Thursday, September 5, 2013

Into the Power of Music: An Interview with Deva Premal & Miten

As a part of our ongoing interview series, Yogi Tunes founder Alex King-Harris recently spoke with Deva Premal and Miten. Our goal for this interview was to broaden and contribute the conversation surrounding music as a healing force in the world. Deva and Miten both have a particularly potent and important insight into the power of music.

Does music contribute your overall health and well being? If so, how?

Deva Premal & Miten: Music in itself is an expression of the 'soundless sound' - meaning, beauty which cannot be expressed in words - but can be heard. Music originally arose as a spiritual experience and as such, contains its own integral healing power.

Music moves all emotionally - whatever style it is played in. We all recognize the different responses to that of a baby's laughter, compared to that of a police siren, say.... so, we agree, all sound has power.

In our case, we use music to enhance the sanskrit texts, known as mantra. Mantras are scientifically formulated sound healing formulas - discovered by the wise ones of ancient india, some 5000 years ago. Refined sound bites, basically.

It's no wonder then, that fusing music with these powerful codes creates a strong response, or reaction. The mantras, fused with the music we play, create a sense of only in the one who chants, but also, in the ones who hear.

Can you remember a time you experienced a profound moment of healing through music?

Deva Premal & Miten: We experience intense and profound healing every time we sing. If we didn't, why would we bother?

The music deva and i create has practically zero entertainment quality - it is not emotional, it's not going to get us in the charts-it doesn't claim to mend broken hearts or revenge love betrayed. It doesn't protest inequalities and political issues...

This music was created in an ashram. It's another dimension... People don't live in ashrams to get famous or concern themselves with inter-personal relationships, or even matters of the world - at least initially. We weren't in an ashram to plot a the music never had any of that essence in it.

When our spiritual teacher, osho, died, we eventually left india and began sharing something of the way he'd taught us to play music, and what we'd experienced, personally, from playing this kind of music - which we did, with other fellow travellers on the path. Eventually the autobahns had to widen to accommodate more and more of those fellow travelers - there are so many of us now, all looking for our life's purpose - looking to make some kind of sense of this life we're living in the 21st century.

Mantras have a potential. We've heard from people who experienced a shift in consciousness when hearing the music, without even knowing what the mantra was actually, there's a power, inherent in the sounds. No translation needed. Just to be open to their power seems to be enough.

What qualities do you feel need to be present in music for it to inspire wellness in the listener?

Deva Premal & Miten: Music needs to contain the quality of pure intention. It needs to be free of any sense of ambition. It needs to have the quality of being nothing more than an offering to spirit - a gift that gives and asks for nothing in return.

If that quality is there - if the musician approaches the mantras from this space, he/she will have an experience of well being, themselves - and that's really the point. If the musician is playing from the place of humility and inner intent, then the music will be received by the listener, and it will transmit the healing power of the mantras.

Was there anyone, anything or any experiences in particular you've had that impact how you choose to express yourself musically?
Deva Premal & Miten: Not really...we're not really kirtan singers, but we love kd and jai and snatam especially. We keep our ears open, but we don't consider ourselves proficient enough as musicians to attempt to actually emulate anybody...!

We can tell you that we love the voices of Bombay Jayashree, Bobby McFerrin, the late Jagjit Singh, Bob Marley, and Blind Willy Johnson. The music covers a wide horizon ... we like that, it keeps things open and healthy and without borders, you can experiment unselfconsciously. Which is basically what we do when we record. 'A deeper light' is an experiment. 'Password' was an experiment. 'The essence' certainly was.

Through early November - 2013, Deva & Miten with bansuri maestro Manose and keyboard wizard Maneesh de Moor are on tour in the USA and Canada. Tour details and tickets are available at BrightStar Live Events.

More about Deva Premal & Miten
Deva Premal & Miten began their journey into love and music in 1990 when they met at the ashram of controversial Indian mystic, Osho. Their worldwide concerts and best-selling albums have since introduced millions of Westerners to the joy and deep relaxation found in spiritually based songs and chanting mantras from the Eastern meditation traditions.

Deva & Miten have released a string of acclaimed CDs with sales exceeding one million, and their concerts have moved from yoga studios to audiences of thousands in concert halls, cathedrals and music festivals around the planet.

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