Toronto Kirtan Community

Toronto Kirtan Community
Kirtan Forever!

~ Connecting & Creating Community for Kirtan Lovers in Toronto and Beyond ~

ALL known kirtans are posted below on this website's Kirtan Calendar, on the left side above the list of links.

To receive a weekly newsletter listing kirtan events or to have your kirtan posted, please email

On FaceBook: 'TorontoKirtanCommunity' group: I post the upcoming week's kirtans, as well as interesting articles, videos, photos, links about events and artists.

On Facebook's 'TorontoKirtanCommunity' page: links and information about kirtan and musicians are posted.



Kirtan opens the heart and stills the mind. It is the yoga practice of ecstatic chanting. Through repeating the Divine Names in Sanskrit, the mind is cleared of worry, doubt, fear and all limiting concepts. The joy of peace and infinite love is given to the practitioner, and transmitted through the world by chanting. This is the practice of bhakti yoga or the yoga of devotion. - contributed by Pat Sandford

“Music that is saturated with soul force is the real universal music, understandable by all hearts.” — Paramahansa Yogananda

“Kirtan is for all people. There are no experts, no beginners. The practice itself is the teacher, guiding us to ourselves. Kirtan allows us to enter into a mystery world—a world where all the logic of our minds, all the condition and learning are left outside. And in this mystery, we create a temple inside of our hearts, a place of refuge, a place of love, a place of just being.” —Jai Uttal

"Chanting is a way of getting in touch with yourself. It's an opening of the heart and letting go of the mind and thoughts. It deepens the channel of grace, and it's a way of being present in the moment." -- Krishna Das

"You start doing chanting as technique. You start to sing ‘Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram.’ You start thinking it means, Honorable Ram, Hail Ram, Hail Hail Ram. Then after an hour you stop thinking about all of that and you are just singing it. You are realizing the aesthetic of the music and how beautiful it is. Then after a while it starts to go deeper until your heart is just singing, it’s singing from inside you. Then there’s a point where true bhakti starts- where dualism ends and you become like the chant. You are in a space where it’s not emotional anymore. It’s moved into the deeper, intuitive quality of love. Touching that love leaves you with trust in the method and trust in where the method takes you—trust in the Beloved and trust in how you get there." –Ram Dass

"If we know anything about a path at all, it's only because of the Great ones that have gone before us. Out of their love and kindness, they have left some footprints for us to follow. So, in the same way that they wish for us, we wish that all beings everywhere, including ourselves, be safe, be happy, have good health, and enough to eat. And may we all live at ease of heart with whatever comes to us in life."
- Kirtan closing prayer by Krishna Das

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chanting Heals the Heart.

A great read for those of you who have stopped by wondering just what this kirtan thing is, or even a sweet reminder for those of us who know the practice all too well This article beautifully describes just why kirtan lovers are so passionate about the practice. All I would add is that the practice of kirtan creates a feeling of connection between the participants, a welcome relief from the feeling of separation that we often experience in our everyday lives.

(from New England Kirtan Meet-Up )

Meditation doesn't come easy for many people. And that's where kirtan-an ancient participatory music experience-offers another method. Without the work of mentally quieting the mind, kirtan can carry us effortlessly to a place of quiet, to stillness. One of the oldest sacred music traditions of the world, the kirtan call-and-response chanting genre comes to us from India. Using ancient Sanskrit mantras, the kirtan calls upon sacred energies which serve to quiet the mind, remove obstacles, and bring us back to the center of our being.

Freedom from the Daily Chatter.
By repeating simple mantras over and over, faster and faster, the kirtan is an easy way for people to experience some freedom from the daily chatter of the mind. And while it is true that we can sing these chants in the solitude of our own home, there is nothing like the magic of chanting live with musicians and hundreds of participants-from kids to seniors-all adding their energy to the chant. People often say they feel "buzzed" for days following such a chanting experience.

Absorb the Vibrations, Ignite the Spirits.
So what gives us that buzz? Something about the kirtan experience goes beyond the music itself, goes to a deeper experience of vibration. We all resonate at different frequencies, and these frequencies change according to what we are doing and thinking. So when we are all doing the same thing-chanting, breathing, and moving to the same rhythms-our vibrations begin to synchronize and the resulting experience is very powerful. The laws of vibration help us out here, because vibrations align themselves to stronger vibrations, so even if you're having a truly rotten day, it may be difficult to hold onto those feelings during the chant experience. If you were only to sit in the room without participating, the idea is that you could still feel the shift. Something happens-the energy begins to activate the spirit that exists within us all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GIRISH ~ In Ottawa this weekend....

GIRISH, chant, kirtan singer at PranaShanti Yoga Centre in Ottawa to celebrate his latest release, Diamonds in the Sun.

