Jai Uttal is a Grammy nominee, kirtan artist, multi-instrumentalist, and ecstatic vocalist. He is considered a pioneer in the world music community with his combined influences from India and American rock and jazz. Jai has been leading, teaching, and performing World Music and kirtan—the ancient yoga of chanting or singing to God—around the world for close to 50 years, creating a safe environment for people to open their hearts and voices.
He grew up in New York City and lived in a home filled with music. Jai began studying classical piano at the age of seven and later learned to play old-time banjo, harmonica, and guitar. At age 17, he heard Indian music for the first time, and two years later moved to California and studied under the famous sarod player, Ali Akbar Khan. Jai later began taking regular pilgrimages to India, living among the wandering street musicians of Bengal, and singing with the kirtan wallahs in the temple of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
“Kirtan is the calling, the crying, the reaching across infinite space — digging into the heart’s deepest well to touch and be touched by the Divine Presence.”