Creating Healing Music Around the World
Since the 2001 release of her first solo album, Prem, Grammy-nominated devotional singer Snatam Kaur has inspired countless people with the stirring silken quality of her voice, the gentle wisdom of her writing and teaching, and her uniquely radiant presence.
Healing Mantras on Nirankaar
Her 16th major album, Nirankaar, comes out May 13 on Be Why Music and features opulently orchestrated mantras that are especially pertinent and healing for these times.
Traveling Around the World for the Into the Light Tour
May also marks Snatam’s return to the concert stage with the commencement of her Into the Light tour of Europe, Israel, and the UK. The same group of accomplished musicians she collaborated with on Nirankaar will appear with her. They include her producer, Ram Dass, on piano and vocals, Grecco Buratto, guitar and vocals, and Sukhmani, on tabla, percussion, and vocals. Together, their sound invokes the blissful, ecstatic experience chanting can bring.
Sharing Prayers of Peace
The Into the Light tour was originally planned as a post-pandemic way to gather jubilantly, acknowledge the change and growth we’ve all been through, and find peace together. However, since the invasion of Ukraine, the tour’s focus has become even more profound. While lightness and celebration still underscore the shows, the war has personally devastated Snatam. Each concert will include chants for peace in Ukraine and the world and send out shared prayers of peace. A portion of the tour’s proceeds will be donated to Direct Aid for Ukrainian Refugees and each venue will provide opportunities to donate directly.
When Snatam was a teenager, she traveled to Russia and Ukraine with a peace group called the Giraffe Project to forge positive connections between American teens and their Ukrainian and Russian counterparts. “I really connected with both countries and with the young people we encountered,” said Snatam while preparing for the tour. “So, this war has just shattered my heart. I’ve felt deeply overwhelmed by it.”
“When the invasion began, I joined a 40-day global peace meditation and started meditating for peace as a part of my personal practice, inviting others to join me through various platforms. Now we’ll be able to do so in community at the shows.”
Snatam fondly recalls walking with a group of Ukrainian teenagers along Kyiv’s empty cobblestone streets, playing guitar and singing Beatles songs in the middle of the night. She holds the experience and connection close to her heart.
Snatam Kaur and her Lifelong Practice of Healing Music
Snatam was born in Trinidad, Colorado, and raised in the Sikh and Kundalini Yoga tradition, immersed in a household filled with traditional Sikh Dharma, music, and chanting. Her mother, Prabhu Nam Kaur, is a Gurbani Kirtan singer. Growing up, chanting, singing, and practicing Kundalini Yoga provided a deep source of strength to Snatam. Following her mother’s path, she felt drawn to singing and performing and often traveled with her parents to India to study with Sikh musicians.
Today, Snatam’s mantra recordings are among the most popular in the world. Their renown has spread far beyond the Kirtan, Kundalini Yoga, and Sikh communities, conveying her spiritual warmth and deep humanity into an increasingly harsh world. Her relationship with Oprah Winfrey and a 2019 Grammy Award Show performance of “Darashan Maago” from the album Beloved helped introduce her to a vast audience that continues to expand.
Mantra Beyond Tradition: Snatam Kaur Shares Healing Music to a Universal Audience
Snatam’s appeal is universal. The purity of her voice and her spirit of love and devotion transcend the boundaries of individual traditions. As a touring musician, teacher, author, peace and environmental activist, and co-founder of Kirtan and Kundalini, an online sacred music and yoga school, Snatam has become a beacon to people worldwide attuned to in living in spiritual lightness.
Imparting the knowledge she’s gained in her life to others is an integral part of Snatam’s work. Even in her early touring years, she felt motivated to teach. “I met people along the way, in different places, who would have a powerful feel-good experience at a show or festival and want more,” she said. “I thought that if I could help them learn to chant and develop a spiritual practice, they could continue independently.”
She began teaching workshops along with her concerts, culminating in the 2016 release of her book Original Light. “I wrote the book to help people create meaningful daily practices modeled on the Aquarian Sadhana — the spiritual morning practice I grew up with, including recitation, yoga, and sacred chanting.”
Over time, that same impetus led to the idea of establishing a school. “For quite a while, my husband Sopurkh Singh, who teaches Kundalini Yoga, and I dreamed of having a school,” said Snatam. “Initially, we envisioned it as an in-person place to learn, but when the pandemic hit, that, like everything else, changed. We co-founded Kirtan and Kundalini in June 2020 to support the spiritual journey of as many people as possible, wherever they were, especially with so many people experiencing isolation. The fact that the school is online has allowed us to offer mantra, tabla, harmonium, yoga, and meditation classes to students everywhere and build a beautiful community. It’s a dream come true for us.”
Mantra and Meditation
Snatam is hosting special in-person Mantra and Meditation workshops during the Into the Light tour. These five-hour events are based on the mantras Akaal, Ongkaar Nirankaar, Ang Sang Waaheguru, and Ardaas Bha-ee, all of which appear on Nirankaar. In addition to chanting, each workshop includes yoga, breathwork, and meditation instruction.
Exquisite, simplified recordings of the four mantras were recently released in conjunction with the album as a new Mantra and Meditation series. Snatam created the tracks so anyone could chant along to enhance their practice. She is teaching online workshops for each mantra through Kirtan and Kundalini, then rebroadcasting them on her YouTube channel. Support Snatam and download Nirankaar on the Be Why Music store , or stream it on Spotify and other DSPs around the globe.
Marina Muhlfriedel is a native Angeleno and self-described creative omnivoire with extensive experience as a writer, film producer, and musician. She teaches Mindfulness Meditiation to at-risk populations, speaks pit bull, practices Tai Chi, and is a senior teacher at Club Kundalini, having begun her spiritual journey in high school as a student of Yogi Bhajan.