Renowned kirtan chant master Krishna Das returns to The Studio Maui on Sunday, accompanied by Daniel Paul on tabla percussion. Touring in support of his latest CD, "Heart As Wide As The World," Krishna Das arrives on Maui after performing in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Holland.
Sometimes described as "the rock star of spiritual music," Krishna Das, commonly known as KD, has collaborated on past recordings with Sting, Steely Dan's Walter Becker, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen and Beastie Boy Mike D.
His latest CD is more rock-flavored than any previous release, accompanied by musicians like drummer Jerry Marotta, who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Sarah McLachlan, and former Pat Metheny Group bassist Mark Egan.
Krishna Das is pictured playing the harmonium. He will lead kirtan chanting at 7 p.m. Sunday at The Studio Maui in Haiku.
Previously describing his chanting style as founded on rock 'n' roll melodies, he explains: "It's just in my blood, that's how I hear the music in my head. Some time ago when he came to hear me on Maui, Walter Becker said we ought to do a garage band record of these chants, because that's what you're hearing. And he was right. So it's been in my mind to do it."
Probably the most rocking chant finds KD fusing "Naaraayana" with the classic Yardbirds' hit "For Your Love." "The whole song came out in a sound check," he says. "We were just fooling around and it happened."
Raised on rock and blues, KD discovered Hindu chanting in the late 1960s during a pilgrimage to India. This transformational journey and the impact of meeting his remarkable guru, Neem Karoli Baba, is detailed in a new autobiography, "Chants of a Lifetime," which also includes an accompanying CD.
Krishna Das will lead kirtan chanting accompanied by Daniel Paul on tabla at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Studio Maui in Haiku. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. Preshow dinner entrees, raw desserts and beverages will be available.
"The book really lets people get a feeling of where I'm coming from, and I get to share a bunch of experiences that led me to do what I do," he says. "I think it came out good."
In the chapter "Love Serve Remember," he writes: "Through practices like chanting we begin to get in touch with a different place inside. There's goodness, a beauty, and a love that lives in our hearts. When our attention is on the repetition of the Name, we're not so focused on our own path or discomfort. We care less about ourselves and our own stuff. Heavy states of mind pass away and are replaced by a more buoyant state of contentment."
In these troubled times, KD says, he notices that more and more folks seem drawn to attending kirtan sessions, seeking solace and a salve to ease stress and find a sense of peace.
"People are really looking for a way to deal with the stress and the uncertainty and anxiety that destroys the quality of our lives," he says. "They're trying to find a way to deal with it and chanting is an easy way and most people like to sing. As the level of stress and anxiety increases, you have to find a way to deal with it."
We can always count on Maui's Ebb & Flow Arts organization to present innovative musical programs at no cost to the public, and beginning Saturday it will feature a series of concerts at the Seabury Hall Performing Arts Studio. The shows will encompass acclaimed classical virtuosos from California, progressive jazz from Europe and original multimedia performances, with more than 20 musicians, dancers, painters and performance artists participating.
Based on concepts of innovative architect/futurist Buckminster Fuller, Saturday's "An Evening of Synergy" concert will start at 7:30 p.m. to feature original music, dance, narration, video, aromas and staging.
"Tony Walholm brought the idea to the group," explains Ebb & Flow's founder/pianist/composer Robert Pollock. "We've gone a little further with this event in that we're going to integrate the evening with video and narration of poems by Kandinsky, and the stage design will reflect some of Fuller's ideas with large tetrahedrons and other Platonic solids. I'll perform a work called 'Synchronism #6' by Mario Davidovsky, which involves electronic sound with piano, and there will be a moment when we invite audience participation - so bring your dance shoes and musical instruments."
Participating artists, musicians and dancers at the concert include Jamy Woodbury, Lisa Gagnon, Frances Kane, Hallie Hunt, Todd van Amburgh, Janet Davis, Frances Ku, John Zangrando, Paul Marchetti and Bob Harrison, among others.
On Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. the "Chamber Music from San Francisco" program will feature special guests violinists Sarn Oliver and Mariko Smiley, and pianist Jerry Kuderna.
"Sarn was a child prodigy and recently started composing, so there will be original works of his, and there will be a piece by his father," says Pollock. "Sarn and Jerry will play a Beethoven sonata, and the program will close with an unusual composition for two violins and piano by Bohuslav Martinu." The concert will also include works by Maurice Ravel, Elliott Carter and Milton Babbitt.
"Both Sarn and Jerry went to Julliard and yet they've devoted themselves to modern music, which most musicians with that level of training tend not to do," Pollock adds. "At our December concert, Jerry received three standing ovations."
And finally at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7, a "Progressive Jazz from Germany and American Moderns" concert at Seabury will spotlight vocalist Cecile Verny and bassist Bernd Heltzler from Germany, supported by Marchetti on percussion and Shiro Mori on piano.
"Cecile and Bernd are excellent jazz musicians who have written a number of original pieces," says Pollock. "Their music is very delicate and sparse."
The evening will open with Oliver and Kuderna playing "Ravel's Second Sonata." "And Jerry will play the 'Third Piano Sonata by Roger Sessions,' a hugely difficult, 20-minute work," he notes.
In conjunction with the concerts, two educational programs will be offered at the Maui Music Conservatory in the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center from 7:30 to 9 p.m. July 29, with Pollock discussing modern music, and from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 5, with Kuderna and Oliver hosting a master class for music students.
"Of course everything is free, thanks to the Maui County's Office of Economic Development in cooperation with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and mainly the AHS Foundation," Pollock says. "We're able to carry on, which considering the times we are in, is a pretty good accomplishment."
Summer on Maui means reggae fest time, and fifth annual Reggae in the Valley show takes place Saturday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Event Lawn, with a host of local talent including Fiji, Ten Feet, Natural Vibes, Sly Dog, Rushouze All Stars, Dani Girl, Maoli, Kolohe Kai and Mana'o Company.
Gates open at 4 p.m.; show starts at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 day of show. Call 242-7469.
Besides keeping Hawaiian slack key guitar alive on Maui with weekly concerts at the Napili Kai Beach Resort, multiple Grammy and Na Hoku award-winning musician George Kahumoku Jr. will also host his Masters of Hawaiian Music show Friday and Saturday at Stella Blues Supper Club.
Joining George are acclaimed Hawaiian musician Richard Ho'opi'i on ukulele, plus Garrett Probst on ukulele and Sterling Seaton on slack key.
Tickets for four-course dinner and show is $60. Dinner starts at 6 p.m., with the show at 7:30 p.m. Call 874-3779 for reservations.
Every summer, in between touring the world and teaching at the Yale School of Music, brilliant classical guitarist Ben Verdery hosts his annual guitar master class on Maui. Besides presenting a concert in Keokea, Ben hosts two student concerts featuring guitar music with solos and ensembles.
On Tuesday they will perform at 7 p.m. at the Lahaina Jodo Mission, with donations requested at the door to benefit the mission. And on Wednesday at 7 p.m. the students perform at Makena's Keawala'i Congregational Church, with donations requested to benefit the church.
"It will be an array of pieces from around the world for classical guitar, including South American music and a little Bach," Verdery explains. "It will be the same concert at both venues."
Among the highlights, Oahu-born guitarist Ian O'Sullivan will present the world premiere of a new work played by 20 guitarists. "Ian's studying at Yale now and came to our master classes on Maui for six years," Verdery says. "He will be the first student from Hawaii to graduate in guitar from Yale. So we'll premiere his new piece."
"We also have an arrangement of the Hawaiian song "Pupu Hinu Hinu" (composed by Aunty Nona Beamer). Twenty guitarists will play it and hopefully the audience will sing it as well. I'm very excited. I want to play this piece every year; it will be like a theme song."