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Chile’s Krishna Sambandha Reconnects Souls Through Kirtan

By: for ISKCON News on Jan. 15, 2015

Krishna Sambandha in the studio to record their first album with Grammy-winning producer Christopher Manhey (far right, with hat)

The Krishna Sambandha kirtan band from Chile, South America, has a motto that is inspirationally opposite to just about every other music artist out there: “We don’t want fame through music, but we want to make Krishna famous.”

The group has the skills to do just that. Formed in 2007 by Sri Bhakti and Visvanath Chakravarti, it now has seven members, each with over ten years’ formal music training, some from India’s best masters in their fields.

This training shines through in their dazzling performances, an eclectic mix of classical and devotional instruments from India like the string instruments surbahar, sitar, santoor, and tambura; percussion like mridanga, tabla, pakhawaj, ghatam and kartals; and other instruments like the moorsing mouth harp and of course the harmonium.

Some of their monthly concerts are at prestigious theaters like Santiago’s Nescafe de las Artes, cultural events and massive yoga retreats with audiences of 5,000 to 7,000 people.

At others, they share their message of Krishna consciousness with the most needy and forgotten in society, holding programs in jails, hospitals, nursing homes, and children’s homes.

Chanting at a home for disabled children

One of the most affecting recent experiences for band members was when they participated in a cultural program for deaf children from the Santiago Apostol School in December. 

“Many of the children had implants that allowed them to hear some sounds and feel the vibrations of the musical instruments,” says Sri Bhakti. “They also taught us to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in sign language, and then several of them danced to the vibrations of the music, showing us that there are no limits for the spirit soul even when the body wants to restrain us. It was a very emotional experience.” 

This month, Krishna Sambandha shared the maha-mantra with children suffering from serious mental and physical disabilities in an institution called COANIL.

“Many were in a situation of complete abandonment, and because of their mental condition had to be tied to their beds so they would not hurt themselves,” Sri Bhakti says. “As we sang, many of them became peaceful, smiled and some even danced. The nurses were completely surprised, and we were amazed at the great power of the maha-mantra.”

With deaf children from the Santiago Apostol School

Whoever they’re playing to, members of Krishna Sambandha always try to embody their name. “Krishna Sambandha refers to our relationship with Krishna as His eternal servants,” Sri Bhakti says. “And through music we try to cultivate and nurture this relationship, and at the same time reconnect other souls to the Lord.”  

Most of their performances start with classical Indian ragas, which soothe the minds of audience members emerging from hectic offices, traffic jams and cities, and create an atmosphere of goodness and peace in the auditorium.

The band then sings devotional songs by Narottama Das Thakur, teaching the audience a part of the chorus so that they can sing along, which breaks the ice. They also explain the songs’ meanings according to the teachings of ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada.

Each concert concludes with the band chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra as a film of a pilgrimage in Vrindavana, the village of Lord Krishna’s birth, plays on a big screen.

Performing at Universidad Catolica de Chile

“On the stage, we always try to talk about Bhakti Yoga and how easy it is to offer everything we do to Krishna,” says Sri Bhakti. “We explain that we dedicate this music to God, just as doctors may devote their operations to Him, lawyers their cases, architects their buildings, or artists their paintings.”

The band members then invite their audience to spend a little time each day chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and offer them Srila Prabhupada’s books to read. They have already distributed books to the President of Chile as well as various politicians, actors, and artists. Finally, they give out prasadam snacks to the concert attendees.

So far, the response has been extremely enthusiastic, with Chilean people proving very interested in learning more about devotional music and the philosophy it’s inspired by.

“Our audiences are always increasing, and we are constantly receiving new invitations to participate in more projects and festivals,” says Sri Bhakti.

Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra to a huge audience at Yoga Expo 2014 in Santiago

Krishna Sambandha is currently recording its first album with Grammy-award-winning producer Christopher Manhey, and planning supporting tours in Chile and abroad.

“Our goal is to share the glories of Krishna’s Holy Name with everyone, no matter their age, socio-economic condition, religion, political ideology, race, or gender,” Sri Bhakti says. “Even here in this remote country of Chile, people are chanting the maha-mantra and experiencing bliss. This gives us more faith in Sri Chaitanya’s message and Prabhupada’s mission, because with each show we see how the maha-mantra is being effectively chanted in every town and village -- no matter how great a distance separates us from the place where this wonderful Sankirtan movement originated.”

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For more information about Krishna Sambandha, please visit them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Krishna-Sambandha/560491854080986) or email them at sebastiankauak@gmail.com

Krishna Sambandha erforming for deaf children from the Santiago Apostol School:

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[ chile ] [ kirtana ] [ music ]
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