Different Forms of Kirtan: Sri Prahlada


The power of kirtan is not only being increasingly recognised and embraced in the yoga community, but practitioners of other religious traditions are embracing it as well; creating new kirtan forms. What are some of these forms of kirtan and how is a kirtan practitioner to respond to them?

Within the Jewish tradition, we have the Kirtan Rabbi. He sings Hebrew Kirtan, which involves a weaving of traditional Jewish liturgy and musical modes with the call-and-response kirtan format as well as kirtan instrumentation. Kirtan Rabbai’s Hebrew kirtan uses the traditional call-and-response form – but utilises traditional Jewish modes of notation drawn from both European and Eastern sources.

Then there is Christian Kirtan, which is engaged in some churches to celebrate the service of Holy Communion. One way this practice differs from Hebrew kirtan is that it involves not only using the call-and-response format and instrumentation of kirtan, but also singing in Sanskrit. This is, Sanskrit versions of Christian prayers or Christian versions of Sanskrit prayers such as Jaya Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ (glory to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ).

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