New Age Meditative Singers Karunesh and Deva Premal

I don’t know if you chant but there is something about the Buddhist way of meditation that has healing powers and many people swear by it. If you have Buddhist friends, they will often “chant for you” to wish you well or help you through a roadblock in your life – a truly wonderful concept that really works, just like our “traditional” prayers.

Chanting relies on the repetition of mantras, often thousands of times, to elevate the person chanting into a meditative state. If done alone, this can be tough, especially with distracting noises around so that many people meditating will chant along with popular singers. Two of those New Age singers producing wonderful meditative music are Deva Premal and Karunesh.

Though both singers are independent artists, apart from the type of music they make they have one more thing in common: their German roots. Karunesh was born Bruno Reuter in Cologne in 1956 and Deva Premal into a home full of Eastern spirituality in Nuremberg in 1970. Both also travelled to the Osho ashram in India (Karunesh in 1979 and Deva in 1990) and are deeply influenced by his philosophy.

Deva Premal in concert in October 2006

Photo: Prabhu Music

Deva is a classically trained musician in voice, violin and piano who, influenced by her musician mother and artist father, grew up singing mantras as bedtime songs. Her favorite is the Gayatri Mantra that became her trademark song. Her first album, The Essence, recorded with guitarist and partner Miten, featured this and other mantras and topped New Age and Alternative music charts worldwide when it came out in 1998.

Karunesh came to ambient and New Age music in the early eighties and continues to experiment with different styles, influences and spiritual surroundings. His first album, Sounds of the Heart, came out in 1987 and so far, 16 others have followed, selling altogether 450,000 copies. He says about his music: “I want to go beyond the limits and barriers separating different cultures, mixing different music styles and let them flow and dance together. Music is the one language in the world that everybody understands, across all cultures, religions and beliefs – music for body, heart and soul.”

And listening to any of these two talented musicians, either Deva’s mantras or Karunesh’s mystical world fusion, is a deeply moving yet relaxing experience. According to Deva, it is exactly the silence after the music that makes it so powerful. And receiving nourishing silence in our hectic lives is indeed a blessing. In Deva’s words:

“Without the silence that follows the chants, you get only half the story. It’s like the climax of a good story. … For me there is nothing more precious than having sung with an audience, ecstatic with bliss, and then entering the deep silence that the mantra brings… so deep, that with closed eyes you really feel there is ‘nobody’ there at all… all personalities dissolved for a tiny sacred moment.”

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