Queen of Hearts
01. Thief of Hearts (Govinda Govinda Gopala) (6:40)
02. Ocean of Milk (He Natha Narayana) (9:05)
03. Lanka Burning (Sita Ram) (7:42)
04. Queen of Hearts (Radhe Radhe) (6:58)
05. Hari’s Rapture (Radha Ramana Hari Bol) (6:06)
06. Garota de Braja (Govinda Jaya Jaya) (5:23)
07. Last Breath (Hare Krishna Maha Mantra) (7:23)
08. Vishnu’s Dream (Om Namo Bhagavate) (5:58)
Making an album is a journey across mountains and valleys of moods and emotions. Sometimes the sessions are pure flow, joyful, easy and inspired. And, of course, on other days the creative process is like pulling hairs. Agonizing, depressing, and seemingly impossible. I always see my weaknesses as a musician and, on the other side of the coin, how ridiculously self-critical I am. And sometimes I’m amazed and inspired by my own seemingly endless well of inspiration. Where does it come from? Well, I have no question about that. It’s a direct gift from my Guru…. Hopefully, through it all, I can learn and grow as a musician, but more importantly as a human being crawling along the path of spirit and love.
Anyway, just like every album seems to have its own flavor, the process of making the albums is also quite different from one to the other. And the weird part is that the final ‘product’ doesn’t always seem to reflect the moods that went into making it. Some albums that were torturous to create sound sweet and joyful, while some of the ones that were super easy sound kind of tortured. At least to my ‘unbiased’ ears.
Why am I writing this? Well, mainly just as an introduction to the world of Queen Of Hearts. This album was a total breeze to make. The songs had been percolating inside of me for years; the musical ‘style’, mixing reggae, ska, samba and traditional Bengali Kirtan, although quite new, seems like it’s been around for ages. I’ve been listening to and loving reggae since I was a teenager, (you can hear it in some of my ‘Pagan Love Orchestra’ work) but I had put it aside for a while, exploring other worlds. And, of course, the marriage of India and Brazil is sort of my life! So put it all together, and you’ve got Queen Of Hearts!
But that’s not all there is to it. Who is the “Queen”? Well, of course, She is Srimati Radharani, Herself. That very One who is most loved by Sri Krishna and who blesses the three worlds with the treasure of Bhakti, or Divine Love. So when the idea came (from where?) to dedicate an album to the Goddess Radha, I can only guess that She simply made it easy. Sure, it was hard work. But that mysterious element that we call ‘flow’ was always there. The songs kind of wrote themselves. The musical parts were recorded easily. The singing was relatively effortless. We laughed A LOT!
Now, does all that translate to the final CD? The answer to that question has to come from YOU! Is it uplifting and joyful? Or angst-ridden and cathartic? Or all of the above?
Let me know, ok?
And, most of all, may the blessings of the Queen of Hearts rain down upon us all!!!!!
Endless gratitude and danda pranams to my Guru, Sri Sri Sri Baba Neemkaroli Santa Maharaj and to my Spiritual Mother, Sri Sri Sri Siddhi Ma, who have saved me a million times from the clutches of death and worse…
Endless love and thanks to Nubia and Ezra Gopal, who show me again and again that divine love is possible on the human plane and for making me laugh in the face of everything…
Thanks to my brother, Ben Leinbach, for making another musical/spiritual/emotional crossing with me…
Thanks to all the musicians on the album for caressing the songs with their hearts and souls and great talent. Please explore their wide ranging musical offerings…
Thanks to my oh so patient managers, Steven Saporta and Steve Dalmer of Invasion Group…
Thanks to Terry McBride and the crew at Nutone for taking another chance…
Thanks to the original creators of Ska and Reggae, those incredible beats…
Thanks to Shilo, that invisible Indian artist, for creating the visible manifestation of the music…
Thanks to my buddy, Shyam Das, for the song notes…
And perhaps most of all, deepest thanks to all the devotees of the devotees of the devotees of the devotees singing and praying through the endless corridors of time for lighting the dimly lit, unmapped, uncharted path of Bhakti.
May we all feel a drop of that divine love!
May all beings be happy!