The 9-Min Pod
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In this podcast, Krishni Metivier, a PhD student at Duke University, explores Chant 4 Change, a 10-hour chanting festival spanning various religious and spiritual traditions, through both her own research experience and the observations of Krishna Priya, a participant of both this event and the Great March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C.
Chant 4 Change was held at the Lincoln Memorial on Oct. 8th 2016.
A small collection of photos of the crowd.
The crowd grew through out the 10-hour long event despite the rainy weather.
During Radhanath Swami’s performance, the entire festival area swelled with people. This image was found on Gaura Vani Music’s facebook page. Gaura Vani is the founder and organizer of this event.
Performance + Music + Sound
Building a Community in Sound
Many traditions were represented during the festival including Sufism, Sikhism, Christianity, Judaism, Gaudiya Vaisnavism (“Hare Krishnas”), and many more.
Sweet Honey in the Rock incorporated sign language alongside their beautiful a cappella performance.
Radhanath Swami, a spiritual teacher of the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition and author of the New York Times best seller The Journey Home, gave a 20 minute speech followed by a kirtan, sacred mantra chanting, performance. Click here to watch all of it.
The rain started to come down during Fanna-Fi-Allah’s incredible performance. Nevertheless, you can see a group of people move into the right side of the stage and begin to dance a rain dance.
An acclaimed musical artist and record producer, Tina Malia, of Korean and Yugoslavian descent, leads Sanskrit and English chants with her remarkable voice. Fun fact, she is a Standing Rock activist.
Yona French Hawk of the Cherokee Native American tribes of North Carolina led a traditional prayer with Ajeet Kaur, a Kundalini yogi and musical artist.
For more videos from the entire event, check out our Chant 4 Change Youtube playlist.
Behind the Scenes
The whos and whats behind this 9-Min Pod
This podcast was produced as part of research for the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC and Duke University in Durham, NC in 2016. It was originally published here on December 5, 2016.
Pictured below is our guest interviewee Krishna Priya. When introducing herself, she replied:
Well, my name is Hollie Kennedy, and I am known to my friends by my spiritual name, which is Krishna Priya. I was born in 1950, that makes me sixty-six, in May, in Westchester, New York. My family moved to South Florida, when I was about 14, 15, so I grew up in Miami. I have a degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Krishna Priya’s first encounters with musical chanting of sacred mantras, kirtan, were during her college years at the University of Florida. In her search for “alternative answers” to understanding the self, she discovered A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement (also known as ISKCON), teachings. She called chanting an “integral part” of her inspiration and referred to it as the “best medicine” for connecting with the Divine.
Chant 4 Change is a chanting festival organized around participatory musical/chanting performances and speeches.
Before this event, only one other Chant 4 Change festival had been organized; it was held in 2009 in Washington, D.C. on Martin Luther King Day and, in part, celebrated Barack Obama’s inauguration. At the second Chant 4 Change festival, the professional and traditional chanters, speakers, and pluralistic audience gathered to promote, according to the event’s official website, “unity, peace, and harmony to celebrate and to heal our nation.”
The producer, sound engineer, host, researcher, and author of this website and podcast is Krishni Metivier. She is a Ph.D. student at Duke University studying the transnational networks of South Asian religions and the material culture of American kirtan.
All photos and videos were originally taken by Krishni unless otherwise indicated.
Krishni can be contacted by email at email@example.com.