April 20th, 2009, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA. Elegant and prestigious Benaroya Hall was the venu for the Seattle Songs of the Soul concert tour as musicians travelled from New York to the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver this April. The capacity crowd listened in meditative silence to numerous ensemble groups and soloists performing unique interpretations of Sri Chinmoy's music. The evening ended with the thunderous performance of the Gandharva Loka Orchestra.
"Welcome to Songs of the Soul, a concert series celebrating the music of Sri Chinmoy. During his lifetime, Sri Chinmoy composed thousands of short lyrical songs, alternating between English and his native language, Bengali. Tonight, his students from various countries will offer their interpretations and arrangements of some of these pieces.
Each of Sri Chinmoy’s songs expresses something of the human condition – the search for meaning and happiness; the ideals of truth and peace; a sense of wonder at the beauty of nature.
His melodies capture the enchanting rhythms of the Indian sub-continent and uniquely lend themselves to the exotic instruments of the East – sitar, erhu, santoor, harmonium and tabla – as well as traditional Western instruments. Sri Chinmoy himself regularly used to perform on the esraj, a bowed instrument from northern India.
Sri Chinmoy believed that music is a universal language through which the hearts and minds of the audience and the performers can blend together. Music carries us beyond barriers of race, language and culture. “It is through music,” he wrote, “that the universal feeling of oneness can be achieved in the twinkling of an eye.”
He urged: “Let us not try to understand music with our mind. Let us not even try to feel it with our heart. Let us simply and spontaneously allow the music-bird to fly in our heart-sky.”
THE EVENING’S PROGRAM
Dundubhi Dikel | (Switzerland): Classical violin
Adesh Widmer & Sadanand Magee | (Switzerland/Ireland): Sitar and tabla
Adarsha Kelly | (Scotland): Tenor solo
Equinox | (USA): Jazz sounds on guitar, soprano saxophone and flute
Rupali | (International): A cappella women’s chorus
Mandu & Visuddhi Trummer | (Austria): Haunting harp and erhu
Paree’s International Group | A choral presentation
Video of Sri Chinmoy | Playing a selection of musical instruments
Gandharva Loka Orchestra | (International): Contemporary fusion
“You opened my heart door more than it has been opened in a long time…thank you.”
“This show was amazing! I truly enjoyed it. It was my first time but I hope it won’t be my last.”
“The passion and faith of the performers comes through the music. Sri Chinmoy has started something…”
“Incredible! The encore moved me to tears. It kept amazing me more and more. “