Kirtan East West Academy
Immerse Yourself In The Power Of Kirtan
Date: December 6 - 15, 2023
The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali
Are you a Kirtan lover and passionate about singing and chanting from the heart? Would you love to share this ancient & modern spiritual practice with the world?
This is a unique and transformational opportunity to study traditional and contemporary styles of playing and singing devotional mantras. Learn to express yourself through music referencing both Indian classical music and Western folk, rock and jazz idioms, taught by two Kirtan masters, Dave Stringer and Punnu Wasu. Chanting and meditation will also be explored from the perspective of neuroscience.
The playful and empowering teaching style of Punnu and Dave will be supported by other highly-qualified music teachers in this heart, soul and voice activating intensive training. Their profound knowledge and vast experience in Kirtan combined with their Eastern and Western music background and devoted approach to teaching provides an incredibly inspirational musical experience.
This training is accessible to beginners with no previous musical training, people with intermediate experience and Kirtan leaders who want to refine their skills.
What is Kirtan?
Kirtan is a folk musical form that arose from the devotional Bhakti yoga movement of 15th century India. The primary musical feature of kirtan is the use of call and response, a figure that also deeply informs Western bluegrass, gospel music and jazz. The form is simple: a lead group calls out the melodies and the mantras. The crowd responds, clapping and dancing as the rhythms build and accelerate.
The intention of Kirtan is consciousness-transformative, directing the singers to vanish into the song as drops merge into the ocean. The mantras are primarily recitations of names and qualities given to the divine, expressing elemental philosophical principles. But perhaps the true understanding of the mantras can be found in the sense of unity, well-being and timelessness that they elicit. The mantras quiet the mind, and the music frees the heart. Ecstasy is both the process and the product.
“Immerse yourself in the rapture of music. You know what you love. Go there.” --- The Radiance Sutras
Kirtan Academy Benefits
Experience the benefits of ancient and modern sacred mantra repetition as applied to chanting and meditation. Enjoy the ecstasy and deep spiritual fulfillment of Bhakti Yoga practice. Learn the proper pronunciation and meanings of Sanskrit chants from the Hindu tradition, Gurbani chants from the Sikh tradition and Sufi zikars.
You will gain insight into Yoga philosophy, along with traditional Indian deity stories and practices, and learn to explain them in accessible modern language. Study the instruments used for Kirtan and explore the possibilities of adapting the mantras to your own original musical compositions.
Trainer: Dave Stringer
Dave Stringer is a twice Grammy-nominated producer, musician and songwriter who has been widely profiled as one of the most innovative artists of the modern Yoga movement. He's both an inspiring singer and a compelling public speaker, resolving neuroscience, yoga philosophy and art into a participatory theatrical experience. Dave is featured in the documentary films Mantra: Sounds Into Silence and The Power of Mantra and has toured extensively, leading concerts, workshops and retreats all over the world.
An article about kirtan written by Dave.
What You'll Learn
Daily chant of the day
Vowel modification and vocal technique
Toning sessions for the voice through Classical Indian Sargams/Alankars, Alap and Ragas
Develop devotion through the voice
Sanskrit, Gurbani and Sufi chants
Chanting with small and large groups
Mastering the breath in order to have better voice control and sustain
Yoga and Bhakti philosophy & history of Kirtan
Basic arrangement, harmonium, tanpura and percussion techniques for new students
Advanced arrangement, harmonium, tanpura and percussion techniques for experienced students
Percussion workshop: Tabla, different drums and kartals (talas) rhythms
Proper pronunciation and meanings of mantras
Using mantra as a tool to deepen meditation
An overview of the neuroscience of chanting and meditation
Performance coaching on chosen or suggested songs
Explore the possibilities of creating your own chant compositions
Develop effective skills for leading Kirtan community
In depth study of chants and integration with personal practice
Participants are divided into groups: Beginner, intermediate and advanced depending on their skills and interest
Trainer: Punnu Singh Wasu
Punnu Singh Wasu is an Indian vocalist, musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He was born and raised in Hyderabad into a family that has a true love for kirtan and spirituality. He began studying harmonium and singing at the tender age of 5. At age 10, he moved on to studying the Indian Classical Music (Hindustani) while travelling with his father throughout India singing the beautiful verses of Kirtan.
Later on he also studied mandolin and tabla. He performs Kirtan, Xtatic Kirtan, Indian Fusion, Indian Classical music, Sufi, Bollywood music as well as Sound Healing around the world. Punnu is featured in the documentary The Power of Mantra. He has his own Kirtan Academy and Sound Healing Academy and also leads music workshops in combination with yoga & meditation globally.
