WHAT IS KIRTAN?

What is Kirtan? Kirtan is a group singing and music-making experience, involving ancient Sanskrit chants. It blurs the boundaries between performers and audience, and has been called "Sanskrit Karaoke".


EMMA McGONIGLEfirst encountered yoga as child through her mother. She began practicing yoga in her late teens and early twenties more consistently and became a part of the budding yoga community in Shepherdstown, WV. After exploring various styles and teachings for several years, Emma became acquainted with Ashtanga under the guidance of an influential teacher and friend. She rigidly practiced Ashtanga for over a year, then enrolled in graduate school at Gallaudet University and shortly after became pregnant with her son, Nico. Her robust practice fell away and was replaced by prenatal yoga for healthy pregnancy and delivery. Following Nico’s birth, Emma was introduced to Dharma yoga and she finally began to understand the true yoga – compassion, love, and purification as a means to Self-Realization. Dharma yoga so struck her curiosity that she enrolled in Sri Dharma Mittra’s 200 hour Life of a Yogi teacher training. Sri Dharma’s teachings have infinite depth and have been immensely transformative in all aspects of her life. She hopes to share the teachings as she continues to tread the path of Yoga, always learning and growing. **Emma sang as a child and adolescence, rediscovering her voice through Kirtan and Bhakti Yoga, a devotional practice that has the power to bring you straight into the Heart.

WYNNE PARIS is a kirtan pioneer who has played over 2,000 kirtans at yoga centers, festivals, ashrams and homes across the US. Wynne was introduced to yoga in the early seventies by his Grandmother, who was a Yogananda devotee. He spent his twenties as a DC rock musician, but in 1994 his world turned when he was invited to sit in and play guitar with AMMA, the hugging saint. After that first epic kirtan experience, he left rock music and moved to California to explore music and spirituality.  In 1997 he helped Krishna Das produce his groundbreaking recording ' Pilgrim Heart '.  Since then he has played numerous shows and recording sessions with Krishna Das, Dave Stringer, GuruGanesha Singh, and many other revered kirtan artists. As a  support musician or as a leader, Wynne performs on guitar, percussion, sarod, harmonium and vocals. He has also worked with many mainstream artists and musicians who are deeply interested in yoga, including:  Rick Allen ( Def Lep ), JT Thomas ( Bruce Hornsby band ), Mark Karan ( Ratdog ), John Molo ( Phil and friends), Tony Levin ( Peter Gabriel), and Badal Roy ( tabla- Miles Davis ). Many of these great musicians support Wynne on his Groovananda recording, which is available on iTunes. In 2016,  Wynne launched the Lovelight Yoga + Arts festival with his long time friend Michael Lang, the iconic founder and producer of the Woodstock Festivals. Now, as a full time event producer, Wynne spends much of his time promoting the next generation of Kirtan artists. Wynne is also an advisory board member of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, a primate conservation group based in Washington DC.