All One

Krishna Das. Triloka/Artemis.


Formerly Jeff Kagel of Long Island, the fiftysomething Krishna Das is an adherent of bhakti yoga who specializes in kirtan, or devotional chanting. All One, his sixth album, explores variations on a single “Hare Krishna” chant over 53 minutes, which ought to be a recipe for crushing tedium. Instead, it’s a captivating experience, even for those who don’t care about the spiritual trappings. Joined by 70 voices and 20 players, including Steely Dan’s Walter Becker on bass and Def Leppard’s (!) Rick Allen on drums, Das finds surprising variety within repetition. As he murmurs and mumbles like your genial, slightly goofy uncle, the tempo subtly changes and the music ebbs and flows, mixing guitar, violin, and cello with harmonium, tabla, sarod, and even a stainless-steel thermos (!!). By the time Das and company reach the celebratory climax, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy.

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  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.