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, January 26, 2011

24 Hour KIRTAN FEB !9 - 20 2011 in BRAMPTON, ONT

THE KIRTANIYAS at the Yoga Sanctuary Feb 18 2011

*click on photo for larger view

Sat Feb 19 @ 10am - Sun Feb 20 @ 10am Ashtaprahar 2011: Toronto 24-Hour Kirtan Festival

@ Hindu Sabha Temple 9225 The Gore Rd, Brampton, ON L6P 0B5

(T) 1.647.928.9860

Ashtaprahar 2011, a nonprofit event is a weekend of celebrated dance, kirtan and unity. The organizing committee is proud to present by far North America’s biggest event ever! The 24-hour non-stop kirtan provides an opportunity for different communities to come together as people are united by the beauty and spirit of the Vedic Indian culture.

*Padayatra Maha-Harinaam: Starts at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 20, 2011
*Bhajan Sandhya: Starts at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 5am Monday Feb 21.


The Ashtaprahar 2011 organizing committee is proud to present the line-up of official kirtaniyas at this years grand 24-hour kirtan festival:


Ajamil Das & Radha Govinda Kirtan Mandali (Toronto, Canada)
Hari Bhakti Dey (Australia)
Maha Bhagavat Dey (Bombay, India)
Gaura Mani Devi Dasi & Param Das (Vrindavan, India)
Keshav Das (Vrindavan, India)
Vrndavana Das (Vrindavan, India)
Rupesh Pandey (Toronto, Canada)
Ayush Sharma (Seattle, USA)
Ramdas Shingdia (DC, USA)
Anish Pillai (Houston, USA)
Krishna Prasad Das (Baltimore, USA)
Gopal Trivedi (Detroit, USA)
Amala Kirtan Das (Dallas, USA)
Chakrini (UK)

Stay tuned and hold tight for announcements regarding the SPECIAL guest kirtaniya who will be announced in the coming weeks

Listen. Can you hear it?

A melody starts, wistful and longing. It sweeps the crowd. The singer closes his eyes and his song bursts forth. It is wrenched from his heart, it seems. We call out in response. It is an easy mantra. Cymbals clash and punctuate a rhythm. Drums begin to throb and thunder.
They say the drum beat represents the heartbeat of God maddened by love.

That’s The Kirtaniyas—four talented performers—all of them singers and musicians. These energetic, multi-talented artists come from a rich, colorful background. They grew up in a Krishna culture of song, dance, philosophy and devotion. At the heart of it all, there was always Kirtan. It owned their passion before they could talk. Restlessly tapping out drum beats till they got on their mothers’ nerves; dreamily humming tunes; studying songs and lyrics and language; learning to play instruments—they were never more passionate about anything.

They live by Kirtan, they relish it day after day, and now they are inviting you to join them:

“How would you tell someone what sugar tastes like when they have never tasted it? How can we describe kirtan? Come and taste it, relish its sweetness for yourself.”

*click on photo for larger view

The Mayapuris

Band Members:
Visvambhar Sheth – Vocals, Harmonium
Krishna Kishor Rico – Flute, Mrdanga
Balaram Tirtha Rico – Mrdanga
Vrinda Sheth – Bharat Natyam Dance

The Mayapuris have crash-landed into the kirtan/chant genre, quickly becoming the most talked-about group in this growing scene of exotic world music. Their story starts in the quiet backcountry of North Central Florida, Alachua, a small village-esque town known to some as the capital of the underground grassroots-kirtan movement in the West.

India 2001: The Mayapuris were teenagers fresh out of international boarding school where they trained in kirtan, a musical art form that has existed for thousands of years. They wanted the sound of their thunderous mridanga drums to shake the globe. Naming their group after the holy village of Mayapur, where the kirtan movement started, The Mayapuris traveled the world enthusing crowds with their dynamic drum dances and kirtan performances. In the summer of 2009, Mantralogy, a division of Equal Vision Records, signed The Mayapuris and placed them in the studio with kirtan producer Gaura Vani (As Kindred Spirits, Prema Hara, Ramya). Their debut albumMridanga (June 22, 2010/Mantralogy) brings a youthful and hip new energy to kirtan.

