Soulful Interpretations of Sacred Chants featuring guest performances by Ben Leinbach, Girish, Gina Sala, Benjy Wertheimer, Hans Christian, Jaya Lakshmi, Ananda, Bibi McGill, Daniel Paul, Vince McClellan, Ankush Vimwala, and more luminaries of the global kirtan community.
Heart Beats One is Johanna’s critically acclaimed album of original kirtan music—devotional music with roots in the traditions of yoga. Many of these strikingly beautiful songs interweave mantras and chants from other cultures with English translations. All of them tap deeply into our shared heart space.
The album, which was nominated as one of the top Conscious Music Albums of 2015 by Soul Traveller Radio, has been widely praised by reviewers, musicians, and other enthusiastic listeners:
Shines Like a Million Suns
In the tradition of kirtan, I wrote this invocation to Ganesh, remover of obstacles. It describes in Sanskrit the elephant god whose body shines like a million suns, showing blessings on everyone.
vakratunda mahaakaaya suryakoti samaprabhaa.
nirvighnam kurumedeva sarvakaaryeshu sarvadaa.
- The Light Inside
These words came to me as an offering of wisdom for my childhood self. It is a prayer for everyone who has ever struggled to find their way back to the home that is always with them. The traditional Kundalini chant Pavan Guru, introduced to me by my friend Davida Singh, provides grounding in the deep wisdom of the ages.
You are the sun, you are the moon.
You are the universe inside when you come home to you.
You are the light; the light inside.
You can’t help but shine through the darkness. You are divine.
Though there is darkness there is light.
Though you are human you are divine.
Though there are shadows inside.
Every breath … you breathe in light.
Pavan, Pavan, Pavan, Pavan, Par Para, Pavan Guru.
Pavan Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Pavan Guru. (repeat)
Breath is your guide, is your sage, is your knowledge.
Breath, breathe in life.Beyond the beyond….
You are safe. You are whole.
You are love beyond words, so powerful.
Heart open wide, The whole universe lives inside.
Little child come home, home to the light.
This Heart is open wide and the whole universe lives inside.
So breathe….breathe in life.
Saraswati is the traditional Hindu Goddess of music, culture, knowledge, and creativity. It was easy for me to write a chant honoring these values.
Saraswati Namaha Maha Devi Namo Namah
Saraswati Ma, Saraswati Ma, Jai Ma, Jai Ma
Maha Devi Namo Namah, Namo Namah, Namo Namah
Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Devi Ma
Nataraja is the Lord of Dance in traditional Hindu mythology. An aspect of Shiva, he dances in a ring of fire, burning away what is no longer needed. This is not necessarily a simple process, so the chant unfolds in several movements.
Om Namah Shivaya
Nataraj Nataraja Jaya Shiva Shankara Nataraja
- Hallelujah Govinda
Govinda is the name for Krishna as a youth. More than anything, he represents pure love. While we were recording the vocals for this chant, I was spontaneously moved by the gospel spirit to throw in a few hallelujahs. Gina Sala’s joyous responses echoed that spirit.
Govinda Jaya Jaya, Gopala Jaya Jaya
Radha Ramana Hari Govinda Jaya Jaya
Govinda Jaya Jaya Gopala Jaya
JayaRhade Shym, Rhade Shym
Radha Ramana Hari Govinda Jaya Jaya
- Kali Durge
The goddesses Kali and Durge are two of the most powerful female deities. They represent both destruction and creation. My version of this chant has elements of darkness and light to represent that eternal dichotomy.
Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya
Kali Durge Namah Shivaya
- Heart Beats One
This is easily my most requested song. It seems to remind people of something they’ve always known. The same is true for the ancient Maha Mantra (Hare Krishna), one of the most powerful and ancient of mantras.
In our short sweet lives we’re all searching for the light—
The same light that makes trees thrive.
Our roots go down, branches reach to the sky.
I know inside that you and I
Share the same heart, the same soul,
The same love, and I know
My heart beats one,
your heart beats one,
this heart beats one,
our hearts beat as one.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Ram,
Ram Rama Hare Hare
- Om Shanti (Peace in Our Hearts)
This closing chant interweaves the words to three parts of the Upanishad. It’s a universal prayer for peace that roughly translates as:
Lead us from darkness to light.
Lead us from death to immortality.
May all beings be happy and free from suffering.
Peace, peace, peace!
Om Shanti Shanti Om
Asato mā sadgamaya
Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
Mṛtyormā’mṛtaṁ gamaya Om
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Om
Musicians (in order of appearance):
Johanna vocals, harmonium, synths,piano, acoustic and electric guitars,
Daniel Riddle guitar, bass, trap set, hand percussion, synth, vocals, electronics
Daniel Paul tabla
Larry Beekman classical guitar
Vince McClellan flute, flamenco guitar
Lyris Cooper bass, vocals
Rebecca Reese cello
Sabine Monn cello
Greg Allen (Jaskaran) viola
George Beekman guitar, congas, djembe, doumbek, cajon, electronic hand drum, kalimba, hand percussion
Davida Singh vocals and chant cocreation
Jaya Lakshmi vocals
Sarah Grumbling vocals
Gina Sala vocals
Sean Frenette bass, guitar, sitar guitar
Dave Chiller tabla, hang
Ben Leinbach trap set, hand percussion, guitar, electronic wizardry, vocals
Dave Trenkel synth, electronics
Michael Stirling tamboura,vocals
Girish vocals, percussion
Jesse Stern tabla, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Paul Brainard lap steel guitar
Brian Bontempo sarod
Hans Christian cello
Bibi McGill guitar
Gershone Hendelberg Hammond and Rhodes keyboards and harmonium
Benjy Wertheimer esraj
Ankush Vimwala tabla
Additional Group Vocals on tracks 3, 5, 6, and 7 by members of Johanna’s Bhakti Tribe: Ananda, Susan Beekman, Tressa Yonekawa Bundren, Lyris Cooper, Reema Datta, Angela Grace, Sarah Grumbling, Trevor Guiliani, Gershone Hendelberg, Alexandra Jackiw, Prashant Kakad, Kalyani (Colleen Buckman), Jaya Lakshmi, Ben Leinbach, Sid Rosen, Gina Sala, Davida Singh, Michael Steen, Jesse Stern, Kitzie Stern, Michael Stirling, Sweethome Teacup, Alec Vila, Daniel Zamszow
All songs written, produced, and arranged by Johanna Beekman
Producer Johanna Beekman
Recording and Engineering Daniel Riddle, Dave Trenkel
Mixing Ben Leinbach
Mastering Hans Christian
Cover Design Wahkeena Sitka
Cover Photography Than Monk
Web Design Ben Beekman, George Beekman