A Shyamdas birthday celebration in Jatipura

Shyamdas would have turned 61 today. Sheesh. Still warming up to this whole “no more Shyamdas in body” program…

Today a small gathering was held here at Shyamdas’ old home on the side of the Govardhan Hill. A couple of dozen of Westerners were in attendance, and approximately the same amount of Vrajabasi locals. We began with a Dhrupad classical music program featuring Panditji Mohan Shyam Sharma, Shyamdas’ good friend and the pakhawaj teacher of many, including Shyamdas, Martin ji, Vishvambar from Mayapuris and many others. Panditji was joined by his old friend Faiyaz Wasif Uddin Dagar, a 20th generation scion of the famous and amazing Dagar clan—widely considered one of the absolute top Dhrupad singing families of the last centuries. His vocal subtlety and mastery were joyous to behold!

We had a bandhara feast for all, then some afternoon rest before reconvening around 4pm for another round of bhajan and speakers.

Sadhu Maharaj also came, speaking for a bit and inviting me to sing kirtan with him, as is his wont. I enjoy his sweet company, and it was lovely to see him again after almost a full year. I’ll go by his Munger Mandir Ashram later this week and chant kirtan with his crew. Actually singing a bunch at his ashram last year was a period during which I crafted something closer to actual arrangements of these Shyam Lila tunes—so it feels like coming full circle on that.

Anyway, I am wrecked. Now happily back in my nearby crib, I am about to go lights out and take rest.

Radhe Radhe ~ Jai Jai Shri Radhe Shyam