KRISHNA DAS: Auckland Concert and Workshop…

“What else could you call it?” – he said referring to the term ‘Workshop’.

I could call it a ‘forum’ – and it was ‘almost’ what I would describe as circle around a hub of the personal and experiential wisdom Krishna Das has collected and melded into ‘who he is’. It felt intimate. It felt personal. It felt safe even though we were as an audience relatively speaking ‘strangers’ to each other and him.

It seems no moment was lost; no moment not investigated for it’s worth to his journey.

Krishna Das imo – is an extra-ordinary kinda guy! To see him he seems ordinary enough; even to hear his conversation seems ordinary enough, but there is something about that ‘ordinary’ that is capitvating and holds one as if entranced waiting for more – yet paradoxically content with what is.

Maybe that is it – there seem to be paradoxes, yet they co-habit within a dynamic synergy that creates such a feeling of ease and comfort in his presence.

The concert held on Wednesday 1st of August was an interactive creation initiated by Krishna Das and made whole by the combining of all the voices into a unique and personal ‘concert’. Not the kind of concert where you sing along univited or dance as you feel moved and jostled by the audience, but the kind of concert where you have a part to play in making it wonderful, successful and memorable!

Krishna Das resonance, the timbre, depth and breadth of his voice is unmistakable. He has had a long history with music being involved in rock music earlier on in his life. Eventually evolving into what he shares today. Kirtan (excuse the pun) is his ‘calling’, he has responded like many of us do to our callings cautiously, and it was over at least two decades before he ventured forth his ‘response’ to this calling.

The whole ‘thing’ about kirtan is the chant is a ‘call and response’ a type of melodic conversation where you get your cue from the words the person ‘calling’ chants out to you.

Frequently enough to make it noticable K.D. (as he is known) used the word hymnal to refer to the sacred text we were given that was a photocopied sheet of the chants he would dialogue in the concert. These chants are devotions, Krishna Das also eluded to the notion that ‘he’ did not ‘know’ the ‘meaning’ of these specific words except they were absolutely necessary to his life to ‘sing’ them with others.

At the end of the concert in-which one or two asked that he ‘tell some stories’ and to which K.D. replied ‘that is happening on …. what day is it today? That is happening on Friday night – tonight we chant’; was a silence that lasted maybe 2 or 3 minutes – a silence that was simply bliss – the bliss one experiences from a deep meditation – the gift bestowed by the evenings chanting inspired by Krishna Das’ life; and his need to chant, and our need to be in this vibrational resonance that is his voice.

Where did his need come from?

That was the topic of the ‘Workshop’ on Friday 3 August.

Not as many people attended the workshop – it was by far more intimate.

And one person – asked ‘Can we just get on with some more chanting?’ (We chanted for about half an hour at the start of the workshop); to which K.D. replied, ‘that happened on Wednesday night – you should have come then if you wanted to chant – tonight we talk’; I guess there is at least one in every show. No body grumbled or got up and left though! And what a treat!

There is no spoiler here – if you want the answers – if you want K.D’s story you have to go to his ‘Workshop’.

There were moments when the entire audience gasped and collectively I think shed a tear or two!

There was his equally larconic and abrupt New York humor – we kinda take a moment to get that one here in New Zealand – sometimes he explained himself! Sometimes he just let it ‘hang’ there. Watching us or not! It was hard to tell at times. However paradoxically his sensitivity and his ‘realness’ shone through all the time.

K.D is no ‘guru’ although perhaps some may call him that. He did however have and still has a deep abiding love of and with his own Guru.

The ‘Guru’ he says is in here and taps gently towards his chest and heart. Then he goes on to tell about the grief and suffering and unrelenting unforgiveness he felt toward himself at the physical ‘death’ of his guru.

When we ‘meet’ a famous person we often see them only in that light. It seems that they by some trick of fate arew ‘lucky’ enough to be in this magical place – as if they have had it made forever and will have it made forever after. However K.D. shone a different light; he let us in to the personally meaningful, transcendant moments, the ‘fuck, fuck, fuck’ moments, the poised on the edge of life and death moments, the drugs, sex and rock’n’roll moments, the moping and more moping he said he is so good at moments. Moments that made us turn to the person next to us and as we looked at each other really saw we are all connected, no one left behind in this thing called ‘life’.

He gave us ‘hope’.



By grace!

Article by: Susan Pryor

Photos: Susan Pryor

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