Hey there, friends…..
Well, it’s been many years since I released my first album, Footprints, in 1990. Life’s panoramic vistas have changed immensely in many many ways; personally, I’ve passed through beautiful, joyous mountain tops and dark, lonely, despairing caverns, chronicling it all in fourteen CDs and many smaller musical and spiritual projects. Although stylistically my music has developed quite a bit over the years, in some ways I’d say that I’m still exploring the same themes…. What is the most beautiful, perfect melody that will heal my spirit, share my soul, and connect my heart with the eternal heart of divine love…. What are the colors and rhythms in which to dress that melody…. How deeply can I rip open my being and let my voice and feelings free to fly to God…. And how can the melodies and colors of ancient India intermingle with the sounds of today…. It sounds kind of pretentious to put it into words, but isn’t this the eternal quest shared by everyone? And as an artist, I’m also always struggling to improve my craft, my vocal and instrumental techniques, to support this emotional and spiritual process….
Meanwhile, the world has changed and the “business” of music has also changed drastically in recent years. I often ask myself “is there any real reason to make another CD?” Most people are so over saturated with music that, at most, they’ll download a song here and there, not even considering the purchase of a new CD. Or else they’ll tune in to Pandora, Spotify or other similar music services. And then, of course, there’s the issue of bootlegs. Ohhhh, don’t get me started on that!!!!
So, what to do… One day early in this year I called up my musical partner Ben Leinbach and said, “Hey!!! Let’s record a single and I’ll release it on my website and Facebook and see what happens.” And then I thought, rather than charging a set price I’ll put it up for donation. This way folks with no money can just download it for free, and those who have a little extra money will perhaps remember that this is how I make my living and support my sweet family…
So, to the song itself:
Circling the ancient town of Vrindavan in North India is a dusty dirt and sand road called Parikrama Marg (or path). Like a garland placed around the lotus neck of Sri Krishna Govinda, or perhaps a flower garden surrounding the bed chamber of Srimati Radharani, Parikrama Road is considered a great and holy place of pilgrimage. Walking barefoot around Vrindavan morning after chilly morning, my feet numb from the frigid cold, I’ve witnessed the simple miracles of the devotional life; “Bhaktas” literally crawling in the dust crying Radha’s name; aged Sadhus tearfully chanting the Srimad Bhagavatam as peacocks danced around them; an elephant turning into Sri Krishna, his trunk stretched out to the side like a bamboo flute; men and women dancing in ecstasy, seemingly lost to the outer world, singing the Mantras of divine love; little kids momentarily interrupting their wild games to bow before an image of Hanuman, the Monkey God; young renunciates shaving their heads and bathing in the blessed Yamuna river; on and on….. Experiences of deep longing, uninhibited joy, compete commitment to the path of Bhakti….. My new song, “Parikrama – The Path Of A Thousand And Eight Tears…”, though it bubbles along on a distinctly Bossanova-esque rhythm, remembers and offers obeisance to this holy journey, the dirt path that circles the sleeping body of Gopala, Parikrama Road. I hope you enjoy it…
Produced by Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach
Engineered and mastered by Ben Leinbach
Recorded at Old Bull Studios, San Anselmo, California
Written by Jai Uttal
All instruments played, sampled or programmed by Jai and Ben.
Vocals by Jai, Ben, Prajna Vieira, and Mary Redente
Track art by Giuliano Guarneli
Shri Krishna Govinda Hare Murare
Hey Natha Narayana Vasudeva
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare