In the four years since she recorded her last album, Love Abounds, kirtan singer-songwriter Brenda McMorrow has toured the world with her music, playing festivals near and abroad, connecting with a wider and very dedicated audience -- and discovering something about herself along the way. Her new album, Igniting the Beauty (due for release on October 1st), reflects the learning and personal growth she’s experienced through exploring the vast territory of Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of Devotion.
The album’s title, taken from the writings of the medieval Abbess and mystic St. Hildegard von Bingen, speaks to the divine spark that exists within each one of us -- the miraculous, unique beauty that we all embody even when we’re not directly aware of it. Devotional chant music – or kirtan -- can be a vehicle for this “divine ignition” within our hearts.
Each of the mantras selected for the album holds a special resonance for McMorrow, and she is excited to share her musical interpretations of them with her growing audience. “I sing these mantras and songs because they help me remember the Truth of the love and perfection that I am, beneath the sometimes ‘crazy-making’ workings of my mind,” says Brenda. “I hope that they can somehow serve others in revealing this for themselves as well.”
While Brenda was the principal songwriter on and driving force behind Igniting the Beauty, she recruited many to assist in the endeavor -- starting with acclaimed producer Ben Leinbach, with whom she worked on her previous two White Swan releases, Ameya and Love Abounds. Guest artists on the new record include Grammy-winner David Darling, Todd Boston, Philippo Franchini, Narada Wise, Adam Bauer, Shannon Kingsbury and Beth Gatchell.
The most notable contribution, however, came from the nearly 250 people who enthusiastically supported the creation of the album by donating to Brenda’s successful “crowd funding” campaign. The participation of so many others gave additional inspiration to the artist throughout her recording process. To her, “the whole project has felt extra special and very inspired because of it being such a blessed group creation!”
Igniting The Beauty was recorded in the spring of 2013 at Old Bull Studios in San Anselmo, California, in the expansive setting of Marin County. It includes McMorrow’s personal renditions of traditional mantras, sometimes sprinkling the songs with English lyrics, and on one song -- “May I Awaken/Govinda Bolo” -- the singer offers up the lyrics in both English translation and the traditional Sanskrit. One other song, “Loka Samastha/Om Shanti,” was co-written by McMorrow with Ben Leinbach.
Brenda McMorrow is a rising star in the world of sacred music, touring tirelessly and winning the hearts of more and more fans with her devoted travels. This new album promises to find a big, warm welcome in the hearts of many listeners far and wide who have been touched and transformed by her extraordinary performances.