Yoga Das is a 9 piece group that performs Kirtan music. Formed by Scott Miller, the other core members include Lisa Kekaula, Bob Vennum, David Taub, Miles Shrewsbery, Sura Das, Mikano, Bhana and Laura Cueva-Miller. The group has different pairings, depending upon the availability of the musicians. Kekaula and Vennum are The BellRays, a rock group from the Inland Empire and who tour around the world several times a year.
Yoga Das blends traditional Indian instruments (harmonium, tablas, tambura and a variety of percussion instruments) with Western instruments (electric guitar and bass). The group has four main vocalists (Kekaula, Sura Das, Scott and Laura Miller), and two or three background singers. This creates quite a "wall of sound" when the music builds and the audience sings along.
Kirtan is Indian folk music that incorporates sacred mantras using Sanskirt chants. Yoga Das mixes the chants into contemporary songs. "The Kirtan thing was Scott's idea," added guitarist Bob Vennum. "He's a great guy for injecting creativity and fun into stuff."
The group performed recently at Studio and recorded in front of an audience. Recording a nine piece group is quite a feat on it's own, even more when the session is performed to an audience.
Yoga Das' future is wide open. Miller has been working on an opera with the Indian pantheon of gods, infusing a BellRays song and western pop music into story lines "that people have been playing for 1000 years," said Vennum. "Anything is possible," says Miller. "We'll see where the Spirit takes things."