Hindus have called for introduction of “kirtan” as new field of awards at famed Grammys to be held at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on January 31 next.
Last Grammys were awarded in 110 music categories, covering 32 fields, including Pop, Rock, Rap, Country, New Age, Gospel, Jazz, Folk, World Music, Latin, Reggae, Blues, etc., for outstanding achievements.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that outside India, kirtan was attracting large audiences in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, and many other countries of the world, resulting in various new albums and creation of star kirtan artists. It was the time Grammys organizer National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of USA opened its eyes to the sentiments of people.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged the organizers of American Music Awards and British Phonographic Industry’s annual BRIT Awards to include an award for “Favorite Kirtan Artist of the Year”. Performances to be featured in every Grammy Awards ceremony should include a brief kirtan presentation also, he stressed.
Rajan Zed points out that Kirtan is rapidly and continually growing in the West and becoming a vogue and bringing increasing number of Americans to its events. According to Kirtan participants, the powerful healing and transformational energies of these ancient chants in a living room style music experience help calming and focusing the mind, uplift, provide a soothing melody, inspire, bring peace and connectedness, etc. Its sacred and spiritual experience takes one to the state of deep meditation. Moreover, Kirtan is highly accessible and does not require training.
Kirtan (also referred as call-and-response chanting session, ecstatic chanting, participatory music experience, devotional singing, sacred chant) is one of the oldest sacred music genres of the world, which originated in India many centuries ago. Mostly a Sanskrit chant with audience usually clapping and swaying and repeating the words after the singer with some dancing, its lyrics are usually something like “Om Nama Shivaya”, “Jai Govinda Jai Gopala”, “Shri Ram Jai Ram”, “Om Shanti Om”, etc.
Kirtan has produced lot of star performers in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Australia, etc., like Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, David Newman, Wah!, Shantala, Dave Stringer, Sean Johnson, Shyamdas, Snatam Kaur, etc., and has reached the mainstream venues.
With ticket/donation rates usually less than $25, Kirtan is a blessing in these difficult economic times as it offers means to connect to the heart, to the divinity that lies within, Rajan Zed adds.