Blue Spirit Wheel is a progressive evolution in the world of mantra music. Based on the fundamental rhythms contained within the Sanskrit language, the band uses solid bass grooves, dancing tabla beats and an improvisational vocal style to create soundscapes that draw the listener into a deep state of meditation and consciousness expansion. The audience is invited to participate by chanting simple mantras along with the music, or interact with the sounds through dance and movement, or enter a receptive meditative space where the vibrations of the Sanskrit bija mantras create powerful energy shifts.
The musicians in Blue Spirit Wheel bring together a diverse range of stylistic and cultural influences, ranging from rock and jazz to choral and a cappella to Indian classical and world grooves. All of these sounds are woven into a coherent whole and placed in the service of spiritual transformation.
Ian Boccio (voice, bass guitar) has been practicing Mantra Yoga since 2005 and teaches workshops and intensives on Sanskrit mantra around the US. He is also a founder and chant leader of the kirtan group Bhakti Messenger and Creative Director for the ChantLanta Sacred Music Festival, through which he has dedicated himself to help raise the consciousness of the South. Following a 25 year career as a bass guitarist in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and now Atlanta, Ian began singing after he devoted his life to yoga practice and with the help of his teachers Shri Karunamayi, Clair Oaks, Vyaas Houston and Swami Nirmalananda. His deep, sonorous voice, resonant with harmonic overtones, serves as a channel for spiritual energy shaped by the forms of Sanskrit syllables to create healing, happiness and knowledge of one's true life purpose.
Stephanie Kohler (voice, harmonium) is an Atlanta native, although she has traveled extensively overseas both for study and work. A lifelong musician, she first participated in kirtan while living in India. That inspiration eventually led to playing with several kirtan groups around Atlanta, plus performances at Bonnaroo in 2011. An active facilitator in Atlanta's yoga community, she teaches at Ashtanga Yoga Atlanta and helps to organize Chantlanta. She is also a freelance writer.
Jeffrey Lidke (voice, tabla) is chair of the Department of Religion at Berry College in Rome, GA. A specialist in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, Jeffrey is a tied disciple of Pandit Homnath Upadhyaya in the Nepal Gharana of Tabla. He was trained in the Kirtan tradition under the tutelage of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, from whom he received Shaktipat Diksa in 1984. He has performed with Dave Stringer, Jai Uttal, Shyamdas, Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das and other leading Kirtan artists.