CD Review: David Newman (Durga Das)- 'Lotus Feet: Kirtan Revolution'

By Ramananda Das (Richard Brookens) - Enlightened Practice Magazine Column, March/April '05

Merging ancient Sanskrit Mantras with pop and world beat grooves seems all the rage lately. Danceable tempos and familiar Western instrumentation dress the mysterious and sometimes impenetrable Mantras in a more accessible, feel-good wrapping, making them very marketable to the demographic that buys CDs.

David Newman goes a step beyond that formula. In addition to the Mantra, he has written his own lyrics that help the uninitiated listener identify the living quality of these Mantras, giving them a reference that is very personal, yet universal in appeal. These very revealing and, at times, intimate words that draw us into the song are what make this CD different from all the other well-produced Mantra CDs I've heard. The folk rock quality of his first release is still there, but as an undercurrent, second to the very hip and very insistent up-to-the-minute studio production.

I also would like to extol the production of the cover, an aspect of CDs that I especially appreciate. Some very beautifully done photos of David are offered here, as well as some nice graphics. But again, he has gone one step past most other CDs of this genre by including pictures of his guru (Neem Karoli Baba) in the cover, creating a lovely visual tribute and letting us have just enough of him to peak our curiosity. The "Lotus Feet" of the title are, of course, his guru's feet. All in all, this is a great second effort from Durga Das (David Newman).

David Newman will be leading a Kirtan at Karmapalooza (www.karmapalooza.com) on March 26th in North Miami at the Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort. See my Sound Yoga column in this issue for more details.

Ramananda Das (Richard Brookens) is certified in Sivananda and Kundalini Yoga. He currently teaches Yoga at Barry University in Miami Shores, Spa Atlantis in Pompano, and Yoga Connection in Plantation. He also plays woodwinds (saxophones, flutes, and clarinets) and hand percussion (tablas, clay pot, et al), and regularly performs professionally in the local area. He has also performed throughout the United States, the Carribbean, and in Panang, Malaysia, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and Europe. He has released two CDs of original World Fusion Music, and three meditation/relaxation CDs on his Yellow Bell label. Contact him, listen to free samples from his CDs, and view pictures of some of his performances and World instruments at www.yellowbellmusic.com.

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