Malika and I come from different musical and spiritual backgrounds. But when we sing together, there's an easeful harmony that arises not only from our voices and instruments but in our hearts as well. For this reason, we named our collaboration "Samanvaya Kirtan". Samanvaya is a Sanskrit word, and in modern Hindi one of the meanings is "mutual or immediate connection". You can see why this word resonated with us! So whether you take it to mean our musical harmony or the connection we make with our amazing audiences, samanvaya conveys an honouring of the interconnectedness of all things.
Kirtan is call-and-response chanting, or in other words, singing mantras of praise with a group of people who respond (repeat) what the lead singer sings (call). It is very participatory by its very nature, and the best Kirtan is when everyone is singing, moving to the music, or clapping their hands.
The mantras we sing are from two different traditions - Bhakti Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism - and are in two different languages - Sanskrit and Pali. The practice of Kirtan as a musical form of meditation is rooted in the yogic tradition, but opening the heart in song using ancient mantras is common to them both.