Explosion Of Life: An Interview With Jai Uttal.

October 9, 2012

Grammy nominated Jai Uttal (2002 Mondo Rama) is a pioneer in the world music community with his eclectic “East-meets-West” sound. Uttal’s album Queen of Hearts (Nutone Records) is a unique mixture of reggae, ska, and samba rhythms, used as a backdrop for call and response, dance-oriented Kirtan.

As a child in New York City, Jai’s home was filled with music. He began studying classical piano at the age of seven, and later learned to play old time banjo, harmonica, and guitar. His exploratory nature soon took him even further afield, resulting in a move to California, where he immersed himself in studies with the legendary Ali Akbar Khan ( Ravi Shankar).

Jai then began regular pilgrimages to India, living among the Bauls, the wandering street musicians of Bengal, and singing with the kirtan wallahs in the temples of his guru, the highly revered saint, Neem Karoli Baba. Upon returning to the states, he began weaving those variegated threads together.

The Jai Uttal Interview

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It Shines Through You As You- An Interview With MC Yogi

July 20, 2012

MC Yogi was born the same year as the Sony Walkman and the Cray supercomputer, 1979. He has a beautiful, powerhouse wife named Amanda with whom he co-teaches yoga in their sumptuous little studio in Northern California. A rescued pit bull, Mahatma, is the couple’s personal guru.

A tranquil early childhood was cut short by a surprise family implosion that led Yogi to all kinds of messy rebellion: dropping out of school, graffiti punkdom, pre-teen drug abuse, stealing cars, lashing out at everyone and everything and not quite knowing why.

It all led to the honor of being kicked out of no less than four schools by the time he was 17 before finally, by way of an unexpected introduction to yoga and classical Hindu philosophy, a complete rediscovery of self, of the yogic path, of the true meaning of music, love and the million faces of God.

Mix in all manner of pop culture influence: The Doors, the Beatles, the Beastie Boys, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Star Trek, Star Wars and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, classic comic books and lots of wonderfully insane Bollywood movies. Overlay it all with a preternatural gift for rhyming, and you’ve got a story for the alterna-rap record books.

“I’m just a working class mystic,” shrugs the enviably laid back Yogi, grinning a little as he adjusts his trademark fedora, kicks up his Adidas and cranks the volume on “Born to Fly,” an instantly addictive new track from Pilgrimage, one of those bouncy dub-rap songs that’s so catchy it can stick in your head for a year. But in a good way.

Do not be fooled. Mellow though he may appear, when it comes to the music and the art, Yogi is positively supercharged with a love of message like few others on the yogic path, and probably no other hip-hop musicians you can name.

Wait. Hip-hop and yoga? The Ramayana with a backbeat? Stories of Shiva and Shakti, Ganesh and Hanuman and the rest of the ancient Hindu gods, all funked up and slamming up against potent, propulsive graffiti beats custom built to drive eager listeners into a divine frenzy? It’ll never work. Unless it does. – Mark Morford

The MC Yogi Interview (more…)
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Wonder Upon Wonder – An Interview With Dan Millman

July 16, 2012

Dan Millman is a former world champion athlete, university coach, martial arts instructor, and college professor.

After an intensive, twenty-year spiritual quest, Dan’s teaching found its form as the Peaceful Warrior’s Way, expressed fully in his books and lectures. His work continues to evolve over time, to meet the needs of a changing world.

Dan’s thirteen books, including Way of the Peaceful Warrior, have inspired and informed millions of readers in 29 languages worldwide. The feature film, “Peaceful Warrior,” starring Nick Nolte, was adapted from Dan’s first book, based upon incidents from his life.

Much of Dan’s time is devoted to writing and speaking. His keynotes, seminars, and workshops span the generations to influence men and women from all walks of life, including leaders in the fields of health, psychology, education, business, politics, sports, entertainment, and the arts.

The Dan Millman Interview

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Terms Of Liberation- An Interview With Stephen & Ondrea Levine

June 28, 2012

For over thirty-two years, Stephen and Ondrea Levine provided emotional and spiritual support for those who are life-threatened, and for caregivers. Through their healing and forgiveness workshops, many writings, and endless compassion, Stephen and Ondrea have touched the lives of thousands of people all over the world.

They are the authors of numerous books, including Who Dies, Embracing the Beloved, and A Year to Live, among others. Presently living in relative isolation in northern New Mexico, the levinetalks.com website is a way for Stephen and Ondrea to continue their teachings and connect with an outside audience.

The Stephen & Ondrea Levine Interview

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An Interview With Dr Robert Thurman, Professor Of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies At Columbia University

March 23, 2012

Dr. Robert Thurman is, how should I say this… scary smart. Anyone who’s read his work knows that, and if you haven’t, I feel it’s only fair to give you the heads up before you read on. The following interview was conducted on  Nov. 9, 2010 at Dr Thurman’s Columbia University office in Manhattan, NY. Here’s a few more points of interest…

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of Tibet House US, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies.

The New York Times recently hailed him as “the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism.” The first American to have been ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk and a personal friend of the Dalai Lama for over 40 years, Professor Thurman is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for the truth regarding the current Tibet-China situation and the human rights violations suffered by the Tibetan people under Chinese rule. His commitment to finding a peaceful, win-win solution for Tibet and China inspired him to write his latest book,Why the Dalai Lama Matters: of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet and the World, published in June of 2008.  

The Dr Robert Thurman Interview (more…)
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