BHAKTI LOVE 2023
Jai Utall, C.C. White Soul Kirtan, Donna DeLory, Larisa Stow, Jaya Lakshmi, Johanna Beekman, Sianna Sherman, Cristi Christensen, Nubia Teixeira, Danni Pomplun, Mashi Cohen, Daniel Stewart, and many more.
Bhakti is the Yoga of Devotion. It is often defined as the Yoga of Love. One of the most visible ways that this is practiced in the world is through music. But not just any music. Chanting. Ecstatic singing. The repetition of the names of the divine with celebratory melodies, often with Sanskrit mantras. With the repetition of call and response between musicians and audience known as kirtan. There is a certain joyous ecstasy to the practice of Bhakti. It is not performance but participation. It is community. It is love. The Bhakti Love Reunion, a brand-new festival bringing Bhakti to life, is an in-person explosion and expression of Bhakti.
During the months and years of pandemic-driven isolation, the festivals that have become part of the expression of yoga in the modern world took different forms. Live-streamed sessions, virtual festivals, people chanting at home.
The new festival, Bhakti Love Renunion creators and producers Kenneth Schwenker and Johanna Beekman both embody the values of devotion and community. Kenneth is one of the founders of the first Bhakti Fest, held in 2009 in Joshua Tree, California. Of that groundbreaking event, Kenneth reflects that is was the first festival of its kind to unite many spiritual lineages and practices. In addition, he has put his devotion into action through his work producing many other festivals, including Leaders Causing Leaders and One Love Festival, as well as numerous feature films. Johanna Beekman is a prolific artist, musician, producer, and teacher. She describes herself as a pollinator, traveling the country sharing fairy dust through the magic of song, practice, and community. Johanna’s love of and dedication to collaboration is evident in how she talks about the magic in planning this festival, the Bhakti Love Reunion.
The two of them describe their meeting and connecting around this endeavor as being guided by angels. They reference the magical things that can happen in the cross-pollination of in-person gatherings. There was a bit of magic that came through in finding the location where the Bhakti Love Reunion will be held.