Layering traditional kirtan with instantly accessible melodies and modern instrumentation, Krishna Das has been called “yoga’s rock star.” With a remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener, Krishna Das — known to friends, family, and fans as simply KD — has taken call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the bestselling Western chant artist of all time. His album Live Ananda (released January 2012) was nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Age album category.
KD spent the late ’60s traveling across the country as a student of Ram Dass. In August 1970, he finally made the journey to India, which led him to Ram Dass’ own beloved guru, Neem Karoli Baba, known to devotees as Maharaj-ji. Given the name Krishna Das, KD began to chant as part of following the path of Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion.
He took solace in music, finding peace and strength in his Bhakti yoga practice, as well as in such heroes as Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, and Bruce Springsteen (whom he laughingly calls “the Bodhisattva of New Jersey”). KD also co-founded Triloka Records, a California-based label specializing in world music, releasing such artists as Jai Uttal, sarod virtuoso Ali Akbar Khan, and legendary jazz musician/composer Jackie McLean.
In 1994, KD started to lead chanting at Jivamukti Yoga Center, NYC with an ever-growing audience of yoga students that has led him to chant with people all around the world. In February 2013, Krishna Das performed at the Grammy awards in Los Angeles, which was streamed online to millions of viewers. The award-winning film One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das, which has been shown in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 10 countries, is available on DVD everywhere.
KD’s 16th album, Peace of My Heart, released in October 2018 on behalf of the Kirtan Wallah Foundation, offers nearly two hours of deeply moving, meditative, and artfully restrained new recordings born out of a request from a yoga teacher who works with autistic children. Forgoing the ecstatic tempo changes so common to temple-style kirtan, these five new tracks move slowly and deliberately. The song-to-song steadiness is both striking and soothing, and as emotionally impactful as ever.
“The chanting just hits you and you want to be a part of it,” KD promises. “That’s the point of this whole thing. That’s what cuts through all the ‘stuff.’ You get lit up. You don’t have to know what it means.”