Leaps & Bounds - The Hanumen Album CoverHanuman has always resonated with me—his warrior attitude mixed with humor. It’s my approach to life, so I was eager to hear The Hanumen’s Leaps and Bounds. The group members are friends who are talented multi-instrumentalists trained in the sacred music of India and Africa: John de Kadt, Benjy Wertheimer, Gaura Vani, and bassist Purusartha Dasa.

The first track sets the bar for a beautiful, transformative musical experience: “Invocation (Chaitanya Mantra)” begins with a mysterious sitar drone followed by stunning viola and then the soothing, collective voice of The Hanumen. I could reference Ladysmith Black Mambazo here, but I find The Hanumen take a more reverent, subtle approach that I prefer. Their voices sound like a living harmonium.

“Jai Hanuman” has a more adventurous vibe featuring funk guitar, grooving tablas, and drums. Still, everything is subtly and tastefully executed. The Hanumen don’t let production and instrumentation get in the way of the importance of the words and melody of these sacred chants. I enjoyed the surprise of syncopated vocalizations in this tune (a nod to Trilok Gurtu).

“Flowers and Death” is a thoughtful and meditative track with interesting lyrics (special treat: sung in English!) that will be a permanent fixture in my yoga classes. It’s a perfect lead up to savasana and positive intention-setting.

This album features so many different instruments, including a horn section…some you would not expect from a devotional album. Yet the real highlight is the pure and resounding celebration of the male voice.

Leaps and Bounds

by The Hanumen

(Mantralogy)


 

By McKenna Rowe, a DJ, yoga teacher, and founder of Chakra 5 Yoga & Wellness: www.chakra5.la.

McKenna caught the “yoga bug” as a little girl, watching Lilias Folan on PBS. She leads an active life hiking, running, sometimes snowboarding, and once was a nationally-ranked equestrian. After years of working in the digital industry for clients in entertainment, publishing and fashion, she took a sabbatical to acquire her yoga teacher certification. A desire to help people heal soon followed. Also a successful musician and composer, McKenna shares cutting-edge music during yoga classes, recruiting musicians and DJs to perform with her. She owned and operated East Hollywood’s Chakra 5 Yoga studio throughout 2011, creating a vibrant community on and offline, but decided to shift to a mobile model. Now Chakra 5 brings yoga classes on site and by appointment to businesses, schools and organizations throughout greater Los Angeles. McKenna was certified in Hatha/Kundalini at Karuna Yoga, and has additional teacher training in Restorative Yoga with Master Teacher Judith Lasater. She teaches yoga at Chakra 5 classes and international retreats.