Interviewer: Can you tell us about what you are up to these days and what you have been up to this past year? We understand you have been travelling quite extensively lately. Please tell us a bit about that.
Abigail: We have just travelled to many places around the world over the last year, visiting ISKCON temples and seeing how different cultures imbibe Krishna Consciousness and doing Kirtan with devotees wherever we went. It was amazing to realize how much we really do have a worldwide family as everywhere we went, we were welcomed with open arms (and prasadam!)
Davide: Well the trip was needed due to a travelling bug I carried inside for so many years. Abigail wasn’t even so keen on the idea but she was very pleased once we left. Kirtan has been the best icebreaker in many places and devotees –and even some non-devotees, love it. We got to play in many special places and with many special people.
Interviewer: How has your life changed since the kirtan course? Are your sadhanas any different? If yes, in what way have they changed? What about your relationship with the Holy Name?
Abigail: Our sadhana has changed in the way that we listen. We now have many more techniques for hearing the Holy Name.
Davide: When I first arrived at the Kirtan course I wasn’t chanting regularly and didn’t really have a clear understanding of what sadhana was as well as many other terms the community uses. The course helped understand what all of those words were as well as given me the chance to be surrounded by splendid devotees and, guess what, by the end of the course I was chanting my 16 rounds.
Interviewer: Word on the street is you are interested in starting up some preaching programs or something to that effect in London. Can you please expand on that and what it might entail?
Abigail and Davide together: For now, we are going to help with some wonderful existing projects that are going on in London such as Mantra Lounge and Kirtan London. We will be leading one of the Mantra Lounge nights in November. There are also some other projects in the pipeline but we’ll keep them under wraps for now…!
Interviewer: Since the kirtan course, has kirtan become a part of your everyday life and if so, in what way?
Abigail: Since the kirtan course, we have understood just how important kirtan is to our daily lives, either by playing kirtan or listening to it. We even travelled around the world with a small harmonium.
Davide: Kirtan changed our daily lives by changing our way to approach life. It has also been the reason for which we chose the route we took during our travels. For example, we went to the Mauritius Kirtan Mela in April this year and the trip was mainly arranged so we could be at the very first Mela on this gorgeous island. We only heard about it a few weeks before so we changed the original trip and started from there. Kirtan is a mindset.
Interviewer: What is your favourite thing about kirtan?
Abigail: Our favourite thing about kirtan is how powerful it can be to connect you with the Holy Name and the other souls participating in the kirtan. I was at Mantra Lounge last night and seeing how this process really transforms people and opens their hearts is quite extraordinary.
Davide: Kirtan is happy. You can feel it.
Interviewer: What’s your favourite instrument to play in kirtan? Have you found yourself continuing to develop your skills in certain areas of the practical aspects of kirtan, since the course ended?
Abigail: For me, my favourite instrument is the harmonium and I continue to learn and practice new melodies and ragas as much as I can.
Davide: I am trying to get Abigail to teach me more about harmonies even though I am yet to learn properly. Our road trip from Yosemite National Park to Seattle was a whole big kirtan singing session, so I’d say my voice is my favourite instrument. However, the mrdanga is really cool.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to future kirtan course students?
Abigail: I would say to come prepared to really try and absorb yourself in every aspect of the course. The two months go so quickly but there is so much nectar to be had. The kirtan course makes you understand that leading or playing any of the instruments in kirtan is not a performance, it is a glorification of Krishna and you are there as an instrument to do that, nothing more.
Davide: Focus on Krishna and your heart. The technical preparation is necessary to give you confidence but kirtan is not about that. The better your sadhana the better is the connection you can create with Krishna.