Bhaktisiddhartha is a conservatory-trained musician with a degree in musical composition, who later got into jazz fusion and traditional Indian music. He spent years studying not only music and kirtan, but also yoga, Vedic philosophy, meditation and other Vedic arts in remote Indian monasteries. His studies of tai-chi, chi k'ung, Native American spiritual practices, and other approaches to spiritual life lend a rich background to his music.
"Narottama" was composed and recorded in Hilo, Hawai'i in 2003, after Bhaktisiddhartha had a profound spiritual experience on the island of Kaua'i. After camping by himself, chanting and meditating in an isolated jungle location for six months, he had a powerful vision that became the inspiration for this CD. You will have to listen to the music to find out more about it, but the whole story is there.
As with most of his other recordings, Bhaktisiddhartha played and recorded all the instruments and parts you will hear in the music. Bhaktisiddhartha's music continues and deepens the recent East-West fusion trend, portraying ancient mantras and Eastern spiritual themes in settings using Western musical styles.
All of the tracks on Narottama are traditional Gaudiya Vaisnava songs by Srila Narottama das Thakur, a great Bengali saint who lived and wrote about 400 years ago. His songs are full of great spiritual emotions and have inspired many devotees to advance to the highest platform of spiritual life.
The melodies of these arrangements were composed by Visnujana Swami, a powerful and very pure senior disciple of my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada. Upon Srila Prabhupada's request, he composed many exquisite and expressive melodies for traditional Vaisnava songs. This CD is dedicated to his memory.
"Gauranga Bolita Habe" is an expression of spiritual desire where the author asks, "When will that opportune moment come to us when there will be shivering of the body as soon as we chant Lord Gauranga’s name? While chanting Hare Krsna, when will there be tears in our eyes?"
"Hari Haraya Namah" were the words with which Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began His worldwide Sankirtan movement. In this setting, it is a lament by the gopis, that "Krsna has gone to Dvaraka. He has become one of the Yadu kings, with many important family duties, and has no time for His childhood friends, we gopis."
"Radha-Krsna Prana Mora" means that "Radha and Krsna are my life and soul." The Raga Kalyan and background flute harmonies are used to great effect to express this quiet romantic mood.
"Vrndavana" is a very simple arrangement of the ecstatic feeling of love aroused by Krsna's native village. The use of celeste and flute evokes a peaceful mood, pregnant with possibilities of ecstatic love.