I was born into a musical family in southern Minnesota. My earliest musical memories are of my mother and my uncle playing the piano. To this day, nothing moves my heart like the piano music of Chopin, Ravel, and Brahms! I started playing piano when I was 5, singing in church choirs when I was 8. At age 10, I started learning the violin. Eventually, violin became my primary instrument, along with voice. I played in orchestras and sang in choirs through high school and college, steeping in the Western traditions of classical orchestral music and sacred choral music.
In my twenties, I joined a small, semi-professional church choir that performed a great deal of “early music,” and my voice and my heart found a new home in the polyphonic, ethereal vocal music of the 16th century.
Parallel to this music journey is an equally long calling to the divine, which has found expression for me not only in music, but in my intellectual pursuits and my relationship to the natural world. I studied religion and theology. I became involved in the earth-based spirituality movement, with its natural and mythic symbols and organic ritual. It was in this context that I first became acquainted with chanting as a spiritual practice, as well as the poetry and ecstatic sensibility of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. I became very interested in Buddhism, and the practices of Insight Meditation and yoga have enriched and deepened my spiritual life.
I have continued to play and sing the classical repertoire, while also expanding into folk music and Middle Eastern hand drums in the style of Layne Redmond. It wasn’t until 2012 that I first attended a kirtan. I immediately recognized the prayerful, intention-full chanting, and was drawn to the simple yet sustaining instrumental accompaniment. I began attending kirtans around the Twin Cities. When I first heard the Wild Moon Bhaktas, I was excited not only by the songs to the divine in its many forms, but also by the integration of ecstatic poetry and a variety of musical styles. Playing with the Bhaktas is a new form of prayer and meditation for me, and an offering to the journey of others. I am grateful to play and sing in sacred intention with all of you.