We encourage those who are interested in delving deeply into this music to purchase the physical CD in order to take advantage of the 12-page insert booklet that contains the original Bengali lyrics with English transliteration and translation.
From the booklet's introduction:
"The land of Bengal in eastern India can truly be called “Motherland”. It is here that for millennia, an unbroken tradition of worshiping God as the Divine Mother Kali has given strength and solace to its people. Over the centuries many great
mystics took birth in Bengal, leaving a timeless legacy of wisdom-teachings, tear-soaked poetry, and ecstatic communion with the Mother. From this legacy a new form of sacred music was born, called Shyama Sangeet, “Music to the Dark Mother”. The most famous of these poet-saints were Sri Ramprasad Sen and Sri Kamalakanta Bhattacharya of the 18th–19th centuries. They cried directly to the Mother, often reprimanding their own restless minds or revealing esoteric experiences of yogic awakening. Soaring in unparalleled joy or crashing to earth in great despair, these songs reveal the often-winding road traveled by the devotee.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa often sang Shyama Sangeet, weaving this sacred music into his teachings that sparked India’s spiritual renaissance. When his heart overflowed in an ecstatic mood at the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, his songs enthralled those seated nearby. When his disciples, such as Swami Vivekananda, would sing, Ramakrishna often
danced or wept before entering blissful samadhi. Decades later, Paramahansa Yogananda was born into this spiritual revival. He sang Shyama Sangeet as a child and continued to do so throughout his life in America where he adapted much of it into his English poems and songs for the West."
ABOUT THE RECORDING:
Naren K. Schreiner (www.narenkmusic.com ) is a devotional singer and teacher who has been immersed in the sacred and classical music of India since 1993 . He lived in an ashram for 14 years as a brahmachari, practicing yoga and studying the wisdom of India. In 2010 Naren had the privilege to refine his musicianship at the ITC-Sangeet Research Academy in India, where he studied under Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty, concentrating on the foundations of "bhavsangeet" -- music that is classically-based, yet emphasizes "bhav" or mood. As Director of Sangita Yoga: The Yoga of Music, based in Encinitas, CA, Naren leads workshops and gives presentations on the sacred aspects of India's music. He also teaches a number of students privately and on-line.
In 2012, the Kali Mandir in Laguna Beach (www.kalimandir.org) commissioned Naren and Sangita Yoga to oversee the musical direction of a traditional "Shyama Sangeet" album. Thus "Esho Ma" was born.
Naren was delighted when his first choice, Pankaj Mishra (www.pankajsarangi.com), agreed to play sarangi for the album. The sarangi is the most subtle and heart-stirring instrument for voice-accompaniment. A bowed string instrument, it is played by a very few in India.
The percussion was provided by Adi Keshava (Brian Campbell), an ardent devotee and gifted musician who studied tabla for over 9 years. For the album he played khol, which is a more traditional drum of Bengal, in order to preserve the authenticity of these old songs.
The recording features real acoustic tanpuras , traditional cymbals and a beautiful 4-reed harmonium, to create a rich and authentic sound-scape that compliments the devotional and mystical songs. The album is a journey into another world--one that is ancient, sacred, beautiful and mysteriously close to our own.