Born and raised in a small coastal town in Maine, Kirtana has been playing guitar and writing songs since she was eleven years old. A longtime student of spirituality and teacher of meditation, she graduated from MIU with BA in Literature and moved to California in the early eighties, where she has lived ever since.
Kirtana’s first gigs were at folk venues, and her early cds were referred to by some as “metaphysical folk.” She was a finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1991, a winner at the Napa Valley Folk Festival in 1992 and a showcasing artist at the 1995 North by Northwest, before she left the traditional folk scene behind in search of more sacred settings.
In 1997 she met her beloved teacher: Gangaji, and through Gangaji was exposed to the teachings of Papaji and Ramana Maharshi. The songs from her later cds reflect the love and self-recognition sparked by that life-altering encounter.
In addition to her own concerts, she performs at conferences, festivals, and New Thought churches around the world. Her music is distributed internationally and has been used by numerous spiritual teachers and noted authors at their workshops, events, and webinars (including those of: Gangaji, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Brandon Bays, Geneen Roth, Richard Miller, and Adyashanti.) In Kirtana’s own words, the best description for both her music and her purpose in sharing it is to “celebrate divine love and the truth of who we are.”
"Kirtana's music is a pure love transmission. Her lyrics, her voice, and her playing bring me to tears of joy".
"Her songs are Satsang. Her voice expresses the divine wail of the soul for its Beloved and its recognition of how close It is."
"Kirtana has become one of the most highly sought after modern-day minstrels of non-dual awakening. Her voice and lyrics reach with vulnerable longing for the heart of God, while at the same time transmitting the discovery of that, the opening to that, and the final consummation within it.”
"It's nice sometimes to hear the same teaching in slightly different words expressed again... Listening to (Kirtana music) is a beautiful meditation in itself."
- Eckhart Tolle
"Kirtana's enchanting voice and sublime lyrical poetry will open you to new dimensions of your being in a single song."
- Joyce Vissell, RN,MS and Barry Vissell, MD,
- Authors of The Shared Heart, The Heart's Wisdom,
- and Meant To Be.
"Kirtana's music expressing the inexpressible in the most beautiful way!"
- Deva Premal
"..We were all blessed to bask in Kirtana's sublime musical Satsang. The words of truth, the extraordinary music, and most of all the presence of Grace that we experienced with Kirtana was heart-opening and moving beyond expression. We sat in the presence of the Infinite, reveling in the depth and the mystery of Freedom. I cried tears of joy and gratitude from beginning to end".
- Kevin Billet / The Journey
- Founder: Visionary Leadership program
- Co-author: Consciousness; The New Currency
"When you hear the exquisite poetry of each song, speaking in a language of the heart - but a heart that longs for true revelation, not a temporary, sentimental solution - you will see why Kirtana has been called "The Rumi of our time."
- Amber Terrell
- Author of Surprised by Grace
Review of UNSEEN GRACE by One /The Magazine
"Kirtana has become one of the most highly sought after modern-day minstrels of non-dual awakening. Her voice and lyrics reach with vulnerable longing for the heart of God, while at the same time transmitting the discovery of that, the opening to that, and the final consummation within it. Kirtana is a poet and lyricist of non-duality like none other; and Unseen Grace is yet another of her many recommended CDs that supports the intimate realization of eternal love, ever present, as the truth of who we are."
Review of UNSEEN GRACE by Amber Terrell:
If you are familiar with Kirtana’s music, don’t be surprised if you are surprised by this new album. It is deeper and wider and decidedly rawer than her previous offerings, and as always, she provides us with a window into her soul, accompanied by an invitation into a journey that few have the nerve to take, and even fewer have the creative skill to sing about with such clarity. A little bit singer-songwriter and a little bit Indian, and a whole lot distinctive Kirtana, you have to listen to these pieces several times before you get the full impact of the multidimensionality that is layered within each one. The depth of the lyrics in this offering suggests why Kirtana has been called “the Rumi of our time,” by many reviewers.
I created time and space,
to hold a mirror to my face…
That’s how worlds are born,
how from naught,
a thought becomes a form.
I had to pretend that Oneness could shatter
then down into matter I came.
And ten thousand forms burst into being–
no two exactly the same…
But as far as I could see,
nothing but images of me.
Lyrics from my favorite song, That’s My Story. I suggest reading them a few times and letting it sink in."
To read a review of Unseen Grace in RUSSIAN, click on this link. ( written by Oreshkin Sergey of Ascentor Word Press)
The Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, TX
by Features Editor: Carol Nuckols September 2002
To live fully in the moment, to surrender to the divine plan when you can't possibly know what it is - these are difficult challenges. It helps to know that someone has gone before. California singer/songwriter Kirtana has, with great caring and insight and devotion.
With her dusky vocals and gentle guitar work, Kirtana professes necessary truths. "Stop to hear the music in your heart... Surrender to the music", she besseches on the opening track of her latest CD, A Deeper Surrender.
'Do You Hear the Music' is only one song on the new disc to accept an invititation to the dance of life. "When you asked me if I'd like to dance... I took your hand. I didn't know where you would dance me to... ", she sings on 'Open Secret'. It's all about trust, about being open to the mysteries that can be revealed if only you answer "Yes".
Not that it's always easy, as 'The Satguru Song' indicates. Love can be excruciating as well as exhilarating when it strips you down to pure essence.
But are these love songs to the human or the divine? Is there any difference? When you fully experience the here and now, and surrender to it, as she suggests, don't you sanctify the mundane? Kirtana helps us to dissolve artificial boundaries. With gracious melodies, life-affirming lyrics and spare but lovely acoustic arrangements (guitar, violin, cello, the occasional mandolin, flute or organ), she leads us to union with nature, spirit and our fellow travelers on this path.
"Can you separate yourself from the sum?"
Why would you want to try?
Branches of Light / Banyen Books and Sound (Vol.21)
In September 2002, Kirtana, sitting on stage with only her guitar in the darkened Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, sang two or three songs that opened thirteen hundred hearts into the tenderness of living presence. She was "the warm-up band" for Eckhart Tolle, who spent the afternoon speaking about "The Power of Now". Several hundred of these people wanted to buy Kirtana's recordings, and A Deeper Surrender is her latest release. Her lyrics, inspired by a firsthand taste of the magnificence of Spirit, are beautifully set amid musical accompaniments that include, in addition to her guitar, David Darling on cello, and tasteful passages of violins, piano, dumbek, flute, and harmony vocals.
Is it in the sunlit meadow? Is it in the rocks and trees?
Is it in the blue and yellow? Is it in the one who sees?
This radiance I recognize, even when I close my eyes.
Lovely liner notes provide texts of the lyrics (thankfully Kirtana gets her message across in really very few words, that shine in a warm space of the heart), context for each song, and lists of musicians for each track. Following the river of her music and Kirtana's images will take you to a refreshing, resonant openness.
Kirtana's earlier CD, This Embrace, contains the songs she sang at the Orpheum mentioned above. It's a heart-jewel, too.
New Renaissance Books
by Cori Wardle
" ...An extraordinary journey into the heart and soul of a truth seeker. Through her gentle acoustical guitar and angelic alto voice, she asks the big questions, ponders the wonders and expresses her joy in the Divine. She conveys the love of an all-permeating, ever-present energy that exists within and surrounds all. 'A Deeper Surrender' is an excellent addition to anyone's collection of beautiful, high vibrational music. I highly recommend this CD as a unique and ever-giving gift."