San Francisco: Snatam Kaur
I saw Snatam Kaur play at Rudramandir this past weekend and it was really sweet. I had only heard her albums, but to see her live was a very different experience. The concert was at Rudramandir, THE spot for all things yoga in Berkeley, and the room was cozily packed with fellow yogis, a dash of deadheads, and happy hippies galore. Snatam is originally from California and went to high school in the Bay Area. She grew up in the Sikh tradition, as her parents were followers of Yogi Bhajan, the Kundalini master. Though she spent a few years of her adolescence outside of the tradition, she quickly returned and followed a path to teaching peace and singing really beautiful mantra. (She is also the "Peace Ambassador" of the Peace Cereals (a line of cereals she also helped create with her degree in biology of knowledge of natural health).
Snatam sang Friday night with her regular guitar player Guru Ganesha Singh and this amazing local drummer. She sang traditional Indian chants, and also songs in English. Snatam has such a powerful voice that I always imagined she would be older and larger than she is—but she is surprisingly petite and young and quite beautiful. It seems her whole family was in the audience that night, and she brought her mom and her dad up to stage; her mom sang with her and her dad (pictured with her, above) led a pranayama exercise.
Snatam looks pure and goddess-like in her Kundalini dress, wearing a white turban and long, flowy robes. But she has a sassy sense of humor on stage. She sang one song that starts with the line, "Make truth your horn," the horn being one of the emblems traditional yogis in India wear. To relate it to the audience present, she said, "Make truth your fancy yoga pants."
Find out more about this Mills College grad at her website and let us know if you saw her this past weekend, too!
Photos by Pao Chiu