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Flow of Grace: Chanting the Hanuman Chalisa, by Krishna Das. Sounds True; soundstrue.com
Krishna Das’s warm baritone voice sounds more grounded and powerful than ever on this, his 10th chant album, a
double-disc offering that takes the kirtan master back to his roots. The “Hanuman Chalisa,” a 40-verse
hymn in praise of the monkey god, Hanuman, was the first Hindi chant that KD (as he’s also called) learned in the early
1970s in an effort to please his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
The first disc features six performances of the hymn, each with a different musical accompaniment. It’s a departure
from KD’s usual call-and-response kirtan, though the disc opens and closes with rousing kirtan sing-alongs. On the
second disc, KD guides you through the “Chalisa” syllable by syllable. Completing the set is a 71-page
hardcover book with 35 color illustrations and photos and a Hindi transliteration with English translation.
Flow of Grace is a tribute to KD’s inventiveness in melody and rhythm. And while the musical accompaniment is
simpler here than on previous albums—no rock star cameos this time—it is still very much KD’s trademark
sound, grounded in hypnotic harmonium drones and pulsating percussion, with guitar and violin embellishments.
Flow of Grace is a treat for longtime KD fans, taking you deeper into the artist’s personal practice than any
previous album. And for newcomers, including those who might be unfamiliar with the monkey deity, there couldn’t be a
more inviting introduction.