Kirtan in Bali

Kirtan (Sanskrit: “to repeat”;[1] also Sankirtan[2]) is call-and-response chanting or “responsory” performed in India’s devotional traditions.[3]

I had to ask David to repeat the word a couple times. A “kir-what???”?

“Kirtan,” he replied. “There’s one in a few minutes. Shall we?”

“Oh. Ok. But, what is it?”

“Oh you have so much to learn!” he replied with a wink.

And how right he was. Bali opens up a world that is not common to the public domain in the west. Our fast-paced, hard working drive often doesn’t leave a lot of room for the ‘softer’ practices of reflection, yoga, and ceremony, regardless of how soothing they are to our soul. Between meetings, errands and the tether of our iPhones, we often don’t have room for much else.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why westerners become so enchanted with Bali – and all she represents. She seems to entice you to explore the deeper and simpler side of life. She whispers to you to take the time to marvel in gratitude. Through the prevalence of meditation & yoga, and the day in-day out ceremonial devotion of the locals, she seems to nudge you to look within and open your mind & heart. As was the case here –-a nudge to explore the devotional practice called Kirtan.

We arrived into the courtyard where Adam and Sparrow were setting up. There was a certain buzz to the space. Everyone was smiling in anticipation. Once set up, the Kirtan begun and music filled the air.

Kirtan is a form of devotional yoga through call and response song. It’s one of the oldest sacred music traditions of the world, using ancient Sanskrit mantras designed to get us out of our heads and into our hearts. By repeating simple mantras over and over, faster and faster, the kirtan is an easy way for people to experience some freedom from the daily chatter of the mind. It is said to call upon sacred energies, which serve to quiet the mind, remove obstacles, and bring us back to the center of our being.

An evening of Kirtan

The experience is beautiful. You can’t help but feel some inspiration, peace, and a sense of connectedness.

The time in Bali included three beautiful Kirtans – one at the Bali Spirit Festival and two in the homes of some local expatriates. All three occasions, beautiful experiences. A Kirtan is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list! Even if you don’t have the chance to go to Bali, Kirtans are performed throughout the world and right here in Calgary. Go to Adam and Sparrow’s website for listings of their next performance. Get ready to experience something beautiful!

Bali & Beyond is changing the lives and communities with fair trade and sustainability – bringing serenity and beauty to you right here at home.



We’d Love to Stay in Touch!

Love what you read? Be one of the first receive our e-newsletter regarding all the newest products, stories, sales, and information about our yoga and dance studio, known as The Sanctuary.


Leave a Comment

Contact Us