09:00 – 10:00am: Silent Meditation, Mantra, and Pranayama techniques to help open the vocal cords
10:00 – 01:00pm: Nada Yoga (yoga of sound) & Chanting, Percussion Workshop (rhythm practice – Kaherwa and Bhajani beats and Kartals) and Bhakti Yoga Philosophy
01:00 – 02:30pm: Lunch and Relaxation Time
02:30 – 05:30pm: Vocal and instrumental practice in small groups
5:30 - 07:00pm: Dinner and Relaxation Time
07:00 – 09:00pm: Group performances
Full tuition — Immersive study and practice
Highly qualified and professional musician teachers and assistants
In-depth Kirtan and Bhakti Yoga books and useful chant sheets that spell out the exact fingers and chords to use in granular detail
Certificate of participation upon completion of the module 1 and/or 2 training
Closed messaging group – A space is for learning, sharing, asking questions and keeping in touch
BONUS – Apprenticeship
Students who have successfully completed both the modules of Kirtan Academy - East meets West have the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship. Apprentices have the chance to assist, hold space, dive deeper and learn through the experience in a future Kirtan Trainings
Module 1 & 2
USD 2'499 (Organic vegetarian lunch included)
Module 1 or 2
USD 1'499 (Organic vegetarian lunch included)
10% discount when fully paid by September 1, 2023
Bring a friend - USD 108 for you and your friends
Accommodation, dinner and travel expenses are not included
Total amount upon registration
If your payment preference is PayPal a 5% fee is added by PayPal.
Please contact us for paying in installments.
There will be a handling fee of USD 50.
Refer to our refund policy regarding payment.
To get the most from the training, please listen to the mantras we suggest before arriving for the course
What To Bring
Comfortable clothes, notebook, pen, eye mask, earplugs, reusable water bottle. Bring your own instrument(s) if you have them.
Module 1 & 2 Graduation Requirement
No more than 1 day of absence during the training
Module 1 or 2 Graduation Requirement
No more than 1/2 day of absence during the training
Module 1: 5 days (December 6 - 10)
Module 2: 5 days (December 11 - 15)
Module 1 & 2: 10 days (December 6 - 15)
Extension Of Training
Participants who signed up for module 1 have the option to extend during the training for module 2 if space is available.
Class Room Language
Punnu & Dave teach primarily in English. German translation by native speaker is available upon request. Dave speaks some German and French.
Accommodation and travel expenses are not included.
Rooms can be booked at The Yoga Barn, Airbnb, Momondo, Agoda, Booking.
Special Music Requests and Private Classes
Punnu can teach mandolin playing if requested. Dave can also teach guitar. Private music sessions in person or online can be booked with Dave, Punnu and guest teachers after the training.
All insurances (incl. health and travel) are the responsibility of the participants.
Teachers and assistants shall not be held liable for any damage, or loss of property or injury to persons.
Travel and Visa Information
Please check with the Indonesian Embassy in your country for the latest requirements to enter Indonesia before making your travel bookings.
The Yoga Barn has a visa agent who can help you with visa processing if needed. Please contact us if you need assistance. Passports must be valid for six months beyond the exit date.
Water and juice fasting are not recommended during the training.
Questions & Registration
Send us an email to book a phone call or Zoom if you have questions about whether this is the right training for you.
Please contact us if you are interested in attending, have any questions or for payment.
"It was no coincidence that I participated in your Kirtan Academy, that’s for sure. From the very first moment I was so touched and overwhelmed. I was so happy that I made the decision to join your 5-day training. The group was very special and all the teachers were so professional and lovely. Also you Punnu & Catherine supported me so much and I felt very safe. I have never been to such an amazing workshop, with so much passion and love put together and I could really feel the high level of energy & love. This is magical work you’re doing. This training made such an impact on me and I had such a magical time."
MARTINA KASCHAK, AUSTRIA
"It feels good to sing for five days and not be judged - that's a spiritual experience. I found my voice from an authentic place. It's a somatic experience - not in my head - in my body. When I can feel into it, I become part of the oneness and I play better. The container Dave creates facilitates self-discovery and spiritual connection."
TIM BRAHEEM, ESALEN INSTITUTE, CALIFORNIA
"What you do is what I call sacred theatre. It's incredibly liberating because we're at our edge, and with your super lovely attitude of "of course you can do it", everyone just gets on with it. The way you did it was so UN-stressful. I came to my edge at times - especially leading a kirtan on the first night, but the space you hold is so warm, supportive, joyful."
LISA PAGE, GOVINDA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA
"This was by far one of the most healing experiences of my life. Dave Stringer is loving, committed, ingenious and fun."
DR. SUZANNE LERNER, ESALEN INSTITUTE, CALIFORNIA