Mantra-Pop! Ever heard of it?
I hadn’t, until my friend and fellow blogger Glenn Walker (http://monsura.blogspot.com) introduced me to the music of Robin Renee…and I’ve now been schooled.
Her music is true soul music–as in spiritual–as in sexy–as in damn good. Listening to her, you get the feeling that she sings like she lives, and believes every word she sings.
As Glenn wrote in his blog post for Renee:
Mantra-Pop is “accessible, lyric-driven alt-folk rock with a spiritual twist. Conscious and melodic with an edge, think of blending the voices of Chrissie Hynde and Joan Armatrading with the wordsmith intelligence of Elvis Costello and the mystical passion of kirtan chanting”
Because I couldn’t have explained that better myself, I let him do it.
Renee says she just listens to the voices in her head:
“When I was recording the All Six Senses album in Marin County, CA, “I’m Coming Down” initially didn’t have the mantra at the end that you hear in the recording. Every time I sang it, though, I would hear the mantra, so I finally realized it was the coda to the song and really belonged somehow. So I didn’t really create Mantra-Pop. It just kind of showed up and needed a name.”
According to helium.com, kirtan music is “the call-and-response chanting used in India’s devotional traditions. The chants are accompanied by a variety of instruments, hence, they are accompanied by kirtan music. Kirtan music has been described as the soothing type of music that is usually played for practicing yoga. It is supposed to help the listener to reflect and to find inspiration in it for his/her spiritual devotions. Some of the music can be purely instrumental and some of it will have lyrics that stem from Hindu chants.”
Renee counts kirtan musicians Krishna Das and Jai Utta as two of her influences. She also has been inspired by George Harrison, David Bowie, Josephine Baker, her grandmother and the ocean, among other things.
I am inspired by the ocean, too…to lay near it, get tan and zone out. But I digress.
Looking at Renee’s website (http://www.robinrenee.com/sound/musicstore.html), you see instantly what’s important to her: sound, spirit, sight, truth and dare. Dare?
“I’ll dare to be bold, silly, serious, or absurd. I’ll dare to give voice to issues and communities I care about. I may step further than usual into the imagination or off the beaten path. Here is where I dare myself, and you, to explore limits, have fun, be real, speak to what’s important, and live to the fullest.”
She’s been a busy artist and has several cds out. Go to ReverbNation to listen to some of her favorite tracks:
I like Blessed Be, Namaste…which is your favorite?
Renee has also just released a new pop/rock single, with proceeds going to the “You Will Rise Project,” an anti-bullying organization.
All I Am is a bright pop anthem – sexy, spiritual, and bold – for those who color outside the lines, determined to be all they are without apology. Your CD Baby download helps support the anti-bullying You Will Rise Project. http://youwillriseproject.blogspot.com.
Her newest recording, This. (chant and sacred song), will be followed by ..and Everything Else (songs and spoken word) in 2014.
As this is a travel blog (sorta kinda), I asked Robin Renee, who’s from South Jersey, about her own travels and the places she’s happiest. She writes:
“I have been to Italy–Piacenza, Florence, Rome, Venice, climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa! and visited Vatican City. I’ve been to both East and West Germany and loved dancing in a club in Berlin. It was also awesome [and scary!] going really, really fast on the Autobahn. I had the great opportunity to visit these places with my parents when I was 13, then 14 years old.
“I’ve been to Ireland–Dublin, Galway, Clifden–a few places in the Caribbean – St. Thomas and St. John, Guadeloupe, and to Dominica twice. I’ve driven though a lot of the U.S. and have had great times seeing different communities, cities, and landscapes.
“I tend to find beauty and great things wherever I go. I really thrive in cities with great alternative culture, so I remember being really happy in Seattle. I am often very much at peace when I am camping, sleeping close to the earth and just being in nature, so some out-of-the-way places in Pennsylvania and Virginia have been healthy for me to recharge and grow. I feel a deep connection with Ireland, and have considered it a spiritual home for many years. Partying in Dublin and hiking around Clifden are great memories. My time there was way too brief and I feel called to go back and spend much more time. Honestly though, I think some of my real peak moments and joyful times have happened just dancing and hanging out on South Street, Philadelphia and at Gunnison Beach in New Jersey. No place like home, I guess!
“I still want to go pretty much everywhere. I absolutely love to travel. I would love to spend time in temples in India and also Japan. Tours of Liverpool and Manchester would be great to see where some of the music I love got its start. Africa, Central America, the Netherlands… I really want to check it all out. If I ever have the opportunity to spend time with the Hopi in Arizona, that would be beautiful. I feel like I’ve been to a lot of places, and it feels terribly silly that I haven’t yet been to Canada or Mexico! So I will have to rectify that. Everyone tells me I’ll love Toronto. Actually, I am scheduled to co-facilitate a retreat in Ontario this fall, so I am excited about finally making it over the northern border.”
Sunday, September 29th – Friday, October 4th
“Peeling off the Layers to Reveal the Goddess in the Mirror”
A Retreat for Women with Edie Weinstein
*kirtan concert, workshops
2004 Bay Lake Road, Bancroft, ON
Canada K0L 1C0
From Canada & the US: 877-553-5772
Well, Robin, I have to say that I’m with you on the Ireland connection, and when you’re ready to go back, let me know! I may even go up to Canada because God knows I could do with revealing my inner Goddess 😉
Next Stop Tomorrow on Renee’s Blog Tour:
Welcome to Hell, Glenn Walker’s Blog, where Fran Metzman will be guest blogging an interview with Robin. http://monsura.blogspot.com/