakfast Club, Tucker says. A big part of the kirtan movement is the sense of community, and he hopes that Bhakti Breakfast Club will help to bring together those who are interested in the practice. "People are falling in love with kirtan for many reasons. It awakens the heart. It awakens the voice. And it opens us up and makes us available to bond in sacred community, as we all sing, dance, and pray together," he says. "That kind of community we crave, even if we didn't know we craved it."