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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Exciting New “Art of Kirtan” School Launches Online
By Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jul 02, 2024
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Bada Haridas, one of the founding teachers of the Art of Kirtan.

Art of Kirtan, launched in May 2024, is an online music school and heritage project. The initiative is headed by Bada Haridas, who has been leading and teaching kirtan for the past 50 years and is a professionally trained musician and composer. His wife, Kosarupa Dasi, manages the project, marketing, and fundraising, with assistance from their two adult children, Sri Gaura Mani and Nitai Sharana.

Bada Haridas and Visvambhar Sheth are the founding teachers of the Art of Kirtan and have a long history of collaboration. Visvambhar, who grew up in Vrindavan, India, learning traditional mridanga, harmonium, and singing, moved to the US at age seventeen. That summer, Visvambhar and Bada Haridas produced the album NADIA, and since then, they have performed kirtan together and collaborated on various music projects and albums.

Madhumangala Gopal Das and Padmarani Dasi (MaPa Studio Mayapur) are the film and audio team. Uma Devi Dasi is the tech and communications manager, and Pranada Dasi is the business consultant. Raghu Nandini and Govinda (eighteyes.com) are the school’s graphic designers.

Some of the participants of Art of Kirtan initiative.

The school launched with five foundational courses, namely Kirtan Katha – an inside look at kirtan as a personal meditation practice, Kartal Course (hand cymbals) with Visvambhar Sheth, The Language of Music (music foundation: rhythm, melody and harmony) with Bada Haridas and Visvambhar Sheth, Mridanga 1 (Bengali kohl drum) with Visvambhar Sheth, and Harmonium 1 with Bada Haridas.

Kosarupa said, “Srila Prabhupada assured us of the purifying power of kirtan and asked us to dedicate our lives to chanting the Holy Names and sharing kirtan with everyone we meet. With Art of Kirtan’s courses, students can understand the internal purpose of kirtan meditation and develop the skills to sing and play instruments for kirtan. Musicians can learn to accompany kirtan tastefully with various instruments.”

Five more courses will launch in the second half of 2024: Soulful Sanctuary: The Power of Mantra Meditation with Sri Prahlada Das, Temple Songs course with many excellent vocalists, Healing Your Voice through Kirtan with Acyuta Gopi Dasi, Festival Kirtan Melodies with Sri Prahlada Das, and Introduction to Bansuri Flute with Krishna Kishora Das. More teachers are planning their courses now for 2025.

Sri Prahlad Das, one of the teachers of Art of Kirtan.

“The Music of Srila Prabhupada – the Kirtan Acharya, I believe will be our most important offering,” said Bada Haridas. “My purpose for developing and teaching this course is to deeply appreciate Srila Prabhupada’s musical contribution and influence so that his style, mood, profound bhakti, and instructions influence and inform the kirtan and bhajan of our present and future generations.”

“The response so far has been very positive,” Kosarupa said. “There’s been a lot of excitement and celebration. We often hear, ‘I’ve been waiting for something like this!’ Yoga teachers, congregational members, and ashram devotees are happy to have music courses available for them 24/7. That means they can learn on their schedule, at their pace, and revisit lessons as often as they like. I’ve met families who are taking the courses together. Our Kirtan Katha course and the bundle with all four music courses are the most popular.”

Regarding the future plans for the Art of Kirtan, she said, “For kirtan to spread to every town and village in the world, we need a lot of kirtan singers and musicians. We’re hopeful the school will expand to meet the growing needs of the sankirtan movement.”

She recommended, “Please visit the Art of Kirtan website, read through the course descriptions, and watch the intro videos and trailers. If you’re inspired by what you see, enroll in the Kirtan Katha course (it’s free), and consider treating yourself to one or more of the music courses.”

To browse the school offerings, enroll, or contribute, visit their website or email them. Visit their YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for more updates.

Art of Kirtan is a non-profit school. Donors can sponsor course production, fund student scholarships, or contribute to the school’s maintenance and expansion.

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