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