Rob and Melissa Lundsgaard, the Seattle Kirtan duo, is working on a new album. They have recently launched a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete their album. We caught up with the couple to learn more about their new album. Here is what they shared with us.
Seattle Yoga News: What inspired you to record this new album?
Rob & Melissa: We have been wanting to make a new record for some time now. Our first disc, BOLO, is great, but it’s only 5 songs, and they are simple recordings of our two voices and a guitar. They were recorded in a studio, but we played them ‘live’, meaning no overdubbing, or fixing mistakes or anything. Almost immediately after finishing BOLO, we started dreaming about recording a full length album, with all the bells and whistles of a full production. The initial push for this new CD, TEJASE, came from a friend who was in a yoga class we used to teach together. At the end of class, we were asked when we were going to make a new CD. We responded that we had begun the creative process, but just needed to figure out the financial end of things. Much to our surprise, our friend approached us immediately after class, and offered to help out! The seed money she gifted us was enough to get the ball rolling. That’s when we approached Ben Leinbach, who agreed to produce it for us, and next thing we knew, we were in the studio! Our angel donor especially loves one of our Shiva chants, and we put that track on the CD as a way to say thank you. The last word in that mantra is Tejase (the vital essence of illumination), which is not only the title of that particular track, but has become the name for the whole record.
Seattle Yoga News: What are you most excited about regarding this album?
Rob & Melissa: Something amazing seems to be happening on this new record for us: the songs all really seem to take on the ‘essence’ of the deities that they are about. In kirtan, we are singing the names of the yogic deities, and most of the mantras are pretty standard. We aren’t ‘writing’ lyrics per-say, the creative aspect is contained solely in the musical interpretation of the mantra, ie. the melodies, chord choices, and instrumental arrangements. Sometimes we will come up with a super sweet melody, or something really catchy musically, but then discover that it doesn’t quite “fit” the mantra. For us, every one of the eight songs seems to capture the energy represented by the deity we are singing to. Our Laksmi tune is lush and beautiful, our Kali/Durga piece is intense and powerful, and so on…
Seattle Yoga News: What is it like working with Ben Leinbach in producing this new album?
Rob & Melissa: Working with Ben Leinbach is like a dream come true. He is a total pro and extremely talented, but even more important, he really knows the genre. He has worked with so many great kirtan singers, and we are overjoyed to be included in his impressive list of collaborators. Ben’s studio is at his house in Marin County (which is one of the most beautiful places on the West Coast), and the vibe is relaxed and mellow. He and his family made us feel right at home the minute we arrived for our first session in April, and the actual working process has been just as comfortable. There is a sweet equanimity in the creative dynamics, he listens to our ideas with an openness rarely found in someone with so much experience. He’s a joy to work with and we foresee many more projects with Ben in the future.
Seattle Yoga News: How soon do you think it will be available?
Rob & Melissa: TEJASE is scheduled to be released in early January.
Seattle Yoga News: What is your message to the Seattle yoga community?
Rob & Melissa: We are so full of gratitude for all the love and encouragement from our friends in the yoga community. Even now, as we begin this kickstarter campaign, we are being blown away with the overwhelming support. We love singing kirtan, but the real meaning shines through when we share it with you, raising our collective vibration by coming together as a group. The best moments are when one of you reaches out and tells us how kirtan has enriched your life…each and every one of you has been an angel to us, inspiring us to keep going. Your encouragement has been invaluable. Deep bows of gratitude to you.
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