“Rhythm is a universal language,” explains the Mayapuri drummer, Bali, “It transcends all external barriers. Everything. Race, religion, tongue, creed, culture. It’s the heartbeat of the universe.” The Mayapuris are unique in that they all originally were drummers before they became kirtan multi-instrumentalists. Their music is driven by rhythm. It’s the language they speak best.

The Mayapuris are travelers, kirtan gypsies, the breed of performers who stop keeping count of how many countries they’ve performed in. They hit six continents in 2009, and that was before they had a CD to call their own. After their first album drops, who knows? “There is a small village in India, about an hour outside of Mayapur that holds this prophecy. It’s about two hundred years old,” the lead singer Vish explains, “It says that the thunder of the mridanga drum will resonate throughout the entire world. We want to be a part of that.”

The Mayapuris named their album after their shared love, the mridanga, and it is the heartbeat of their sound. Joined to its rhythm is the stirring musicianship that evolved after years of training, classical instrumentation mixed with the spontaneity of fiery vocals, a place where funk meets math and melody to produce beautiful music. Gaura Vani, accomplished producer and recording artist, captured their unique and powerful sound in the studio. “We couldn’t have had a better person to work with, “Kish, the group’s flute player says, “We’ve been doing music with Gaura since we were teens. He knows us, he gets us. He has a great ear and his arrangements are deep and tasteful. Gaura is the kind of producer who really brings the best out of the people he works with.”

This is not saying that the production was an easy job. The Mayapuris come from a musical background that is as varied as it is unexpected. Vish was in a Boston hardcore punk band after returning from India. When Kish isn’t studying classical Hindustani flute he’s grooving to reggae. Bali was the front man and lyricist for a hip hop group while immersing himself in South Indian Carnatic drumming. And Vrinda cites Michael Jackson as one of the greatest musical/dance influences in her life (this coming from someone who studied in the ‘Ivy League’ of South Indian classical dance). Together they invoke the influence of an international community of musical spirit: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan meets a 21st century group of musical upstarts.

“The great thing about world music is its accessibility.” Vrinda says, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, what language you speak, your cultural background. This kind of music speaks to everyone. Our goal was to make an album that reaches into that common bond the citizens of earth all share, a love for beautiful sound.”

“Our music is the hybrid offspring of our upbringing,” Bali adds, “Mridanga grooves, it builds, it’s an ancient tradition with a fresh spirit.” This is more than a kirtan album, it’s a life story broken up into chapters. It represents the Mayapuris; who they are and what kind of sound they embody. “Our music is infused with emotion, with passion, love, playfulness. We’ve grown up with it. We live it,” says Kish, “The band, the album, the shows…they are an offering. We love making music. We love being Mayapuris.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gaura-Shakti's "An Evening of Bhakti" Fri Feb 4th @ Toronto's Hare Krishna Centre

*click on photo for larger view

Friday February 4 from 6 - 9pm

Gaura-Shakti's "An Evening of Bhakti"

@ The Hare Krishna Centre
243 Avenue Road
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2J6 @ Roxborough.

We would like to warmly invite everyone to experience an "Evening of Bhakti" on Friday, February 4, 2010 at Govinda's Dining at the Hare Krishna Centre.

While we have all become accustomed to seeing the typical images that are conjured up when we think of yoga, it can be an eye-opening experience to learn of "bhakti-yoga" - yoga of the heart. Come and dive into an evening full of divine chanting with Gaura-Shakti and learn more about the ancient teachings of the yoga of love. This will be followed by a delicious vegetarian dinner which will surely leave your tummy as satisfied as your soul!

Bring your family and friends for this unforgettable evening at the Hare Krishna Centre (243 Avenue Road) on Friday, February 4, 2010. See you there!

