A Time of Transition for the Wild Moon Bhaktas

As with many musical performance groups, the Covid lockdowns instigated a time of transition for the Wild Moon Bhaktas.   Mentioned in previous blogs were the departures of long time members, Gary Waryan, David Ballman, and Christine Larson.  After years playing with the band, each decided it was time to move on.   We wish them the very best!   This period has been marked by changes in the band’s membership.   Stability at the core of the group, and consistency in terms of location, but changes to the make up of the band.

The Wild Moon Bhaktas first public performance post-Covid was in November 2022.  The band has been performing since then, about once a month, at our regular site, Tula Yoga and Wellness in St. Paul.  That period includes two runnings of the Rumi Celebration in December 2022 and again in 2023.    Rumi-Lovers unite!

Arlys Alford joined the Wild Moon Bhaktas prior to the Covid shutdown, and continued to play with them after.  In late 2023, she decided to move on to other projects.  A multi-talented singer-songwriter-dancer-choreographer and actor, Arlys brought much to the Wild Moon Bhaktas.   We were barely able to experience her many gifts.   Prior to joining the Wild Moon Bhaktas, Arlys was a leader in spreading free dance events.  She founded  danspeace in 2012, an open, ecstatic dance meeting.  Later, she helped the local chapter of Dance Church manifest, and saw it grow from a dozen attendees to over 200!

The Wild Moon Bhaktas benefitted from Arlys’s years of experience. She always came to our events ready to play and always delivered.  As a seeker on the path, Arlys’s commitment to the Sufi way and to cultivating her relationship to the Spirit were as true as the North Star.  The combination of these two: musical talent and spiritual depth are golden, and rare!  She will be missed!   Arlys, much peace, good health and abundance to you!   You can learn more about Arlys’s work as a voice teacher and performance coach at https://www.BelieveYouCanSing.com.

Adam Wolter joined the band as a regular member in November 2022, and has played over a dozen events since then.  He brings his multiple talents (vocals, cello and bass guitar) to the band.  Adam is also a leader in the local Dances of Universal Peace – Sufi Dance Movement, and through that work, is a friend to many.  He brings an unmistakable playful spirit to his performance.  His bandmates and the people who come to our programs benefit enormously from his music and presence.

Other musicians have performed periodically since the band re-emerged after Covid.  Greg Stern on percussion, played three events starting in November 2022.  Andrew Navaro on cajone continued into the summer of 2023 before he moved out of the country with his family.   In November of 2023, Sitara, of the kirtan trio, Sitara, Kalyani and Pavan Kumar, joined us for three events.  That was a lot of fun.   Sitara was directly involved in the halcyon days of kirtan in the Twin Cities.   In December of 2023, for the 23rd running of the Rumi Celebration, Brian Merchant joined the band on cajone and percussion and has been playing with us since then.   Former band members, Gary Waryan, Christine Larson, and Will Kemperman have been back to play with the band.  So good to make music with them again!

Expect more changes.  As the Buddha said, life is impermanent.  The kirtan and chanting continue, like mantras under the breath, while the surrounding life experience expands and contracts.

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  • Upcoming Appearances

    • Saturday, May 25, 2024
      Great Mother Chant with the Wild Moon Bhaktas & special guest Sitara
      7:30-9:30 pm. 
      Tula Yoga, 99 Snelling Ave. North
      St. Paul, MN 55104
      $15 cash please, at door
    • Saturday, June 22, 2024
      Wild Moon Bhaktas - an evening of chanting, kirtan & spiritual music
      7:30-9:15 pm
      Tula Yoga, 99 Snelling Ave. North
      St. Paul, MN 55104
      $15 cash please, at door