• Communal Chanting, Kirtan, Spiritual Music

History

The Wild Moon Bhaktas were founded in September of 2009 to play and promote the sacred art of communal chanting and kirtan in Minnesota.  The first incarnation of the band featured David Schmit, vocals, guitar and accordion, Gary Waryan, tablas, Dalyce Elliot, violin, and David Ballman vocals, tambura, and percussion.  In 2012, they released their first CD, From the Ganges to the Mississippi.

Photo of the Wild Moon Bhaktas

Dalyce left the group in 2014, and Christine Larson joined, adding her distinct vocals, violin and harmonium.  This line-up performed together for the next six years.  In 2018 they released the band’s second CD, Why Not Wake Up?   In 2019, they celebrated the Wild Moon Bhaktas ten-year mark.  At that time, they were putting on up to twenty communal chanting and kirtan events in the Twin Cities area a year.  Guest musicians often joined them, including Will Kemperman, percussion, Barbara Meyer, vocals and guitar, Andrea Sullivan, harp, and Arlys Alford, vocals and accordion.

By 2020, the Wild Moon Bhaktas had performed over 160 kirtan and communal chanting concerts, most  of them serving Minnesota’s Twin Cities kirtan and chanting community.  Throughout this period, they made it easy to attend their events, and asked for a suggested donation of just $10-15 and did not turn people who could not pay away.  Their special events, which drew up to a hundred and more people, included the Rumi Celebration, Great Mother Chants, and Door of My Heart, the Chants of Yogananda.

During the Covid years, 2020 to 2022, when live kirtan concerts stopped, Gary Waryan, David Ballman and Christine Larson decided to move on from the Wild Moon Bhaktas to pursue other musical interests and activities.  Their partings with David Schmit were amiable.

After the worst dangers of Covid subsided, David Schmit reformed the Wild Moon Bhaktas with Arlys Alford on vocals and harmonium, Adam Wolter on vocals, cello and guitar, and Andrew Navarro, on cajon and percussion.  Greg Stern has appeared with the band on drums and percussion, too. The band returned to regular performing in November of 2022.  Long time Wild Moon Bhaktas fans, some of whom had attended up to 50 live events, were overjoyed at the return of the new incarnation of the band.

More changes came in late 2023.  Arlys Alford moved on to other projects and Andrew Navaro moved to Costa Rica.  Brian Merchant joined the band on cahone and percussion, and Sitara added her vocals.

In January 2024, the band has performed almost 190 kirtan concerts, most of them in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.  Their home base is now Tula Yoga in St. Paul, a lovely spacious room, centrally located.

Read Founder David Schmit’s Bio

 

Former Band Members:

Christine Larson—violin & vocals

David Ballman—vocals, tambura and percussion

Gary Waryan—tablas & vocals

 

See a list of the Bhaktas’ past appearances

  • Upcoming Appearances

    • Saturday, January 20, 2024
      An evening of communal chanting, kirtan & spiritual music with the Wild Moon Bhaktas
      7:30-9:30 pm. 
      Tula Yoga,  99 Snelling Ave. North
      St. Paul, MN  55104
      tulayogawellness.com
      $15 cash please, at door
    • Saturday, February 17, 2024
      An evening of communal chanting, kirtan & spiritual music with the Wild Moon Bhaktas
      7:30-9:30 pm. 
      Tula Yoga, 99 Snelling Ave. North
      St. Paul, MN 55104
      $15 cash please, at door