Welcome to Lifeline: The Essential Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach Collection, released three days ago on the Sounds True label.
I’m listening to it right now and have to say I’m very moved and inspired. Where did these songs come from????? Ben and I have always had an amazing working relationship: humorous, deep, and creative. But as I listen to these collaborations I see that something or someone bigger than us was hard at work constructing these songs of love and longing.
In putting together Lifeline our most difficult job was picking the songs. There are just so many that we love. The next job was editing them and, in some cases, remixing them to fit on a single CD and to flow from one into the other. Though editing was sometimes challenging we found that the songs seemed to flow easily, regardless of which album they represented. It was as if all of our Sounds True CDs were just chapters in a very long story, as yet incomplete…..
We had fun experimenting with taking elements from one song and fitting them into another, kin for like Giles Martin did on the Beatles’ Love album. Have you heard that? It’s fabulous. So, as you listen to Lifeline , you may hear musical parts that you recognize from other albums. Ben and I are going to think of some kind of a contest around this. Stay tuned for for that……
Anyway, I don’t have much more to say right now except I hope you love this new release.
Briefly, a heads up to you East Coast friends. I’ll be embarking on a very short tour starting in Washington, DC, and moving up to New York City to sing and teach at Integral Yoga and YogaMaya. I’ll be accompanied by two great friends that most of you know: Gaura Vani and Dharma Dev Das. Please join us!!!!
And in closing, I’d like to share what I wrote for the liner notes of Lifeline.
Lots of love,
In these so-called “modern” times the lifeline between countries, continents, and cities is found in the airplanes and jets that burn holes through the sky, leaving trails of vapor in the etheric distance. Before the planes were the trains, and we all know through the tradition of folk songs the incredible trials and sacrifices that were made to lay the rails. In slightly older times the lifeline between cities and villages was always the river— the great rivers, the great waterways. We’ve heard thousands of songs about the Mississippi River, forever rolling towards the sea. In India, we have so many Bhajans and prayers about the Ganges, Mother Ganga, about the Yamuna, the Narmada, and all the great divine tributaries that connect people to people, village to village. These rivers are worshipped as Goddesses, delivering the divine quality of grace to humankind. And in the more remote, rural, dry regions of India the lifeline used to be (and sometimes still is) the oh-so-slow bullock cart, carrying supplies and messages from one dusty hamlet to the next.
But to the soul there is no “ancient” or “modern.” There is no time, there is no place. There is just eternity. And what has always been the lifeline for the human spirit? Music, rhythm, melody, the songs that connect heart to heart, and soul to soul. The songs and dances from time immemorial feed us and nourish us and become our lifeline to Spirit. In India, in the great Vedic tradition, there is yet another lifeline known as Mantra; divinely channeled words from the Sanskrit language that were blessed and given to us as a wondrous soul-survival mechanism for human beings, a life raft to carry us across the stormy ocean of existence. The Mantras that we sing and that we use for prayer and for practice are known to be another form of the Divine, another form of God and of Goddess. These Mantras are the heart and the essence of the music on this album. They are the lifelines that have connected me to that One who has saved me time and time again. May they become a beautiful and rich part of your lives …
P.S. We’re offering a limited-time discount on a bundle of Lifeline and Return to Shiva Station if you buy direct from my website here!