Simrit Live At Grace Cathedral
Cover Photo By Nikita Mehta
By Nikita Mehta
In June, I was wandering around the Montmartre district in Paris and stumbled into the Sacre-coeur cathedral. I was mesmerized the moment I walked in. The sheer size of the cathedral on the inside was breathtaking, but the people that filled the pews locked in silent prayer touched me so deeply that I sat on the first pew and cried for half-an hour. At the time I thought it was the history of the place; the fact I was wandering around Paris or that jet lag had finally caught up with me. And then last Saturday night, I walked into Grace Cathedral, here in the heart of our beautiful city, and was filled with the same emotion. The paintings that line the cathedral walls, the people walking in silence through the labyrinth at the entrance, the height and detail of the ceilings; I was transported back to that raw emotion that I felt sitting at the Sacre-coeur. All of this before Simrit even graced us with her presence.
The crowd was the perfect balance between those out for a Saturday night and Kundalini practitioners, and sitting in the pews of the cathedral added to the mystic aura of the music to come. The wall behind the main altar was bathed in a purple light show that looked like flowing water and each pillar in the cathedral was illuminated in a bright shade of color. Candles dotted the stage and a soft blue and purple glow hung over the instruments. Simrit’s entrance to the stage raised the vibrations of the collective audience. Her small frame, draped in a black and white floor length patterned gown, was gilded by her quintessential large white and gold head piece, a homage to her Greek roots. Flanked on each side by her cello, guitar, kora and drum players, Simrit reflected the spotlight as her headpiece glittered in the light. The music and her voice echoed off the walls and the high ceilings, sending vibration through the audience. If you didn’t get a chance to see the Instagram live broadcast of the last song, buy her new live album, it comes close to capturing the magic of watching her dance behind her harmonium as her musicians dive into their collective flow.
After the show, and after all the audience members had filed out of the cathedral, Simrit and I sat down to talk about the future of yoga and what her biggest lesson from the last two years has been:
Yoga has been morphing so much in the past few years, where do you think the future of yoga is heading?
The future of it is really in the hands of the practitioner and I don’t think there is one exact way that it is going to go. I know that more and more people are exposed to it and I think what’s so beautiful about the practice of yoga is that, yoga means union; to yoke, that’s the origin of the word. It means together, union. So when we are in that space with ourselves, united with ourselves, with our souls, I think it takes on a different life of its own with each individual person. I don’t think that yoga is meant to a dogmatic one way, one style, and when it does become that I tend to stay away from that.
MC YOGI just dropped his first book and in the beginning he talks about this moment where he feels like, I’ve been working for these dreams and now it’s happened. Can you remember when you felt like that and what it feels like now?
You know what, I feel like that every day. It’s like, wow, this is a whole different feeling than it was yesterday, so I can’t think it will be like it was yesterday. The more that I’m into the path, the more that I am getting out there with the music, the more that I realize that every day is going to be extremely different. And that’s where the yoga is; it’s not about it being the same, about it looking the same, it’s not about it being one group or one look or one style. It changes, it changes so fast every day. So I do my best to do my kundalini practice consistently so that I can have the nervous system to hold that. To deal with that. To be with that change.
You’ve been on tour for two years now, what’s the one lesson that you can pluck from all that time?
You know what, the main lesson that I keep getting is to be kind to myself. And everyone is the same everywhere, we all want to feel loved, we all want to feel respected, we all want to feel heard, and if we can give that to ourselves and to each other than it’s a beautiful thing. It’s when we are condescending and think that we are better or that I know more than someone… that’s just a bunch of crap and that holds us back from being genuine. And I think we start to feel depressed and sad when we put up those fronts. I experience it on tour a lot, people are so vulnerable and open when I speak to them after the shows, you know, this is the real, human to human interaction. To me that’s the lesson. Everyone wants to be heard and loved and spoken to genuinely and that’s it, it doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s very simple.
Simrit’s live album is on sale during all scheduled tour dates and will release in early November. A new album is also in the works. A list of tour dates and upcoming events can be found at simritkaurmusic.com.
Photos by Gundeep Singh