Kiss of Bliss

Posted on in Art + Soul by Lloyd Barde


Fresh takes on the kirtan style are always welcome in the Bay Area. When you hear Amritakripa’s description, you’ll get the feel: “With a unique blend of African, Turkish, and swirling psychedelic elements, Amritakripa creates an enchanting, groove-infused kirtan.” As the album unfolds, the variety is one of the most engaging aspects, omnidirectional and often surprising, as the music comes at you from “outside” and arises from “inside”—enveloping would be the word. “Krisna Radhe” is one of the longer tracks, tribal and hypnotic, rising toward an ecstatic chorus and a didge warmdown that works perfectly. “Nanda” has fertile African roots, spoken vocals paced differently that roll into one vibe.

The 18 min. closing track traverses many spaces and inner landscapes. “I Am” is especially suited for yoga classes. The chant based on the Divine name “I am that I am” is a blend of ambience, African groove, and chant that sounds like it is pouring out from the Goddess of infinite space herself. This surely will get the serpent kundalini to rise. There are similarities to Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda’s “Kirtronica” style, with the differences distinguished by the building, expansive energy of sacred expression that underlies each of Amritakripa’s tunes.With its midnight trance dance groove set, Amritakripa has grown to become a highlight of Bhakti Fest. “Kiss of Bliss” is Amritakripa’s third release in a series of groundbreaking kirtan albums. From their debut, “Mother’s Grace,” in honor of the Holy Mother, Mata Amritanandamayi, Kripa and Robbi began uniquely blending cultures and instruments such as harmonium with the Saraswati vina, African and Turkish drums, saz and oud, and chopsticks on bottles and pans. With Amritakripa’s love for sacred dance, it was only natural that the traditional kirtan forms would begin to dissolve into the deep grooves of an ecstatic trance dance evoking the spirit of Gabrielle Roth.


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