Please bring a blanket or pillow to sit on.
Enjoy the beautiful kirtan and delicious vegetarian dinner for $10

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


*click on photo for a larger view

January 22, 2011, 8pm
Jim Gelcer's Kirtan Groove Yoga Dance Party
The Yoga Sanctuary, 2 College Street
Featuring the soulful sounds of the Bhakti Groove Machine!
Sing, dance, and move your body to the vibrations of ancient kirtan mantras set to funky grooves by Jim and his Bhakti Babes and Djembe Divas.
$20 adv / $25 door
For more info and to register:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snatam Kaur is coming back to Toronto on Wednesday May 18th

*Click on poster for a larger view

The Wellness Path

Snatam Kaur
Sacred Chant Concert
GuruGanesha Singh
& Ramesh Kannan

May 18

doors open at 7pm

MacMillan Theatre
MacMillan Theatre website
University of Toronto
Faculty of Music
80 Queen's Park Crescent
A 2 minute walk South of Bloor & Avenue Road
Just West of Museum subway station
Behind the Planetarium
At the South end of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)


Single Tickets

In advance
$55 (+$7.15 HST) Front Orchestra (Rows A-F)
$40 (+$5.20 HST) Rear Orchestra (Rows G-T)
$25 (+$3.25 HST) Balcony

At the door
$65 (+$8.45 HST) Front Orchestra (Rows A-F)
$50 (+$6.50 HST) Rear Orchestra (Rows G-T)
$35 (+$4.55 HST) Balcony

reserved seating
MacMillan Theatre seating plan

Group Rates
(available in advance, by phone or in person)

Groups of 10 or more
(a 10% discount)
$49.50 (+$6.44 HST) Front Orchestra (Rows A-F)
$36.00 (+$4.68 HST) Rear Orchestra (Rows G-T)
$22.50 (+$2.93 HST) Balcony

Snatam Kaur personifies the meaning of her name: universal, nucleus, and friend to all. These themes have expressed themselves in a variety of ways throughout her life, and are particularly present in her music.

The sincerity and depth of commitment that this artist brings to her music is firmly rooted in a life of devotion. Soon after her birth in 1972, in the beautiful mountain town of Trinidad, Colorado, Snatam’s parents turned to the teachings and lifestyle of the Sikh tradition and became students of the renowned Kundalini yoga master, Yogi Bhajan. Snatam heard Yogi Bhajan’s teachings at her parents’ side and a close relationship developed between the venerated teacher and the very young pupil. One day, before she was even two, Snatam began to chatter away in the middle of class; Yogi Bhajan stopped speaking, looked over at her and said, “You’ll have your turn soon to teach, little one.” Indeed, Snatam has fulfilled this forecast, teaching yoga, chants, and meditation to both children and adults.

As a musician she shared sacred chants and music at the 3HO Summer and Winter Solstice celebrations in New Mexico and Florida, events that bring together the American Sikh community with yoga students and other spiritual seekers. While practicing with Livtar Singh and Guru Ganesha Singh, all three realized the power of their music together and under the name Peace Family, they recorded an album entitled “Reunion.” The group produced two other recordings: To Heaven and Beyond, and Carry Us Home.In 1997, Snatam began a career as a food technologist for Peace Cereals in Eugene, Oregon. She used her scientific training to help create the Peace Cereal line, among other cereal flavors and healing foods.

In 2000, Snatam signed a record contract with Spirit Voyage Records in Sterling, Virginia, and remains with the label to this day. Guru Ganesha Singh, the founder of Spirit Voyage Records, has served as her guitar player and manager. He has been a positive support in Snatam’s music career, and has helped to bring together many energies and people in the mission of getting the sacred music out.

Since 2001, Snatam accompanied by the Spirit Voyage Ensemble musicians, has been a bright star in the popular chant music genre. Grace, her most recent recording, quickly rose to the top of industry bestseller lists. Shanti, her previous recording, was her second solo effort and an impressive follow-up to her highly acclaimed first solo release, Prem.

Snatam’s uplifting vocals on all three recordings are tastefully enriched by cross-cultural instrumentation. Rhythmic tabla beats punctuate the chants. Piano, sitar, santour, and flute melodies delightfully enhance the spirit of the recording. Thomas Barquee’s brilliant production makes it all shine and the power of Snatam’s devotion is the force that inspires and moves.

“My Guru is the sacred Sound Current, or Naad,” states Snatam. “The experience of creating an album or preparing to perform is for me tuning into the living and breathing consciousness of Sound Current, which for me is the Guru, or Divine Teacher.”

