Deva Premal & Miten’s extraordinary new album, Songs for the Sangha, weaves ancient mantras with songs celebrating inner journeys, melding many different musical and spiritual traditions in a joyous flow.
Deva & Miten are joined as always by Nepalese bansuri maestro Manose, along with Canadian multi-instrumentalist & Grammy-nominated record producer Joby Baker, and noted UK keyboard wizard Spencer Cozens (John Martyn-Joan Armatrading). Together, they create a unique soundscape, moving with fearless grace between Indian chant motifs, Western classical piano riffs, swampy reggae grooves and rich soul/jazz inflections.
Songs for the Sangha offers a loving invitation to move from the daily rush of “doing” into deeper realms of simply “being.” Play it driving to work, play it cooking dinner, play it in your yoga studio, in the bedroom, or in your ear buds as you walk down city streets.
The music is there to support and entice – as the beautiful Rumi poem featured in the final track says, “Draw near, draw near and I will whisper in your ear, the name whose radiance makes the spheres to dance. OM…
“Deva Premal remains the one all others are measured by in sacred music circles. Deva’s ethereal, velvety voice brings a warm embrace to the venerable chants; that unmistakable voice has carried these healing sounds into hearts worldwide for over two two decades. Miten offers beautiful, often bluesy songs composed with a depth of feeling and maturity, while Manose’s exquisite bansuri flutes carry from his native Nepal breezes that shimmer throughout the album. Meanwhile, Canada’s Grammy-nominated bassist Joby Baker and English pianist co-create unique soundscapes, moving from Western classical piano to swampy reggae grooves with rich jazz and soul inflections. Songs for the Sangha is a proverbial magic carpet ride….” –Lloyd Barde, Common Ground, July/Aug 2015
“There is a consistency in the kirtan genre that is pleasing but often predictable, and while there is a place for purists, some of kirtan’s most delightful musical moments emerge when it’s used in new ways. On Songs for the Sangha, Deva and Miten enhance the convention with nature sounds, a reggae-pop backup on some cuts and the refreshing jazz piano of Spencer Cozens. Deva’s clear soothing voice and Manose’s masterful flute are still there, but now Miten—who sings in live performances but usually stays in the background on recordings—steps forward on fully half the album, particularly shining on his adaptation of a Rumi poem in Draw Near.
“Then there’s Sarveshaam Mantra, a musical detour reminiscent of the Muslim call to prayer. And percussion on Brahma Gayatri Mantra and Guru Mantra that brings to mind recordings by jazz great Pharaoh Sanders.
“The word sangha means ‘spiritual family’ or ‘spiritual community’. Songs for the Sangha is also a musical community—wide-ranging, diverse, harmonious and ultimately pleasing.” -Abigail Lewis, Whole Life Times, Oct 2015
“Any time a new album from Deva Premal and Miten surfaces it is a reason to celebrate. Their gentle, contemplative music is very heart-centric, offering the listener an oasis of spiritual peace for meditation and relaxation practices. Songs for the Sangha follows suit. With this release, the pair is joined by Nepalese flutist Manose, keyboard maestro Spencer Cozens and producer Joby Baker for a musical journey filled with chant, uplifting spiritual folk music and cross-cultural influences…. The smooth interplay between Premal and Miten is the album’s centerpiece; their smooth, low-toned voices blending beautifully against Manose’s bright, airy flute tones.” -Music Design, June 2015