Save the Date! Dave Stringer is performing at True Nature Saturday, September 6th

Dave Headshot 2 copy copy

“A volcano of a voice! Stringer transported us to another time and place. His fiery, soulful voice gave the entire room a feeling of a down-home gospel jam and one could not help but sing along.”

— LA Yoga Magazine
“A departure from ancient kirtan. Stringer’s performance shaped the experience into a far more compelling musical encounter.”

– The Los Angeles Times

Excited?  We are!  Here is Dave’s inspiring artistic statement:

“India blasted me into billions of spinning particles and then slowly reshaped me, a process that was somehow simultaneously both excruciating and ecstatic. I can’t begin to claim complete knowledge about all of the layers of history and philosophy and theology represented by the mantras I learned to chant while I was there, but I can attest to their power. I’m not a Sanskrit scholar and not always a particularly focused practitioner, but I am deeply committed to the process of inquiry that the practice of yoga suggests.

I do know that my sustained encounter with mantra chanting has acquainted me with a state of expansive stillness and conscious repose, and that this encounter has irrevocably shifted the course of my art. I once read that Thomas Jefferson took a copy of the Bible and cut out the parts that most resonated with him, then reassembled his selections into a work that reflected his own way of saying his prayers. I suppose it is fair to say that as an artist, I am engaged in something of a similar process with yoga. I don’t know exactly where the journey I am making ends. I’m just trying to report honestly from where I am.

One of the things that interests me most about kirtan is how the responsory aspects of it blur the distinction between performer and audience. I was trained as a visual artist and as a jazz musician, so the lens that I view kirtan through is informed by the perspectives and concerns of the art world. I didn’t start out as a devotee or a bhakti, I became involved with chanting when I was hired to go to India to make some films for an ashram. I was an outsider trying to comprehend what it was that I found so compelling about kirtan, and this outsider perspective has continued to inform and enable the ways that I introduce chanting to the uninitiated.

Kirtan is rooted in a very old and profoundly joyful Eastern tradition. But I don’t know that it is possible for me to be traditional. I’m a Westerner, and I can’t help but bring my own cultural biases with me. My intention, however, is be authentic, in the sense that what I am doing originates in my heart. Yoga points toward awareness of the essential oneness of things, so from this perspective, to align the individual-dissolving Eastern tradition of kirtan with the individual-expressing Western traditions of gospel and jazz and rock music is no contradiction, as they both arise from the same impulse toward expressing what is ecstatic and liberating and transcendent. “

Dave & Joni - Standing Guitar copy

Mark it on your calendars!  True Nature is planning an amazing first weekend in September, with live concerts, yoga, workshops, labyrinth walks and more all weekend.  Dave Stringer is hosting his own workshop during the day on Saturday and is going to rock our little corner of Carbondale Saturday evening.   More details coming very soon!