The music on this album has been bubbling inside my heart and my soul for many many years. Like a very slow cooking pot of ghee, hundreds of songs have risen to the surface, just to be skimmed away until all that is left is the clarified and very buttery essence of my love, understanding and commitment to five decades of devotional music.
Many of you will be familiar with a bunch of these songs. I’ve performed them at festivals, Kirtans, ecstatic chant events and concerts, and every performance has been completely different! No rehearsal, no pre-set arrangements, just a sweet jump off the cliff into God’s loving arms. But, after a while, I began to feel that it was time to honor the melodies and mantras by giving them a more solid form. In other words, to record them!
My good friend, the late jazz trumpet wizard Don Cherry might have coined the term “world music” but with the release of his latest work of genius, Roots, Rock, Rama, maestro Jai Uttal, joyfully reveals to us what world music really sounds like—music that defies rigid categorization because it is just too far reaching—too cosmic to be contained. RRR is modern and traditional, spiritual and sexy –it simply cannot be limited to one narrow commercial category. It reaches across all genres—Reggae, Rock, Soul, lyrical Bossa nova, percussive Samba, R&B, Jazz, Bollywood, Kirtan, Country, Folk, Classical Indian and beyond. — Sharon Gannon, Founder Jivamukti Yoga
The album simply DEMANDED to be called Roots, Rock, Rama!. Anyone exploring the world of Reggae walks in the footsteps of the great Bob Marley, and has danced to his breakout hit, Roots Rock Reggae. But the name of this album comes from a much deeper and more personal part of my being. Why Roots? Well, first of all, this practice of Kirtan is the very root of my life, the seed out of which everything grows, the thick cord of connection that has kept me alive. Of course, I know who planted that seed — my Guru, Neem Karoli Baba — and, believe me, I’m not much of a farmer, figuratively or literally! But I’ve been trying my best to keep watering this fragile little sprout of Bhakti and, although at times the leaves have gotten pretty dry, thanks God, they’re still growing and I can even see some small flowers getting ready to bloom!!!
“Wow, in my humble opinion, is definitely your best yet, and that’s really saying something! It has such a feel to it – it’s one whole, complete, ecstatic, colorful statement from the first to the last note. I can’t wait to play it again! It made me feel so good. the arrangements, the horns, the SOUND, everything! This is one whole, complete, ecstatic, colorful statement from the first note to the last. For me, this record is up there with Sgt. Peppers, Revolver, Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, Freewheelin’, Hejira, Songs in the Key of Life, Love and Theft, Nashville Skyline, After the Goldrush, Bringing it All Back Home, and Highway 61 Revisited.”— Miten
Why Rocks? Again, this practice is the rock upon which the whole rest of my life is built; the foundation stone; my breath; my shelter. But perhaps more crucial is this: When the monkey army needed to cross the great ocean to free Mother Sita from the clutches of the Demon King, they were perplexed and somewhat disheartened. How could this task be accomplished? Well, the answer turned out to be quite simple — create a bridge of rocks, giant boulders and tiny pebbles, and simply inscribe the name of Rama on each and every stone. And, as all the world knows, those rocks floated on the water and allowed our heroes to march across the stormy ocean of suffering and free the Divine Goddess, the source of eternal love!!! WOW! The final word in the album title is Rama. This is the mystic name that Maharajji instructed me to repeat over and over, year after year, breath after breath. That NAME keeps me in my Guru’s embrace through eternity, in times of brilliant light and in times of blinding darkness. And so it is: Roots, Rock, Rama!
Love and peace,