The daughter of a choir director, Shyama Chapin has been singing as long as she can remember. Her first composition, a piece about Winnie the Pooh, was written on her grandma’s upright piano when she was four years old. While surrounded by sounds of prayer, and coffee shop singer-songwriters, she began to notice the dynamic between the performer and the audience, “There was something about that ‘power-over’ feeling that was suspect to me.”
The weekend after September 11, 2001, a practitioner at Harbin Hot Springs suggested the songstress lead kirtan. The next night she was at the Sunday Community Chant, and the day after that she purchased Krishna Das’ Live on Earth Cassette. The names have been on her tongue ever since. 5,762 days later the tape has long since worn through. Shyama has led endless kirtans from Santa Cruz to SoHo. And she has received infinite requests for a solo album. At long last, her two-disc debut Love’s Door is now available on the Mantralogy label.
Mantra on Love’s Door
The opening mantra “Radhe Radhaki” contains the even, emotive, inviting mood Shyama has become known for. Track 2 takes us deeper with “Banaras Chaleesa” a fan-favorite of hers throughout the Neem Karoli Baba sastang in America and India alike. Disc 2 offers the ever-timely “Prathana Sri Durga Chalessa,” an homage to Sri Siddhi Ma, a great saint who has steered many Westerners on their way (Shyama included!).
Both discs contain great guest appearances from satsang staples like Krishna Das, Janaki Kagel, Ambika Pressman, Lily Cushman, Nina Rao, Devadas, Arjun Bruggeman, Mark Gorman, Steve Gorn, Terence Pompey, Jesse Kotansky and the celebrated John McDowell. The album was funded entirely via friends and fans on IndieGogo with serious support from Katonah Mind & Body studio owner Paulette Ciotti. Producers Kevin Reilly and Kurt Lindsey round out the offering with their expertise.