Wild Moon Bhaktas News – November 2020

I hope this letter finds you happy and healthy!  -at the very least, Covid-surviving!  And if you are struggling, pray that you are finding the support you need.

I write to touch base, to update you on some changes to the Wild Moon Bhaktas and to imagine a future when we can return to communal chanting and music with all of you.

The last time the Bhaktas played together was in the beginning of February – eight months ago!  That is the longest break the band has had since its founding in 2009.

Here are a couple of changes to the Wild Moon Bhaktas


Shortly after Covid-19 so altered our lives, David Ballman decided to leave the Wild Moon Bhaktas to focus all his energies on his own band, The Midnight Choir.  Like so many of us, Covid caused David to take stock of his life and to alter his priorities.  Regrettably, I accepted his resignation while honoring his decision.

David was a founding member of the Wild Moon Bhaktas and played at nearly every one of our over 160 concerts and on both our CDs.  Few kirtan singers can boast his talent for energetic Gospel-tinged improvisations.  We loved that!  To his musical talents I can add the following:  his professionalism, conscientiousness, esprit de core, unquenchable good humor and his willingness to help the band by rolling up his sleeves and learning how to play tambura, bells and foot pedal.  I know I speak for the whole band in saying we will miss him greatly while at the same time, wishing him much success and happiness.

The Midnight Choir is a cool R&B band with talented players.  I hope you will go hear them play at one of the clubs or performing spaces in town once such concerts resume.  And I pray – and suspect – that in the future we will be able to lure David back to sit in with the Wild Moon Bhaktas at a special event.


I am very happy to announce that Arlys Alford has agreed to join the Wild Moon Bhaktas on a permanent basis.  Arlys has already played with us two or three times now.  She fits into the band wonderfully.  A multi-talented singer-songwriter-dancer-choreographer-actor, Arlys has a lovely, strong voice and plays keyboards, too!  She not only brings to the band her musical talents, but a deep connection to the Spirit and to the Sufi path. Yes!  We are really fortunate to have her as a full member.  You can learn more about Arlys’s work as a voice teacher and performance coach at https://www.BelieveYouCanSing.com.   I speak for the whole band in offering her the warmest welcome.

The rest of the band waits for the time when we can safely return to performing:  Gary Waryan, tablas, Christine Larson vocals, violin and harmonium, Will Kemperman on percussion (when his schedule allows him to join us) and me on vocals, guitar and occasional accordion.  And now Arlys on vocals and harmonium/keyboards.  Great chanting and beautiful music lies ahead!

What Else is Going on With the Wild Moon Bhaktas? 

As you may know, there is no industry that has been as hard hit by Covid as musical performance.  Kirtan even more so.  Getting a bunch of people in a room singing (or chanting) together is an automatic super-spreader.

My initial response to the lockdown and social distancing rules was to offer solo chanting events on Facebook Live.  I did five events, the last one in the end of July of 2020.  There are now six hours of these chanting concerts on our Wild Moon Bhaktas musical group facebook page.

As Covid endured into the fall, it created an opportunity for me to step back. For most of the last forty years, in addition to working a full time job and being a husband and father, I have been running various sacred music projects on the side, the most recent being the Wild Moon Bhaktas. Often they amounted to a part time job in addition to my full time work.  It has been a joy to serve the Soul in this way, but it often left me over-burdened and short on sleep.  Wild Moon Bhaktas events require hours of additional work and logistics behind the scenes to make sure they run smoothly.  The solo on-line concerts do as well.  Covid has given me the opportunity to step back and restore.

Think of it as a garden.  Every few years it is a good idea to let it lie fallow for a season to permit the soil to regenerate.  If you do that, the garden comes back with even more bounty and beauty.  The Wild Moon Bhaktas as a band are in the soil, quietly restoring and regenerating.  We will be back.

In the meantime, if you want to chant along with one of my solo chanting concerts, they are on our Wild Moon Bhaktas facebook page under “videos.”  If you want to purchase a hard copy of one of our CDs, go to our website.  Each CD features over an hour of music and was lovingly recorded.  Instructions for ordering are on the website.  (www.wildmoonbhaktas.com).

I speak for all the band in wishing you much happiness, deep communion with the Spirit, and good health.

See you!

-David Schmit for the Wild Moon Bhaktas


To contact:  wildmoonbhaktas@gmail.com

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  • 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
      $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