Sweet Danish Memories

View of Copenhagen, Denmark

May 19, 2024

Denmark! What an absolute joy to return to Copenhagen after more than three decades since my last too-short visit there. Thank you so much to my lovely hosts, fellow Bhaktas and chanters Niels and Stina, aka GopiAnand Kirtan (aka the Pushti Vikings!), for their generosity in putting me up, sharing their home with me, refreshing my memory on the glories of Copenhagen by bicycling around town with me a couple days, taking me up to the sea for a taste of the country life—fabulous—and of course, putting together the opportunities to sing with their community. Special shout out to Niels for guiding me through the Metro system for my first voyage on the underground. It was a packed four days, and I cannot wait to return! I would definitely be happy to spend some extended time with the Danes–so maybe more, down the road.

It was great to bike through Christiania again, after three decades, and see that it still seemed thriving—though apparently not without challenges, as the infamous open-air hashish market known as “Pusher Street” was apparently being overrun recently by gangs of ruffians, and recently closed down, bringing an unwelcome harshness from the police who otherwise steer clear—leading some longtime locals to worry that a crackdown was coming that would eventually close the radical experiment in social living that is Christiania and open the prime area up for “development”—which would indeed be tragic. Fingers crossed.

It was also great to finally meet fellow musician, singer, chanter and music producer Jakob Weise, who not only sat in with me live but also generously invited me the next day to spend a few hours in his studio recording—well, something. If you know me well, you know that I am a slow learner, so I cannot say I was ready for prime time that day, but with the invitation for a spontaneous recording session, I dusted off the Nandakumar Ashtakam—one of my favorite pieces that Shyamdas used to sing, and something I’ve been slowly learning in recent moons—and laid it down with harmonium. We’ll see how it comes out, but it was a fun experience in any case! Shout out to Kent Welsh from the East Bay in California, who also joined me live with Jakob—we’ve not run into each other in India and Europe these past 5 months, which is always fun. More down the road!

Thank you Denmark, I look forward to returning again as soon as you will have me…

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