Vocal Medicine Album
The Vocal Medicine album tracks were recorded and produced in the fall of 2019. They were released during an all-day event on winter solstice. Contributing artists include Kathleen Karlsen, Andrew Karlsen, Mahima Giri and Paul Bohak. The title “Vocal Medicine” is a reference to the benefits of devotional mantras and chanting on all levels. Mantras can be used as a a solitary spiritual practice or in group singing (kirtan).
Sita Ram: Sita Ram refers to the Hindu goddess, Sita, and her consort, Ram, or Rama. Sita is the main female character in the Hindu epic poem, the Ramayana, and is an incarnation of Lakshmi. Rama is the central male character and an incarnation of Vishnu.
Sita and Ram are viewed as the ideal spouses. Sita represents courage, dedication and purity. Ram (or Rama) represents the truth, the soul and virtue. Sita and Ram go through many trials together, including exile and the kidnapping of Sita.
Reciting these names is believed to balance both sides of the brain. They represent the yin and the yang or the masculine and the feminine. Music by Kathleen Karlsen.
Padmadevi Chant: This is a chant to Pandaravasini, one of the five female Buddhas associated with the Dhyani Buddhas. Pandavarsini is the consort of Amitabha. The five Dhyani Buddhas are said to have existed since the beginning of time. They represent or symbolize divine principles or forces. They are self-born. The word dhyani is derived from the Sanskrit dhyana meaning “meditation.” The Dhyani Buddhas are also called Jinas, meaning Victors or Conquerors.
Her name means the White Robed One which suggests that she is vested with purity. Pandaravarsini’s mantra is “Om Padmadevi Pushpadevi Pam Svaha.” Padma means a lotus flower and devi means a goddess or queen. Pushpa also means a flower. This mantra honors Pandaravasini as the goddess of the lotus and of flowers. Music by Kathleen Karlsen.
Lalita Shanti Om: The name Lalita means “she who plays.” Lalita is highly independent. She insists on retaining complete freedom. Lalita is a consort of Shiva, signified by the garland she places around his neck. Lalita’s beauty is noted in the term “sundari” meaning beautiful. The story of Lalita unfolds in the Brahmanda Purana, a thousand year old text in India. When the demon Bhanda fought his enemies, half of his opponent’s power would be transferred directly to him. Only worship of Lalita could save the other gods from Bhanda’s power. Bhanda is defeated. The moral: the divine feminine which gives every victory.
“Ma amba” means “mother of the universe” and “shanti” means “peace.” This chant can be translated as “Victory to Lalita, the beautiful goddess, Mother of the universe who brings peace.” Music by Kathleen Karlsen.
Om Tare Tuttare: This is called the Green Tara Mantra, a traditional Buddhist mantra. The word-name Tara is variously interpreted as Shining Star, Liberator, Rescuer or Savior. Tara is a Bodhisattva of compassion who manifests in female form.
Tara is a female buddha who represents compassion in action. Tara exists as a goddess in many other traditions including Hinduism, Polynesian mythology, Druidism, Finland, Roman mythology, and South America (Tarahumara).
Tara is known as the goddess of liberation. In the Tibetan pantheon of deities, Tara is the consort of the Dhyani Buddha Amogasiddhi. Music by Kathleen Karlsen.
Devakinanadana Gopala: Gopala is one of the childhood names of Krishna, the son of Devaki. Govinda is also one of Krishna’s childhood names. There was a prophecy before Krishna’s birth that he would overthrow Kansa, an evil tyrant king. Krishna was sent to live in the country for his own protection. As a result, Krishna’s childhood was spent as a herder.
This is the origin of Krishna’s childhood names. “Go” means cow, a sacred animal that may also symbolically represent sacred scriptures or sacred truth. “Go” is sometimes translated as “light.”
This chant means, “Gopala is the bliss (ananda) of his mother Devaki.” Music by Kathleen Karlsen.
Parvati Parashakti: Parvati is the Hindu goddess of love and devotion as well as divine strength and power. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Hindu goddess Shakti. Parvati is the consort of Shiva.
Parvati carries a trident. The three-pronged trident removes evil on the physical, mental and spiritual levels. In the human body, the trident represents the place where three main energy channels meet at the third eye.
Parvati’s dedication to Shiva and her family makes her a role model for Hindu women. She is the mother of Kartikeya and Ganesha. Learn about Ganesha Symbolism and Ganesha Mantras. This is a chant calling to the divine feminine in all of us. Music by Kathleen Karlsen.
Lokah Samastah: One of the Vocal Medicine Band’s favorite chants! This mantra is a beautiful prayer meaning “May all beings be happy and free and may my life contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all”.
The Sanskrit words to this chant are “Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu.” The melody for chant was written specifically for an event devoted to preserving peace in spite of political differences and difficulties throughout the world.
Many of Vocal Medicine kirtans and online events have ended with Lokah Samastah. It is a wonderful chant to experience peace and completion. Music by Kathleen Karlsen.
Vocal Medicine Album Contributing Artists
Kathleen is the lead vocalist and composer for the Vocal Medicine Band. She plays harmonium and manages the band and events.
Andrew Karlsen contributes vocals, recorder and udu drum to the Vocal Medicine band. He was born and raised in Norway.
Originally from Nepal, Mahima plays the hand cymbals (kartals), provides vocal support and expertise in Sanskrit for mantras.
Paul plays bass and acoustic guitar for Vocal Medicine. Paul also mixed and produced the Vocal Medicine album.
Responses to Vocal Medicine Album Tracks
“I put on your CD every night while I do my yoga. I love ending with Lokah Samastah. It is wonderful!” P.D.H., Boise, ID
“Love to listen, even if only for a minute! Fills my house with upbeat tunes!” SH, Livingston, MT
“The last few days my baby Callie has been very cranky with teething. After an hour of non-stop crying, I turned on your CD and she literally started bouncing up and down! Your CD makes Callie happy! I enjoy the cheerful spirit of your mantras too!” AL, Albuquerque, NM
“Loved the chant CD! Just listened to it while doing my dishes and really got into dancing and singing with it! Thank you! I can’t wait to buy CDs for friends for Christmas.” CH, Bozeman, MT
Vocal Medicine Book
Learn more about using mantras and singing to invigorate your life! Explore concepts from East and West related to the power of singing. Explore the chakras and the impact of sound in every area of your life.
Author Kathleen Karlsen
Vocal Medicine reveals Kathleen Karlsen’s personal journey with mantras, chanting and kirtan. Benefit from Kathleen’s years of research into the power of sacred music. Topics include:
- Achieve improved emotional health through mantras
- Create a happy brain through singing
- Extensive discussion of sound and the chakras
- Connections between sound, color and healing
186 pages, $15.95