Canadian Devotional Chant artist, Brenda McMorrow has had a rich and diverse musical career (from folk to jazz to bluegrass) and now, with a deep devotion to the unveiling and celebration of our true beings through the powerof sound, she is invited to travel worldwide to share her unique blend of original folk-inspired melodies, world beats and sacred Indian devotional chants.
It was when Brenda participated in her first Sanskrit chant while attending a Yoga workshop in 2004, that she had a profound knowing her musical journey was leading her to places more expansive and heart-opening than she had ever imagined. Brenda remembers: “It was a very simple chant (Om Namah Shivaya), and at the time I had no idea what it signified: all I knew was that every cell in my body started vibrating, and I felt absolute joy”. While in India soon thereafter, Brenda began combining her own songwriting with ancient Sanskrit chants – and she has been flowing with this divine wave of Bhakti energy ever since.
Brenda is a featured artist on the White Swan Records roster, a Colorado label well known for it’s high-profile yoga-inspired artists like Deva Premal. She has accompanied Grammy award winning cellist David Darling and esteemed Kirtan musicians Jai Uttal, Wah!, David Newman, Girish and Dave Stringer, and has been invited to Bhakti Yoga festivals and events across the U.S., Canada, Italy and Germany as part of her most recent tour schedule. When not on the Bhakti road, Brenda calls beautiful Guelph, Ontario home.
Brenda McMorrow 2010
A folk troubadour who toured outdoor music festivals as a solo singer–songwriter and played in bands exploring everything from jazz to bluegrass, Canadian–born Brenda McMorrow was a seasoned music veteran before finding spiritual awakening in the practice of yogic chant, the kirtan. Ameya (or boundless) is her joyously assured debut collection of classic kirtans, interpreted with her own seasoned rootsy style. While spiritually grounded to their core, her songs breathe deeply in a free, driving down the road in North America mellow-gold style; her warmly raspy, slightly nasal, sandy beach voice and acoustic guitar anchor the ancient yoga chants.
The tracks here are full of graceful attention to small details, filling headphones with rich sound thanks to acclaimed world music producer Ben Leinbach (Jai Uttal and others). “Govinda Gopala” finds McMorrow’s voice carrying a ghostly echo over her mellow, strummed acoustic guitar, gradually building up in intensity with bass and drums. “Ayodhya Vasi / Rama Rama” opens on smooth, ingratiating drones, welcoming you into its sacred aural space before settling into a guitar, bass, drums bit of rocking and rollicking mellowness. Contrasting the general sublime softness of the album, “He Ma” enlivens the set with a jubilant rhythm section and McMorrow’s deliciously husky voice guilelessly inspiring one to sing and clap along.
As rich as it is with good feeling and Leinbach’s warm production space, Ameya depends on Brenda McMorrow’s dusky voice and laid-back but earthy, present style, as beguiling, sensual, and sweet as you always imagined life could be. Ameya shows that these millennia-old kirtans are still relevant and very adaptable to the rhythms and emotional melodies we associate with adult-contemporary western pop music. When yogic chant and singer-songwriter talent merges in a nurturing voice like McMorrow’s we all benefit. This wandering Canadian folk troubadour has found a home in the boundless flow of newly awakened spirit; the power and light is audible in her every breath on Ameya, and you, me, and the world are all invited to dance, meditate, sing along, or just drift in the flow of a happy, settled heart.