Acclaimed Indian Classical Vocalist Celebrates The Legacy Of Hindu Mystic Poet Meera Bai
By Stevie Connor.
Meera is a collection of eight enchanting bhajans (devotional songs), written by the 16th-century Indian saint and mystic poet, Meera Bai; and presented by award winning Indian classical vocalist Kamini Natarajan. These heartfelt tracks beautifully explore a range of emotions, from devotion and surrender to love and longing, joy and apprehension, respect and gratitude.
The eight tracks on Meera feature Indian Classical instruments such as sitar, tabla, khanjira, ghatam, and bansuri. While cello, bass and a light sprinkle of synths bring in slight western element and provide a rich, immersive sound. Each bhajan immerses the listener in a divine journey. This album is a powerful reminder of the timeless beauty of Meera Bai's poetry. It is also a significant contribution to the effort to bring her work to a wider audience in the modern world.
“It was my mother, Uma Natarajan, who first composed these songs in the 1990s," explains Kamini, "and they have ignited my passion for music ever since. This album brings out the essence of my musical journey and represents it in a nutshell. I’m blessed to have collaborated with a talented group of artists on this project. Eddie Young on Cello, Will Marsh on sitar, Dr Ashish Ranade on Tabla, have all contributed their extraordinary talents to bring these bhajans to life.”
In a time when women were often confined to the domestic sphere, Meera Bai defied convention and spoke her truth. She wrote openly about her love for Krishna, and she refused to let anyone dictate her choices. Her poems are a testament to the power of the human spirit, and they inspire women to be true to themselves and to fight for their freedom. Meera Bai’s poetry is also relevant to the modern day quest for freedom for all. Her poems speak to the importance of love, compassion, and understanding. They remind us that we are all connected, and that we must work together to create a more just and equitable world.
Kamini’s musical journey started in central India with her mother Uma Natarajan. Kamini comes from a long line of devotional singers going back five generations in her family -- and is already passing on that tradition to her daughter, Shivali, who began performing at the age of four. Kamini started learning the intricacies and nuances of Indian Classical Music when she was six years old. She spent hours coming up with various improvisations at different time signatures. At the age of ten, Kamini started her rigorous vocal training under the masters of Indian Classical Music. She graduated in vocal music and was in the top position at her University. After years of immersive training, Kamini started performing at various national level music festivals and her performances were judged as “Outstanding” by experts in the field. Kamini was one of the youngest graded artists from All India Radio, Indore (India), and she regularly appeared in National Television of India.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2002, Kamini collaborated with various music producers and composers. Her song “Devi" is featured along with Anoushka Shankar and Talvin Singh on the Tantra Lounge album. Kamini’s versatility and deep knowledge of music allows her to easily sing and improvise over wide genres of music. She has collaborated with musicians across multiple genres: rock, EDM, Armenian and Persian music, and jazz.
In 2020 Kamini collaborated with GRAMMY-nominated Jai Uttal on the track "Om Namo Bhagavate" from Chants for Meditation Volume 2. Recently she has lent her voice for a song “Karma” in a rock music album with Michael Cutting. Her album Chants for Meditation with composer and producer Ken Elkinson received rave reviews from fans of New Age, World and Yoga Music. Her song was featured in the documentary Child Of Nature. Her song “Tarela” with Armenian singer Vartan went viral and has over a million views on YouTube. Kamini has also composed and recorded music for Terrence McNally’s play The Perfect Ganesh. She also recorded vocals for NPR’s The Imperfect Paradise.
Kamini has performed at major music festivals across California and worldwide: Bhakti Fest, Shakti Fest, Moksha, World Cultural Fest, Yoga Fest, Modesto Unplugged Music Festival, Carlsbad Music Festival, One Love Experience Festival, Veda Mela etc. She has been one of the first Indian Classical singers to perform at some of these events.
Kamini currently lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches Indian classical Music, performs and records. She performs Indian classical and Kirtan devotional music. Kamini frequently performs in the Southern California area and is a much sought after Kirtan artist. Her command over intricacies of Raga and her soulful voice leave the audience mesmerized and asking for an encore. Her ebook Indian Ragas for Kirtans is a must have guide to learners of Indian Ragas. Her music is spiritual, mystical and simply engaging. She incorporates intricate Ragas and traditional rhythm patterns – “Taals” and lifts listeners into a higher state of consciousness- a state of pure bliss, away from day-to-day stress.
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