Many of the songs on Snatam’s recordings are ancient chants sung in Gurumukhi, the sacred language of the Sikhs. Other songs are in English. This aptly reflects her upbringing, which frequently bridged two worlds.

“The way that I relate to these sacred chants is that the chants are a living spirit and they enter into my life to bring healing and blessings or whatever I need at that time,” explains Snatam. “I learned about the importance of sound currents from Yogi Bhajan, and I experienced how the energy of these sacred words can have a very real, positive effect.”

For Snatam, the sacred chants of the Sikhs as well as chants from other faiths are an important expression for healing, peace, and social change.

GuruGanesha Singh is an icon of the yoga music genre. A musician deeply devoted to both his craft and the greater landscape of sacred sound, GuruGanesha's contribution to World Sacred Music is manifold. His three solo releases of Sikh-inspired chant music enhanced by his virtuoso guitar work, Joy is Now, Pure Ganesh and Grateful Ganesh, are beloved by his fans world-wide. Pure Ganesh put GuruGanesha Singh on the map as a solo musician, topping New Age charts in early 2007 and receiving high critical acclaim from magazine reviewers in both New Age and Yoga publications. Long before GuruGanesha Singh released his solo albums, he was the force behind many well known chant musicians, including Snatam Kaur, Thomas Barquee, and Mirabai and released several albums with other musicians including Game of Chants with Guru Singh and Grammy-Winning singer, Seal.

Ramesh Kannan

Music and its power to transform and heal has always been a passion for Ramesh Kannan. Growing up in a musical household, the healing power of music was introduced to him at a very young age. His mother, an accomplished carnatic vocalist, started him on tabla drums at the age of 8. His lifelong musical journey has lead him to learn a wide array of percussive instruments including drum set, djembe, dumbek, udu, cajon and many melodic instruments including guitar, bass, and voice. Tabla remains to be Ramesh's discipline and focal instrument.,-GuruGanesha-Singh,-Ramesh-Kannan/TIX-900987.aspx

Friday, January 7, 2011

What is Kirtan?

"Kirtan is a participatory, cross-cultural music experience that incorporates the audience into the performance. This call-and-response sacred experience is swiftly gaining popularity throughout the U. S. as it follows on the heels of the yoga movement. All ages and cultural backgrounds are welcome to the event - no prerequisites for participation.

Though it involves music, the practice of kirtan is not about musical ability or training, it is about the heart. These ancient chants contain powerful healing and transformational energies that serve to reconnect us to the Ever-present Eternal Self that is inherent in all Beings. All the mantras, melodies and instruments are used to lead us toward this meditative state. Although the language of kirtan is often Sanskrit, the true language of kirtan is universal; it is the language of the heart. As part of the bhakti yoga path (devotional), kirtan utilizes nada yoga, the yogic science of sound. Through absorbtion in the sound, the eternal love that lies within each of our hearts can awaken. Chanting the different names and aspects of the divine, by calling out to the divine, we naturally reflect upon and call forth the inner Divine. Indeed, this call-and-response style chanting, is a means of finding our way back to the core of our being, to our heart, and to our connection to each other."

Adapted from

Kirtan is a traditional yogic call-and-response singing of mantra, a practice that can draw participants inside to a meditative state. Singing changes the rate of the breath and facilitates greater awareness of the Divine within all things and all beings. If the spirit moves you...singing (whether you think you are good at it or not) is encouraged!!...and you are also welcome to just come and listen!


(from Clair Oaks)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hridaya Yoga Toronto January 2011

** Click on poster for a large view

Toronto Kirtan + 1 Hr. Meditation Class, Sunday January 16, 2011

TORONTO KIRTAN 7:30-9:30pm


at the Carrot Common, 348 Danforth Ave., Rm. 212 (upstairs), Chester Subway, Toronto, Ontario

Suggested donation $7

Please bring a meditation pillow or blanket.

PLEASE NOTE, Door opens 7:15pm for Kirtan as we have a 1hr Meditation Class prior to the Kirtan.
**If you wish to join us for the Meditation, please arrive by 6:00pm.**

For inquiries contact 416-578-8503 or