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Mantra-Pop Still Life by Robin Renee 2006 (harmonium, candles, meditation cushion, and boots)

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I’ve been telling myself this for a while now, and I’ve started to say it out loud. In terms that sound like what a visual artist might use, I have to say this is my post-kirtan period. In the past, I’ve called my music Bohemian-Glam, and more recently, Mantra-Pop. I guess in a way all those terms remain part of what I do since all that I’ve done will inform what comes next. There’s something that also appeals to me about the manufactured nature of any terms to describe music; they can point to a combination of sound and concept, at best, but you really get to make it up. Maybe I’ll declare “Post-Kirtan” a sound all its own.

This acknowledgment is showing up at a time that in my personal life I am actually coming back to yoga and chant music after a time of separation from most everything to do with it. Staying away was necessary for some shifting relationship self-preservation for a while, but I am glad to reclaim those practices that work for me now, in earnest. I am humbled to hear from so many people about how the work I’ve done with kirtan has had a positive effect. I won’t forget that. I am listening to mantra as I write this.

What I’ve known for a while, though, is that what feels like the peak time in my life to focus on chant, at least in terms of performance and recording, has passed. I have slowly been getting comfortable with this, and talked about it somewhat on the Positive Energy TV show in the summer. That doesn’t mean I won’t facilitate kirtan and other contemplative practices in public spaces at times. In fact, I just booked a concert and kirtan event for April 16th in Plainsboro. It doesn’t mean I won’t record kirtan if it arises again, or sing with the Kosmic Kirtan Posse, if asked. What it does mean is that I’m acknowledging how much I’ve missed being the full-on singer/songwriter, how necessary that path is for me, and it’s the path I set myself back on now. This is the path where the healing and power seem to occur most naturally for me.

It has been mildly traumatic finding the confidence to write again in the way I know I can, and focusing back on club gigs and beyond feels daunting. How did I lose that trail for so long? At least I have some sense of what’s worked before, what definitely didn’t, and some ideas about where I’d like to go. It’s time to ring in the new!

This Friday, I’m doing a two-set café show with Jessica Floresta on vocals and viola. It is a small gig in a very familiar place. I will be very happy to perform there, and I hope you’ll join us if you can. Each bit I do to prepare for it feels like a little triumph; a lessening of the distance between myself and where I need to be.

Come see us Friday, December 4th at grooveground, 647 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ, 8pm.

ashford_castle_aerial_view

Today’s blog tour stop brings me to Patti O’Brien’s blog, A Broad Abroad.  I have enjoyed following her travels from time to time, so I’m honored she’d take a moment to write a bit about me, highlighting some of the places I’ve journeyed.

You can catch up with Patti’s discovery of Mantra-Pop, my upcoming trip to Canada (Finally!), and more here:

Robin Renee and Mantra-Pop

Tomorrow’s stop: A guest blog by Fran Metzman.  You can check it out here.

When Brian first called me out of the blue some years ago, I was pleasantly startled – No one’s ever looking specifically for “African-American female, folk-inspired artists,” or so I thought! Now, working with him from a business perspective through his company Loebig Ink has been really helping me to stay on track in a lot of ways. Here’s a brief interview with me he posted this morning. Thanks, Brian!

The Ink Blog

Robin ReneeI had the pleasure of meeting Robin for the first time when I booked her as a performer for the 5th Street Coffeehouse music venue in Philadelphia several years ago. The coffeehouse featured African-American female, folk-inspired artists and Robin became an instant favorite of mine and the venue patrons. I have continued to stay in touch with Robin over the years and have recently been privileged to work with her on business marketing strategies as well as writing projects. Robin’s entrepreneurial spirit is infectious and her determination is only paralleled by her acute attention to detail. I am pleased to call her a colleague and a friend.

1. Career influences

It may be a bit cliché for a female singer songwriter to claim Ani DiFranco as a big influence, but she really has been one of mine. I interviewed her some years back for Curve Magazine, and was struck by…

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