Having been to four of Snatam Kaur's concerts, I didn't think it possible that a DVD could capture all of the blissfulness that comes from absorbing the music and atmosphere present at her live performances.
The DVD didn't, but it gave me some of that sensation. I say some, because the DVD is more of a chronicle of her touring, just as the DVD back jacket cover says - it gives partial glimpses of what's involved to create performances, interviews with the musicians, rehearsals (that was really neat to see!), and actual footage of real performances in different venues, albeit only short snippets of them.
There is a delightful segment showing Snatam Kaur interacting with young children. Also a segment showing a yogic kundalini breathing exercise, just like it is done at concerts!
I wish there had been at least one song/chant performance that was shown in its entirety on the DVD. (I had hoped that the one which would be shown in entirety would either be "Ong Namo" or "Long Time Sun." Either one of these would have been an appropriate "bookend" for the DVD production.) The viewer just gets a taste of the various experiences involved in the touring adventure.
Some of the comments by the musicians show their irreverent side, which reminds the viewer, that the musicians, while playing holy music, are still as real and as approachable as the common concert goer.
The flow of scenes in the DVD is well-paced and well-sequenced. I really felt that Snatam and company were opening their doors to their fans, allowing them to get an intimate glimpse of what they go through to bring their magic to the world. The total quality production is very good and highly recommended to anyone who has never been to one of her concerts and wants to be exposed to the beauty and grace of her music (as well as enjoying the great musicianship of her colleagues who play with her - what a treat to watch GuruGanesha Singh Khalsa do his magic on the guitar), as well as those of us who have attended her concerts many times and want to relive the special energy.
The relatively short run time of the DVD (45 minutes) is made up for by the fuller length CD of seven selections (74 minutes). What is special about the CD selections is that the music captures the same live performance audio sensation that we concert goers hear at the concerts (versus the studio version of her music that is captured on her other CD's). You get the full length version that you hear at the concerts. One of her most popular chants, "Ong Namo," starts out with a similar introduction as is normally done at concerts with the eventual lead in to the main melody and words.
By looking at the listing of chants on the CD, one might think, "I have already heard these on the other CD's." You will find that the recording of these chants has a purer, fresher, and cleaner sound, as just as spiritually envigorating, if not more. I love both the studio recorded CDs I have of these chants as well as this one.
"Gobinda Hari" goes on and on and takes the listener into a hynotic trance with repetition of various words and musical phrasing. Other chants (this one or perhaps "Adi Shakti," or "Shivoham"?) end with a tabla solo display of measured ecstasy.
The studio produced versions of Snatam's music don't capture the guitar work of GuruGanesha Singh Khalsa like what a concert goer sees and hears at those events. This CD and the DVD capture his special gift and contribution to her music and sound. I really liked the fact that his guitar work can be heard distinctly on the chants, as more in the foreground - and in the concert performances, much of his guitar runs ARE in the foreground of the music when Snatam is not singing.
A prime example of his artistry and excellence in sound engineering is displayed on track 5 of the CD - "Adi Shakti." It sounds just like I have heard GSK play this chant at the concerts.
The concluding "Aad Guray Nameh" is lovingly performed. Her studio performance of this chant on another CD is also very beautiful in the use of overdubbing of voices, but this concert version is elegant in the simplicity of the way in which a singular voice can still produce such a beautiful purity of sound that moves the listener deeply.
The CD contains a nice variety of chants - ranging from the very calm and soothing, to the more energetic, to the high energy ones.
Inner contents on the packaging contain an attractive fold out type picture of the four musicians involved in the tour, positioned on stage with their instruments, as well as lyrics (in English and Gurmukhi with translation of key spiritual terms). Unlike the inner contents of some of her other CD's, such as "Grace," which go into great detail about the meaning of various chants, this CD/DVD package simply provides the lyrics and translation, and a description of people responsible in the production and performance of the music, tour, and the DVD/CD.
I really enjoyed this DVD and CD, and only wished that the content of the DVD was longer and filled with more concert film footage and that at least a few of the chant performances were shown in their entirety.
This DVD/CD is a must-have for any Snatam Kaur and GuruGanesha Singh fan. I'd rate this package a 4 1/2 but fractions are not allowed, and given the nature of her music, quality of production, and relative beauty of the effort, I am required to select the higher rating, for the higher calling to which Snatam Kaur has devoted her life, the excellent quality of her music, and the inspiration and loving connection it brings to me, the listener.