Ottawa Ontario – Girish, a cutting edge Sanskrit chant and kirtan singer, will be performing live at PranaShanti Yoga Centre in Ottawa, April 23-25, 2010, to celebrate his new release Diamonds in the Sun.
Girish will be performing solo in Maria Figueroa’s class on Friday April 23 at 7:30pm, and in Jennifer Stackhouse’s class on Saturday April 24 at 1pm. Live music and yoga classes are a magical experience with Girish singing powerful Sanskrit chants set to his original modern melodies, allowing for a deeper yoga experience.
Saturday April 24 at 7:30pm, Girish will be performing with his talented and eclectic band for an evening of inspired kirtan. You’ll find yourself singing, dancing, moving and grooving as you join the band in ecstatic chant.
Sunday April 25 at 3pm, Girish will be offering a three hour chant workshop for those who would like a more intimate experience with Sanskrit chants, hymns, and Bhakti Yoga.
“Girish's new album is exquisite! Rich, whole sounds fill my heart as I listen to his smooth soulful vocals and accompanying instrumentation. The opening of Diamonds sends tingles through my body - I immediately connected to the mantras and joined in singing.” ~ Devinder Kaur, Owner and Director, PranaShanti Yoga Centre.
Girish’s new release, “Diamonds in the Sun” is a monumental offering of transcendent melodies and earthy grooves. Girish joins his lush, soulful vocals with a global cast of award winning musicians in a perfect blend of musical styles, pure inspiration, tender ballads, and an awesome combination of chant form and English lyrics. "Diamonds in the Sun" is a fresh, eclectic blend that is by turns intimate, peaceful, and inspiring, and then vibrant, passionate, and playful. A welcome reminder that just below the surface of who we think we are, we all are “Diamonds in The Sun”.
Girish is a singer, songwriter, session tabla player, producer, and yoga philosophy teacher whose life journey has been marked by a series of profound transformations. He has gone from aspiring jazz drummer to renunciant Hindu monk to first call tabla guru for the likes of Krishna Das to solo mantra troubadour, and he’s not done yet.
Girish is currently on tour to support Diamonds in the Sun (Mondolaya, April 2010). His widely acclaimed Yoga Vision (Mondolaya, January 2008) Shiva Machine (Spirit Voyage, October, 2005) and Reveal (Mondolaya, May, 2004) cds, dvds, and tours popularized his original music in yoga studios, churches, and music festivals all over the world.
Ottawa Tour Schedule:
Friday April 23, 7:30pm, Yoga with Maria Figueroa, Live Music with Girish
Saturday April 24, 1pm, Yoga with Jennifer Stackhouse, Live Music with Girish
Saturday April 24, 7:30pm, Girish Kirtan
Sunday April 25, 3pm, Girish Chant Workshop

PranaShanti Yoga Centre
52 Armstrong Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada,
613-761-9642 (YOGA).

More tour information at,
Press information, contact:
Virginia Rodriguez

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Brings a Minestrone of Kirtan Choices to Toronto

Sweet Chanters:
Being human, we all have our preferences, right? We sort and categorize life by what we like and what we don't... Even when it comes down to kirtan, after you've tried a few different varieties, you know what lifts you up, and blisses you out, and what leaves you wishing you'd opted for an early night. It's human nature.... and leaves me feeling an abundance of gratitude for how many choices we have in the Toronto area....

For those who like a mellow, smaller gathering with non-amplified music there are many regular kirtan gatherings around the city...
For the sweet taste of Krishna chants, check out another of our favourite local kirtan bands, Gaura-Shakti, who pop up frequently around the city at health shows, yoga shows, yoga studios, and Hindu temples.

For amplified music, and a more energetic evening, we can dust off our dancing shoes for Francesco's birthday kirtan at Vivace's Studio on Sat May 9th. On May 29th and 30th we are very excited to be able to welcome Mike Cohen and his band to Downward Dog for Kirtan and a Bhakti & Beyond Workshop. Mike has spent almost a year on the road taking his Funky Datta kirtan from Columbus to Colorado to Costa Rica and just about all points in between.

For sweet chants from the Sikh branch of the Bhakti Yoga tree, we are blessed with the presence of Snatam Kaur (pictured above) on Wed May 19th 7:30 at MacMillan Theatre, U of T.
Ram Dass said, 'In Snatam's voice, there is purity, clarity and love.'

What a fine kirtan soup we have to choose from! For full details on all gatherings in Toronto & Beyond, please check our Kirtan Calendar.
Happy Choosing! Choose one spoonful, or go for the whole bowl of kirtan soup! Om Shanti!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kirtan on Saturday night? You betcha! Swaha at Downward Dog!

Make sure you don't miss Toronto's gift to the kirtan scene at Downward Dog Yoga Studio this coming Saturday evening! Come and join us for what is guaranteed to be a joyful spirit-lifting kirtan experience! BOLO!!
Music review: Swaha's "Bolo!"Yoga Chicago Magazine, March-April 2009 Issue

"Swaha! are Toronto's gift to the kirtan scene. Their latest CD, titled Bolo! (the Sanskrit command "to sing"), is great music to chant along with. They have their groove on just right. Meenakshi and Ron Reid, Swaha's members, are rooted in the ancient tradition of Sanskrit chant, yet are steeped in the familiar beauty and wealth of rock 'n' roll. In other words, just when you're thinking you are listening to a mellow yoga release, something happens, and the whole thing becomes bigger, more psychedelic and more moving than you expect. Dave Stringer adds his voice to three tracks, adding depth to the mix, as well as some nice tenor harmonies. I love the last track, "Nataraj," which leaves me invigorated, chanting "Om Namah Sivaya," ready for more. And their tempos are--how do I say--sublime."
- reviewed by Debi Winston-Buzil
For advance ticket info click below:
To listen to Swaha, click here: