Satsang Combines Eclectic Musical Roots with Meaningful Messages
Satsang’s music has roots in funk, folk rock, and hip-hop. Overall you’d file them under the category of “raising social consciousness,” along with other artists such as Citizen Cope, Ben Harper, and Michael Franti. Satsang is a superior example of the genre. They effortlessly demonstrate great musicality, with individual songs flexing solid skills that touch upon folk, hip-hop, jazz, and even Americana/country.
Kulture is their third, full-length studio album. Satsang has a lot to say in it about these troubling times of oligarchy and authoritarianism.
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Kulture Shares Musicality and Message
The first track starts out on a pensive note, with a voiceover dub from lead singer Drew McManus’ Des Moines art instructor Daniel Weiss.
Then Kulture evolves into “We’ll Stand,” in which lead singer Drew McManus demonstrates one of his many talents, the sort of reggae-tinged, syncopated, rhythmic delivery of syllables atop a contemplative groove. McManus is versatile and can easily morph into a more hip-hop, folk, or country style of singing. His voice often creates an appealing bit of distortion to emphasize certain words.
“Truth” leans more towards a funky, laid-back sound, reminiscent of Sublime. “Home” is one of the standout tracks, with a bit more of a country sound, a great piano line on the chorus, and fun background vocals. I should mention that the vocal arrangements in general on this entire album are really, really great.
“Me And You” also has a more decidedly country or “Americana” sound to it, especially with what sounds like steel guitar featured on the track. McManus seems like he would kill it working as a songwriter in Nashville. The jazzy, buttery-smooth track “Breathe” demonstrates some of the best vocal arrangements on the whole album.
“So Far” is my favorite track, a lot of fun production going on and a strong pop/funk feel you could imagine coming from Pharrell Williams. I love the high pitched, effect-heavy “So Far” vocal bit that floats in on the choruses. Rich 12-string guitar is the perfect companion to piano on the more contemplative “This Is War,” another genuine, standout track.
There is a lot to like about this album! It manages to put you in a pleasurable state while making you face the fact that our society needs a lot of work.
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.