by Erin Mathiason
Erik Vienneau and Dakini Ma co-created Denver Chant Fest for peace, for healing and for light. Denver Chant Fest kicked off tonight and already exceeds my expectations with this inaugural event. I roll out my mat tonight with hundreds of other chant festers for a class with Janet Stone. Even before class began, I spot old friends, local yoga studio owners, the yoga teacher I took class with yesterday, and new friends to meet. I have not taken class with Janet Stone before, but my mat neighbor Kristina practiced with Janet Stone at last summer’s Wanderlust Festival. Shawndra, my neighbor behind me, heard about Denver Chant Fest from two of her CorePower teachers, both of whom, she told me, are up near the stage. Shawdra is attending Denver Chant Fest with her daughter Brittany. All three are new to kirtan and are excited for the experience.
Erik Vienneau and Dakini Ma offer opening remarks. “We are all here to help rise each other up,” Dakini reminded us. Manoj and Jyoti Chalam complete the opening ceremony with a beautiful Ganesha invocation to remove obstacles and move into the light.Read More
by Erin Mathiason
I’m a yoga festival junkie. I’ve been to Hanuman, Wanderlust and Tadasana, and too many Yoga Journal Conferences to count. The first Denver Chant Fest? As you can imagine, I’m excitedly counting down the days. But maybe you’re just not sure yet if you’re going. Here’s eleven reasons from this yoga festival junkie why you should attend Denver Chant Fest (it’s just too good to narrow down to ten!):
The Chanting. While this may seem obvious to those of you who already love the call and response chanting known as kirtan, what if you’ve never tried it before? No prior experience is necessary, and you don’t have to be a Sanskrit scholar or even know a single Sanskrit word to fully participate. Expect to experience some of the best (and best known) bhakti musicians/kirtan leaders in the country, including Jai Uttal and Dave Stringer. C.C. White may be newer to the kirtan scene, but with her amazingly soulful voice and incredible energy, you don’t want to miss her! Whether you’re up dancing or meditating during kirtan, prepare to be taken into an experience of bliss and love.
The Yoga. I’ll be taking classes with Janet Stone and Bryan Kest for the first time at Denver Chant Fest and I can’t wait! Janet Stone kicks off DCF with “Down n Dirty/Ganesha in Motion” on Friday night with DJ Drez providing the beats. One word comes to mind: empowerment! Bryan Kest studied in India with K. Pattabhi Jois, the man who brought Ashtanga Yoga to this country. Need I say more? Like Govindas and Radha, Saul David Raye will be teaching yoga and leading kirtan during the event. Raye, one of my favorite teachers, may be a little more chill with the yoga, but his devotion always shines through.
It’s Local. This home-grown festival ain’t no corporate yoga conference. The organizers of this event are the same local yoga practitioners who bring you Friday Night Yoga Club, Yoga Rocks the Park and CorePower Stapleton. The Denver Chant Fest line-up includes some of the best yoga instructors and kirtan leaders from the area including Shannon Paige, the Pushpams, Patrick Harrington, and Scott and Shanti Medina (to name only a few). And what a great way to meet other Denver yogis and yoginis!
The Venue. The Sherman Street Event Center is no ordinary venue. According to the website, “The Sherman Street Event Center was built in 1906 and features a beautiful Byzantine themed grand ballroom with a wraparound mezzanine. . .It is considered to be the finest example of Moorish Revival architecture in the region and is listed on both the National and Colorado Registry of Historic Places. . .” The Sherman Street Event Center is located at 1770 Sherman, close to hotels for out of town participants; the Warwick and Hampton Inn & Suites are offering discount reservations. The venue is also near to nightlife spots if you want to keep the groove going and coffee shops for an early morning boost.
The new, national-level chant and yoga festival, the DENVER CHANT FEST, is making its debut in Colorado February 15-17 2013. One of the first winter festivals of its kind in the US, the DENVER CHANT FEST will gather the nation’s top Bhakti (spiritual song) musicians including Jai Uttal, Dave Stringer, C.C. White, Govindas and Radha and beloved sound-smiths including DJ Drez, The Luminaries and an array of local live musicians and DJs.
Internationally-beloved yoga instructors including Bryan Kest, Janet Stone and Saul David Raye are all on-board to rock festival-goers’ souls in the beautiful Rocky Mountain State of Colorado. On President’s Day weekend, the Fest is the perfect taking-off point for a week-long winter adventure in theMileHighState.
Held at the stunning, historic Sherman Street Event Center located less than a half-hour drive from Denver International Airport the DENVER CHANT FEST will be a weekend-long festival packed with ground breaking, soul-stirring conscious live music, top-notch yoga instruction and wellness vendors from across the US whose main intention is to help festival attendees experience the Beloved-heart space and manifest the most health-filled life possible.
For the uninitiated Chant, traditionally called Kirtan (pronounced “keer-tan”), is a call and response method of song used by Bhakti (heart-centered) Yoga practitioners to connect with the divine and generate a blissful, peaceful state. Dave Stringer, who has been widely profiled in publications all over the world as one of the most innovative artists of the new Kirtan movement, is Friday night’s featured musician. Stringer’s sound marries the transcendent mysticism of traditional Indian instruments with the exuberant, groove-oriented sensibility of American gospel. Followed by the Kirtan one of the yoga-world’s most-loved DJs, DJ Drez will take festival-goers on a world-music inspired sonic journey.
On Saturday night one of the chant world’s most iconic leaders, Jai Uttal, will make his return toColorado. Grammy nominated, Jai Uttal, is a pioneer in the world music community with his eclectic “East-meets-West” sound. Uttal’s latest blend of sound is a unique mixture of reggae, ska, and samba rhythms, used as a backdrop for call and response, dance-oriented Kirtan.
On Sunday festival-goers can practice with Saul David Raye, an internationally acclaimed teacher, healer and spiritual activist known for his empowering and transformational approach to yoga, healing and spirituality. In addition, Saul David Raye is offering a post- festival workshop on Sunday, Feb 17 from 2:30 to 5 pm.Read More