BreatheOC Presents: Amritakripa

Spring is here and the flowers are blossoming, and blooming with them are yoga festivals. Shakti Fest is one of the first yoga festival to arrive as a juicy appetizer to the many yoga festivals coming this season. Shakti Fest is not only full of powerful yoga classes, transformational workshops, delicious healthy foods, eco conscious bazaars, but it also offers tons of amazing, devotional music concerts full of singing and dancing!  Shakti Fest is held in the magical land of Joshua Tree, and it’s not to be missed!

One of the headlining music artist is AmritakripaThey have such a unique blend of world sounds fused with  psychedelic elements that creates a groovy mesh of Kirtan! We are definitely excited to watch them perform this year at Shakti Fest 2016! I was lucky enough to catch them last week to ask a few questions about their careers, inspirations and where they see themselves in the future.

Photo courtesy of Shakti Fest

Curtis Blas: What does amritakripa mean?

Amritakripa: Amritakripa is the name that was given to me by Amma many years ago. It was translated as meaning Mother’s Grace, Immortal Grace or Nectar of Immortal Grace

Curtis Blas: Why did you choose that name?

Amritakripa: I guess you could say I didn’t really choose the name, it chose me. 

Curtis Blas: What connections/relevance do you see between praying, chanting, mantras and music? 

Amritakripa: I think of all of these in terms of their potential for causing vibrational harmony. As they relate to Bhakti Yoga, perhaps they’re all expressions of beauty and love which have a unique capacity to quiet the continuous chatter (chitta) associated with the mind. In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says, ‘yoga chitta vritti nirodha’ which means, yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind. For me, praying, chanting, mantras and music are all tools to help us silence that chaotic mind-madness, and, as a result, close or dissolve the gap between the aspect of self that is identified with the limited personality and that ‘I Am’ consciousness which is essentially our true nature. For those of us who have been touched by these practices of Bhakti, I think we would agree that there is an indescribable sweetness enjoyed when we lose ourselves in any of those activities. As a result, we get to enjoy a small taste of the goal, even as we may remain on the journey.

Curtis Blas: What do you hope to achieve?

Amritakripa: Honestly, I don’t feel that I approach music with a particular achievement in mind. If anything, it would be to be established in an honest and authentic presence, allowing the experience to unfurl as a perfect expression of each precious moment.

Curtis Blas: What are your influences when creating music? 

Amritakripa: It would be true to say that my greatest musical influence has always been Amma. It wasn’t until I heard Her singing 27 years ago, that I became almost obsessed with music, or Bhajans to be more specific. Her voice really spoke to the deepest part of my being, and her encouragement to sing was the source of a river of inspiration that hasn’t stopped flowing since. My husband, Robbi Robb, has also been a hugely influential part of my musical journey. He continues to inspire me on a daily basis with his ideas, commitment, and talent which I find it truly humbling and for which I am deeply grateful. Other than that, the moment, the desert, nature as a whole, the many other wonderful musicians that I have been blessed to be surrounded by. They all inform my musical decisions at any given time.  

Curtis Blas: What kind of music did you listen to when you were younger?

Amritakripa: Contemporary for the most part. 

Curtis Blas:  If you can choose to play anywhere around the world, where would you play?

Amritakripa: Anywhere under the infinite starry sky.

Curtis Blas: What are some of Amritakripa future goals? What projects are you working on? 

Amritakripa: My approach to music probably wouldn’t be described as ambitious, so I generally don’t think of it in terms of goals. I do it because it nourishes the core of my being and I love to share it with others. I enjoy witnessing the unfolding and going where the current takes us. I love being with the band and appreciate the collective joy that surrounds us when we are together. We completed a new album last year and haven’t yet started a new Amritakripa project yet. We’ll have to see where the river takes us.

Buy your Shakti Fest tickets now and make sure you don’t miss Amritakripa’s performance!