I woke up this morning on Sunday, 11 December absolutely kicking myself for not being better organised
You see, today is the REAL LIFE concert of a VIRTUAL choir that I joined at the start of the year. It’s all the way down in London BUT it meant I would have had the chance to meet the wonderful Gaiea Sanskrit herself.
She is such a beautiful soul and it was her music that got me through a really hard time after baby Robin was born and we were separated
She has a huge YouTube following of 533k and sings the most beautiful Sanskrit chants and mantras. My absolute favourite song of hers is below- just listen to that wonderful melody. But the words!! Oh the words! I did touch upon this in a blog post earlier in the year.
I was singing them to my son before he was even born. As a freshly new-born little soul, when we were unexpectedly transferred to the hospital shortly after his wonderful home birth, this was the first song I sang to him (I can barely see the keyboard for tears now)
The reason I am crying is because after that we were so very, very cruelly separated for ten whole days
I sang this song to him as I stared at his beautiful little perfect face. We were on the labour ward and just waiting. Waiting to be seen by a doctor to look at something on his belly button as well as doing some other checks.
I was not particularly worried and had decided I would take him home the next morning if they hadn’t been to see him yet. Instead the most awful thing happened which led to me not being allowed to even stay at the hospital while he was transferred to NICU. I am going to write about it in my memoir very soon (as well as do the complaint to the hospital that I have been meaning to do ever since January) For now, though, I shan’t write anymore on the subject.
This was meant to be a joyous blogpost anyway!!
So instead, I want to tell you all about the Cosmic Choir…
I joined Gaiea Sanskrit’s online zoom choir back in January, I think it was the week before Robin was born. The rehearsals are also held in person at some studios in London but the majority of people attend via zoom, as it is streamed simultaneously there. There are usually about 50 of us on zoom from all around the world and what looks like 10 or so IRL (when she has shown us the room). And of course Gaiea’s gorgeous white dog is always there too
Everything was gearing up for a concert in the summer. We could not go to that as Robin had just had his operation so I thought I would aim for this one today. Alas, a few nights ago I freaked out about driving to London alone with the kids, thinking it would be dangerous. But it was night time when I had these thoughts and as soon as I got up today I really felt like going!
Alas it was too late to go. Oh, how our thoughts can run away with us under the cover of darkness.
Silly really. I have been to London many times before for other singing purposes. One time to the Sacred Harp convention with three small children in tow on the train, underground and bus. But I have not been to the big City since I went to sing Sacred Harp about 4 or 5 years ago Hats off to all those who DID make it
Maybe lockdown has got us used to just staying at home and doing everything online. I have become a home bird a lot more and love my little sanctuary (and also have my anti-social spells which I am sure many of us can relate to)
Anyway, I digress. So after kicking myself it took me a good talking to in order to let go of major FOMO and make peace with myself for not going
But all is good because due to the marvel of all this new tech I could STILL join the concert, albeit as a spectator by zoom and sang along at home
During all the rehearsals, zoom has been amazing because we have sung along with Gaiea in the comfort of our own homes, all on mute but able to fully express our voices without fear of any judgment from others. (not that I think anyone would do so, but that can often be a barrier for those new to singing)
I so had looked forward to singing with the others in real life, but honestly now I feel glad I didn’t have to face the journey back in the snow (10 hour delays apparently) We were cosy at home by the roaring fire with the dogs
So at 3pm I logged on to zoom
It looked like a gorgeous venue. Lots of people sat on the ground around Gaiea. We twenty or so folks joining on zoom were lucky to have three different views so we really felt like we were part of it. It looked like we were projected up on the wall behind Gaiea too
There was a small tech difficulty with the the audio at the start but Felix (Gaiea’s assistant) did really well sorting that out so the sound quality was good for us at home. I really can’t imagine all the organising to make sure everything ran smoothly
The first song “Hanuman” left the most gorgeous buzz of energy with me afterwards. So beautiful. Here are some of the words
“bolo bolo hanuman
jaya hanuman jaya hanuman
bolo bolo sita ram
sita ram sita ram”
I have to say I barely know any of the meanings of these songs, though Gaiea does explain when we rehearse. It is more the melody and the feeling that it evokes on an instinctive level that really matters I think
The chant at the end of this one actually made me cry. I can’t wait to watch the recording back and experience it all again. I might actually take up Sanskrit studies properly which has always been a dream of mine
There was a time many years ago when I was studying for my language degree that I felt drawn to learning Sanskrit. After all, it is the holy language of the Vedas and really the original language of our Aryan forefathers, it being related to most other European languages, and indeed the root of them.
Gaiea has made a documentary about this beautiful language if anyone wants to watch it
During MUGUR ALL MA – the drums generated THAT much energy I can only imagine what it was like there in the room!
And here is a video with the tune
Gaiea is such a lovely person – if any mistakes were made (which was rare anyway) she just did a huge smile which reminded me of one of those old fashioned, old school teachers.
“Gate Gate” over zoom was REALLY powerful too and had me swaying side to side like some of the others there in person
Despite not being there physically I still felt a real connection to what was happening. It was also lovely to hear some beautiful solo parts. Gaiea’s gorgeous white dog was there wandering about during the whole thing.
As soon as it got dark here I was grateful to be at home by my warm log fire and with my two dogs. Baby slept through most of the concert so I had about the most peaceful and relaxing, holy afternoon that I had had in a good while
I lit my incense and just tuned in to that energy, pure and simple. Two things that really stood out to me
First was the silence at the end. Gaiea said that it was important just to sit and not do anything straight after singing. It was a two hour concert with no break so quite full-on even though it felt light and lovely and I think we breezed through it
I know that feeling of needing silence from when do our singing group and we sing something that really raises the energy. Or after singing some Sacred Harp. It is often difficult to even speak afterwards. It’s such a great feeling to sit with that, in stillness and light
The second thing that I found was so beautiful is what she said about the MOTHER. I will have to watch the recording back when it is available and share more but it was so profound and poetic. Gaiea lost her mother at the start of his term of Cosmic Choir so not so very long ago at all. Among the exultation of the mother she also called Sanskrit the “language of the mother”. As a mother myself I found her words very moving. *
It is so good of the beautiful Gabriella (Gaiea’s real life name) to share her singing with us and start this group. It was so well organised. We got song sheets sent to us to study and rehearsal recordings (not that I really understood any of the Sanskrit at all!)
We found out the day after that that night in London there was such terrible snow there were 12 hour delays in some parts of motorway – thank the Gods we did not venture down!!
Here is a lovely video about The Cosmic Choir