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Inspired by the deep devotional mood of Indian singing and music, Jaya Lakshmi began leading kirtan and writing her own devotional songs in the early 1990’s on the island of Hawaii. In 1992 she received harinam initiation from Srila Govinda Maharaj, a spiritual teacher from West Bengal, India, who graciously bestowed on her the name “Jaya Lakshmi”, which means “victory to the goddess Lakshmi”, the Hindu goddess of fortune and spiritual wealth.
She went on to create 4 solo chant albums on Sequoia Records from 2000-2008. From 2011-2017, she co-produced 11 albums with Ananda Yogiji, 4 of which are on Sounds True. She is also known as the lead singer and songwriter for the techno-tribal group ‘Lost at Last’ that toured the US West and produced 3 albums during the years of 1997-2004. She continues to explore the format of mixing of electronica and sacred chant (‘kirtronica’) through composing and performing with Ableton LIVE.
Her ecstatic singing and kirtan leading, often accompanied by other talented artists, has had a powerful effect amongst various communities in the islands of Hawaii, the West Coast, and Europe, always creating a deep sense of intimacy with the divine. She is known for her authentic and deep devotional spirit as well as playing an important part in establishing kirtan and mantra music in the west.
A gifted songwriter, she weaves English, Sanskrit, and prayers of other spiritual traditions with musical influences from India, indigenous trance, Celtic and folk rock. Her main instruments are guitar, harmonium and keyboard.
She has sang on stage with Jai Uttal, Shimshai, Tina Malia, CC White, Karnamrita Dasi, Dave Stringer, Phil Lesh, and Benjy and Heather Wertheimer among other great artists and played for many yoga classes and retreats with well known teachers such as Sianna Sherman, Kia Miller,Saul David Raye, Janet Stone, Pete Guinosso, and Dawn Cartwright.
Her four solo studio albums Ocean of Mercy (2003), Jewel of Hari (2004), Sublime (2006), and Radiance (2009) (on Sequoia Records) are also available online on Bandcamp. All are magnificently embellished by the fine guitar and sarod work of Deva Priyo and tabla master Daniel Paul. On Sublime also featured are bansuri flute player Manose, Ananta on violin, Yoko Silk on cello, and Luna Marcus on support vocals.
As a vocal artist Jaya Lakshmi is featured on Steve Gordon’s Drum Prayer (2002, Sequoia Records) and William Ackerman’s Hearing Voices (2001, RCA/Windham Hill records), and co-produced the track ‘Tantroktam Devi Suktam’ with Ben Leinbach on his compilation album ‘Sangha’ (2011 White Swan Records)
In 2010 she met Ananda Yogiji in Eugene, Oregon. Realizing their powerful potential together, they joined forces musically and entered into what was also to be a profoundly creative love relationship, that merged career and personal life.
They established their ‘Altar of Love’ weekend retreats, which included a Sacred chant concert, yoga, mantra and singing workshops, performing live ‘Kirtronica’ for ecstatic dance and a closing cacao ceremony. They toured regularly on the West Coast USA, Hawaii, and have led Altar of Love retreats also in Bali and Guatemala. They have played and taught yoga at numerous festivals, including Bhakti/Shakti Fest, Sat Nam Fest, Beloved Festival, Oregon Country Fair, Bali Spirit, Prana Fest, Hanuman Festival and Telluride Yoga Festival, among others. They have been pioneers in bringing music and conscious businesses together, especially on their USA west coast tours. Their sponsors have included Coconut Bliss, Medicinal Foods, Blue Lotus Chai and Jem Organics.
In the fall of 2016 their relationship underwent changes and they realized it was time to step back onto separate paths. Jaya Lakshmi has since relaunched herself as a solo artist once again, with numerous recording projects underway. Although still occasionally performing with Ananda, she is presently exploring her unique individual expression as a singer, songwriter, musician and composer.
Jaya Lakshmi has regularly practiced hatha-based yoga since 1996, including Pattabhi-Jois style Ashtanga yoga and Anusara Yoga. Since meeting Ananda in 2010 she integrated Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan into her daily practice, regularly attending the Summer Solstice Sadhana gathering in Espanola, NM. Her most influential teachers have been Kia Miller, Janet Stone, Sianna Sherman, Anand Mehotra (Rishikesh, India) , and Saul David Raye.
She is regularly a guest yoga teacher at Bhakti/Shakti Fest among other festivals and holds her own workshops and classes integrated with her touring schedule. She shares a blend of asana, pranayama, meditation, free movement and singing mantra in her offering, “Cultivating Divine Presence through Yoga, Meditation and Mantra”
The mother of two beautiful daughters, Jaya Lakshmi is sponsored by Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss, currently based in Eugene, Oregon.