AND HIS NEW RECORDING, ATMA BHAKTI
Manish Vyas, a composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer from India, has emerged as a popular talent in world-fusion and devotional music due to his musical studies with some of the most recognized pandits in India, his fame in collaborating with top musicians (Prem Joshua, Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal), and his taking spiritual music to a new level. All of his experience comes to fruition on his new recording, Atma Bhakti (subtitled Healing Sounds of Prayer).
According to Manish, “Atma Bhakti is music for prayer and meditation, to create a space for the listener, especially anyone who does yoga or follows other devotional practices, where it is very effortless to easily connect with a higher level of consciousness.” On this album Manish not only sings, but also plays swar-mandal (a harp from India), tanpura (a long-necked plucked stringed instrument from India), keyboards, gong and a variety of bells. He is joined by his good friend Milind Date on bamboo flute, along with Jay Dave, Krishna Jani and Singdha Pious on choir vocals.
The Atma Bhakti recording, on New Earth Records, can be found in the CD format in music stores and new age lifestyle shops across the United States as well as online, while digital downloads of the music are available at all the major internet music stores such as iTunes and Amazon. For more information, go to NewEarthRecords dot com or the artist’s website (manishvyas dot com). Manish Vyas’s name is pronounced mahn-ish vi-us.
The album is comprised of two multi-sectional half-hour-long tracks plus a separate five-minute piece of chanting. First is “Atma” which means “soul or the divine” and is based on the mantra “mangalam.” Manish says, “There is a very meditative atmosphere in the music.” The second long tune is “Bhakti” which means “devotion or worship” and is based on the mantra “shivaya namaha om.” “This track is dedicated to Lord Shiva,” explains Manish, “and the bells have a wonderful effect of bringing the listener into the moment where he is cut off from the world outside and is instantly brought to here now. The final track, ‘Vedic Chanting,’ is a very powerful form of chanting done in India by the priests or as a group ritual or prayer.”
Manish adds, “The material I select to sing is always on a higher plane going to a higher dimension. That has always been my preference, to work on music that lifts you from the level of the mind and takes you up higher.”
Manish Vyas grew up in a family of musicians in Gujarat, India, spending his childhood around an atmosphere of family, friends, dance, meditation, and music gatherings; Manish was exposed to the world of music through an organic integration of it into his life. Perceiving an intrinsic talent, his mother encouraged nine-year-old Manish’s interest in tabla (an Indian percussion instrument), which commenced his life-long journey in crafting music. He spent five years of early training with tabla master Ustad Allarakha in Mumbai.
From a young age Manish followed a path deeply marked by two spiritual masters, Osho and Gurudev, who both had a strong impact on this musician’s life. Manish has a broad musical palette and plays many instruments. His compositions have deep Indian musical roots while also embracing a wide diversity of other expressions -- world-fusion, folk, classical, kirtan, Sufi, jazz, and lounge -- the result of decades of dedicated practice, performance and meditation. Manish is constantly reinventing musical forms with his endless creativity, delivering a lovingly and carefully sculptured product to a highly receptive audience, in which each sound has been selected to promote extraordinary awareness.
These events have shaped his musical path, characterizing it by a deep genuine knowledge of Indian music and its true nature, as well as an awareness of the outer music as a re-creation of one’s inner sounds and vibration. All of this conveys a deeper feeling that cannot be described, but can be heard and felt.
As a disciple to some of India’s most recognized musicians, Manish came to understand that his musical gifts alone would not gain the most subtle access to the listener. It is his intention behind the sounds he makes to merge the world of music with the divine, and to convey deep, touching, spiritual feelings.
“I grew up around Osho and he taught me that music has a purpose, vibration, energy, space, and is not just entertainment. Through the music I try to pass on the space I feel, that I live in, of meditation, silence, grace, joy, bliss, all the way to celebration. So my experiences with Osho are reflected in the music and this is his gift. He was one of the few masters who experimented with both music and meditation.”
During the last fifteen to twenty years, Manish’s musical reach has expanded worldwide. Through his work on albums and performances around the globe, he had the chance to collaborate with a wide range of performers. His musical path has brought him numerous opportunities to compose for top musicians and to tour with them globally, and through these encounters his musical path expanded in a very rewarding way.
One of his most illustrious projects was his fifteen-year collaboration with world-famous fusion maestro Prem Joshua as they recorded together and toured through Europe, America, India and Asia. In another phase of world travels, Manish joined Snatam Kaur; and a compilation of those concerts was released as Snatam Kaur: Live In Concert. As a composer, Manish’s ostensibly most-notable contribution is to mantra-queen Deva Premal, as he is featured on many of her recordings. Manish’s remarkable musical abilities have brought him to the eye of world-renowned celebrities in the music field, such as when he had the opportunity to participate in Sir Paul McCartney’s 2002 wedding as part of the Celtic Ragas band.
Manish’s musical talents place him at the vanguard of a new generation of artists who are connecting with and bridging between their spiritual traditions and the music of the modern world. Manish has said that love, meditation, celebration, silence, and nature are his personal inspirations to create music.
Manish Vyas has previous recordings such as Sattva and Shivoham: A Journey of Bliss. Some of his many collaborations and recording highlights include contributions to Embrace, Dakshina and Password by Deva Premal, Dance of Shakti and Shiva Moon by Prem Joshua, Liberation’s Door by Snatam Kaur, Tomorrow by Dechen Shak Dagsay, Into Being by Praful, Zen Spa by Nandin, Gaia’s Garden by Chinmaya Dunster, Joy Is Now by Guruganesha Singh, Dust At Your Feet by Tanmayo, The Alchemist’s Prayer by Ramdass, Adhara by Niranjan Kaur, Healing Mantras by Pari, Om Deeksha by Maneesh de Moor, and In Her Name by Sudha. Manish also has contributed to dozens of album compilations.
In can clearly be perceived that in Manish’s case, his spiritual and musical paths cannot be separated since they obviously complement and fulfill each other.
“From meditation to celebration, this spectrum is covered in the music I like to do,” he says. “The music has to have a fragrance of love and devotion. If the understanding of the music and words can come to the listener, it lifts them up. I bow to the magic of the divine sounds. The essence is always peace and thankfulness.”