Peter Walkden Brown
Peter is a keyboard player, singer and composer who first felt the purifying and liberating power of group chanting of the divine names during a journey to India in 1982.
Bhajan singing is often a part of the daily routine in the ashrams of India and the vibration created when many hearts would come together to honour the Divine, to sing, to pour forth as one pure stream of divine love ,was unforgettable.
Born in PNG to devout Christian parents, the distinctive harmonies and innocent voices of the PNG islanders together with the melodies of traditional church hymns formed some of his earliest musical impressions.
In his teens he encountered the teachings of the Indian spiritual masters and found that they reflected his intuitive feelings about the innate and all-pervasive nature of divinity. A yearning to be in the company of the living saints led to his first journey to India.
After returning to Australia, bhajans and kirtan gradually became an integral part of his spiritual unfolding.
In 1990 he met the Kerala saint Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Ma and the subsequent experiences were so intimate and profound that an irresistible attraction developed. Her powerful and ecstatic bhajans have been a constant source of inspiration.
For the past 6 years he has been residing in the Byron shire and has played in numerous chanting/kirtan bands in the area.
“Bhajan induces in you a desire for experiencing the Truth, to glimpse the Beauty that is God, to taste the Bliss that is the Self. It encourages man to dive into himself and be genuinely his Real Self”
Alexa, aka Ayanananda, is a classically trained Cellist, has a degree in Philosophy,speaks German and is a former ballet and contemporary dancer, has been studying Yoga since 1993 under senior teachers in Iyengar methodology, Tantra, and traditional Ha- Tha yoga.
In 2003, she brought her cello for the first time to a chant led by Sharman Okan .From then on , she attended monthly full moon chants, evolving her cello playing to service of the Divine names.
Born to a family of unconventional musicians and artists, there were musicians in her childhood home following her father’s credo: “life is jam session.” Alexa began private Cello lessons at age 11, practising hours each day, and playing in quartets and orchestras until adulthood. When the decision had to be made whether to continue on to a life of professional orchestral musician, her wild spirit sent her travelling around the world. Alexa put the cello down for twenty years.
During several years of yoga asana practise, Alexa experienced union with the Divine, but something very profound was still unavailable. The moment she picked up the cello again, her classical training was used in service to the names of the Divine. This devotion revealed to her what she was longing for. The healing was instantaneous, and since then, Alexa is dedicated to the practise of Kirtan.
Presently she teaches the intricacies of asana at Yoga Ayana in Currumbin Waters, QLD. She plays in the The House Band for The House of Bliss,hearts on Fire, in Mullumbimby, and travels to play 12 hour Akhand Kirtans for special holidays, such as Maha Shivaratri. She lives with Brian and two children, Priya and Dane.
For more info visit www.yogaayana.com
Damodara Dasa (aka Dom)
Damodara is a second generation Kirtaniya in the Gaudiya tradition of West Bengal. He spent 15 years living in and running ashrams in the UK. For the last 2 years, he has lived with his family on the Gold Coast and takes every opportunity to participate in Kirtan and share the timeless Vedic wisdom. He plays the traditional 2-headed mridanga drum, karatalas (finger cymbals) and vocals.
“Somehow or other, I developed a taste for Kirtana in my childhood and I relish collaborating with other kirtaniyas”
The art of devotional music touches me in a sacred place.
The joy of being in the space of sharing music to lift our souls higher is one of the ultimate privileges that I as a musician can hope to experience.
Through Lucknow Sankirtan I have tasted the joy and ecstasy that accompanies chanting.
Together we have recorded and performed in Australia and Bali, and my heart is always lifted by these great events.
After many years of studying Trance Music as part of my Masters Research Degree, my exploration into transcendence through music continues to take me into the many colorful global paths that music travels to achieve these ends.
Lucknow Sankirtan holds a special place in my heart as it provides me with an opportunity to deepen my understanding and experience of the intersection of world and devotional music and experience the joy of playing with an ensemble of fine musicians.
For more info visit www.yantra.com.au
Italian born Armando Ornano was first drawn to the spiritual and musical traditions of Asia on his first trip to India in 1984. In 1988 Armando made his base at Suan Mokkh forest monastery in Thailand, run by the Venerable Ajan Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. Here he spent six years in the Buddhist practice of Vipassana. During this period, Armando also traveled regularly to Malaysia, where he delved into the practice of Tai Chi Chuan with master Tan Hook Soon. In 1993 Armando returned to India and began his study of Indian classical music. It was not long before he began to see the great connection between music and the spiritual practices in the Hindu tradition. Since then, Armando has become a masterful adept of the bansuri, the Indian classical bamboo flute which, with its breathy tones, emulates the emotions and passions of the human voice. Armando has dedicated many years to learning the art of his instrument in Delhi, India, under renowned bansuri maker and maestro, Harsh Wardhan.
Armando has a solid foundation in the practice of Nada Yoga, thanks not only to his two music teachers, Harsh Wardhan and Sreekant Misra, but also to his beloved spiritual guru Mahamandaleshwar Swami Nityananda.
For more info visit www.soundsofyoga.com.au