Songs for the Sangha, the latest offering from Deva Premal & Miten with Manose, marks an exploration of fresh musical terrain for the beloved devotional musicians. Ancient Indian texts, sung with effortless artistry by Deva Premal, are finely crafted with her partner Miten's sensual reggae grooves into pulsing, uplifting, spiritually inspired – and inspiring – anthems.
Add into the mix the soaring sound of classical Indian bamboo flute, courtesy of renowned Nepalese bansuri maestro and longtime accompanist Manose, the rock-solid foundation of producer Joby Baker's bass and drums, and UK keyboard wizard Spencer Cozens' tasteful, jazz-inflected acoustic piano work, and there, in a nutshell, is the new album. Surrounding themselves with three such fine and diversely influenced musicians, Deva Premal & Miten have transformed their sound into a musical magic carpet ride, rendered exquisitely by an elegant five-piece band – their first recording outing with a larger ensemble of players.
Deva’s ethereal, velvety voice brings a warm embrace to the venerable chants; that unmistakeable voice has carried these healing sounds forward into hearts worldwide for over two decades. Miten offers beautiful songs composed with a depth of feeling and maturity that has grown out of many years spent in meditation communities, while Manose’s exquisite bansuri flutes carry breezes from the temples of his native Nepal that shimmer throughout the album.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Grammy-nominated Joby Baker (electric bass / upright bass / drums / guitar / vocals) and English pianist Spencer Cozens (acoustic piano / keyboards) – noted for his work with John Martyn and Joan Armatrading – help to create a unique soundscape, moving with fearless grace from Western classical music to swampy reggae grooves with rich soul and jazz inflections. Recorded in a house on Australia’s east coast near Byron Bay, the recording exudes a warm spontaneity – even including some of the natural sounds, such as cicadas, that they heard in the very relaxed and intimate recording environment.
Translated from Sanskrit, sangha means "spiritual family," and the golden thread that runs through this recording is a pure sense of harmony, adventure and devotion – qualities for which anyone would be grateful in any family or community, spiritual or otherwise. This new album weaves the ancient Sanskrit mantras into songs celebrating the inner journey, melding many different musical and spiritual traditions in a joyous flow.
Songs for the Sangha is a loving invitation to shift away from the daily rush of "doing" into our deeper realms of simply "being." Play it as you drive to work, play it while cooking dinner, play it in your yoga studio, play it in the bedroom, play it in your ear buds as you traverse city streets; people may wonder why you have such a radiant smile on your face, but that's exactly the artists’ intention. The music is there to support as well as to entice the listener. As the Rumi poem featured in the final track says, “Draw near, draw near and I will whisper in your ear, the name whose radiance makes the spheres to dance: OM...”
Deva Premal & Miten have been partners in life and music for over twenty years and are widely recognized as the pioneers of Western mantra singing, providing millions of people worldwide with the musical soundtrack for their yoga practice and meditation. With CD sales alone now standing at over 1.5 million copies and digital sales significantly eclipsing that, the artists have touched many people globally through both their music and their extensive live concert tours. Performing in more than two dozen countries almost every year, they also lead popular tantric gatherings in such diverse settings as Corfu, Fiji and Tulum, Mexico.
Deva & Miten have received accolades from such luminaries as best-selling author Eckhart Tolle, who calls their music "pure magic” and Hollywood icon Cher who cites Deva's album The Essence as "my favorite CD to do yoga to.” Even His Holiness the Dalai Lama commented on Deva’s voice and music: “beautiful.”
1.) Parameshwara Mantra / Deep In Love
2.) Sarveshaam Mantra
3.) Ganapati Mantra / Strong My Roots
5.) Brahma Gayari Mantra
6.) Guru Mantra
7.) Draw Near Draw Near