Ananda Music— With Nayaswami Nirmala
May 20, 2021
The ANANDA MUSIC ORAL HISTORY VIDEOS capture the essence of living and sharing the music of Ananda. Listen to longtime devotee musicians share their stories and remembrances of spiritual lessons learned from working on the songs and chants of Swami Kriyananda and Paramhansa Yogananda.
Nayaswami Nirmala Schuppe came to Ananda Village in 1975, and immediately fell in love with harmonium chanting, and felt the power of Yogananda’s chants. Since she enjoyed singing and playing the piano, she found herself asked to lead chanting from the time of her very first month at Ananda. She also began to sing Swami Kriyananda’s music, and sang with "The Gandharvas" on his lecture tour of the U.S. and Canada in 1979. Shortly afterwards, she was part of a quartet Swami commissioned to live in Palo Alto and sing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Becoming a minister in 1982, she co-directed the Grass Valley ashram and church, and then began working as Swami Kriyananda’s assistant. Continuing to work in the music ministry, she toured the West coast with a small group of singers, and started "The Victorian Singers" at the request of Ananda and the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce.
In 1985, Swami Kriyananda led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and to the shrines of Saint Francis in Italy. Nirmala directed the pilgrimage choir as they sang Swami's Oratorio music based on the life of Jesus in the actual places that had inspired each piece. Nirmala remained in Italy to start the Ananda music ministry there, touring with a small group of singers, and working to create chords and arrangements for Master's and Swami's chants so that multiple instruments could play together. In 1988, she returned to Ananda Village, again creating events, kirtans, and concerts until 1992 when she moved to Seattle to marry Dharmadas Schuppe, and serve in the Ananda Seattle ministry. In 1994, Swami asked them both to return to Ananda Village to design and publish his books and albums. They continued working with music and theater, eventually serving as the "Joyful Arts" ministers. In 2003, Swami asked them to help him start Ananda India, and they spent the next nine years there. In 2012, they were asked to serve as the spiritual directors of Ananda Sacramento.
“Swami wrote the music to uplift consciousness. Yogananda said that every chant in Cosmic Chants was sung and played until he received a response from God, a direct response in that chant from God. They are vibrational doorways that are open to us, if we attune ourselves to them, we can just walk right through that doorway of superconsciousness.” “Swami was very particular when we started doing guitar and harmonium chanting together, that he didn’t want the guitar to be emphasizing the downbeat too much because that emphasizes the ego. He wanted the guitar to be vibrating in the heart very light and bright, and it really whips up devotion in the heart.”
VIDEO MUSIC (written by Swami Kriyananda) "O Master" by Mukti Lamar and Swami Kriyananda (Music from Ananda CD - www.crystalclarity.com) "Sailing the Blue Sea" (Relax: Meditations for Flute and Cello CD - www.crystalclarity.com)
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