117 episodes

Host Jefferson Glassie, chief spiritual dude of the Planetary Gigs Society, talks with guests about the power of music and how we can create a better world through music.

Planetary Gig Talk Planetary Gigs Society

    • Music Interviews
    • 4.8, 9 Ratings

Host Jefferson Glassie, chief spiritual dude of the Planetary Gigs Society, talks with guests about the power of music and how we can create a better world through music.

    Anni Beach, founder of Jam Pak Blues 'n' Grass Neighborhood Band

    Anni Beach, founder of Jam Pak Blues 'n' Grass Neighborhood Band

    Anni Beach grew up in a musical family; her mother was a harpist, her sisters were musicians, as was her husband. She took piano lessons as a child, but the mandolin really grabbed her at age 50. She would take her mandolin to class as a substitute teacher, and one day a couple young boys came to her house and asked her to play some more music. That was the start of the Jam Pak Blues 'n' Grass Neighborhood Band, which has been playing, learning music, and performing from Anni's home as a base. Her goal, and that of the some 25 or more kids in the band for the last 25 years, has been to bring joy and make themselves and others happy through music!
    One important key is that they all have a common purpose to be happy and help other people be happy, and learn music and songs and be together. Also, she says, "There are no stars, everybody is on an equal footing; ... we help each other." She also encourages others to start music communities, however big or small; "Don't worry about it; just start," she says! "If you have your music and you can be happy, what a joy!"
    Anni emphasizes that we all need a purpose, and that even right now, in the pandemic, we have great virtual platforms to really talk with people, to keep learning and doing. She says, the more we try to create musical communities, share resources, learn from and help one another, the better we will do. "I believe our lives are going to change for the better," she says.

    • 44 min
    Dr. Pramod Kumar, Founder of Devi Music Ashram

    Dr. Pramod Kumar, Founder of Devi Music Ashram

    Dr. Pramod Kumar is the Founder of the Devi Music Ashram in Rishikesh India. Dr. Kumar is a philosopher, but his focus is not on metaphysical matters but on solving practical problems. He does not play music, but loves music. Dr. Kumar says music is the highest form of harmony of sound, which is very powerful. Harmony in music brings peace to the mind.

    Dr. Kumar’s children were very good musicians growing up, and he supported them and gave them the space to learn music; many in India do not encourage their children to play music because of the economics. He later wanted a place where all aspects of humans can grow, from the musical to the practical to the spiritual. Dr. Kumar says that music can solve many problems of man. Indian classical music in particular can uplift consciousness.

    He wanted a place where people from all over the world could come to learn music, art, yoga, etc. and the Devi Music Ashram provides an environment for them to do that while spreading love, music, and service. He believes we can combine the best parts of the West with the best parts of the East.

    • 21 min
    Biko Casini, percussionist with Rising Appalachia

    Biko Casini, percussionist with Rising Appalachia

    Biko Casini is the percussionist with my favorite music group, Rising Appalachia. Biko turned me on to The Music Lesson book by Victor Wooten and that changed my life and led to the founding of the Planetary Gigs Society. Biko is a profound player and spiritual thinker.

    Biko grew up in an intentional community outside Nashville, where he lives now, and he says it gives him the space to dream about what is possible when humans come together, sharing responsibility of stewarding the land. Biko’s father played guitar – all the time, many different songs, from many different countries and in many languages, like a troubadour. When Biko was 15, his brother carved him drumsticks and that started his lifelong craft as a drummer and percussionist. Through several interactions and his travels, he realized that for him music was a way to be of service rather than strive simply for personal success, and his quest has been to find a place or situation where music could be a key to unlocking healing energy.

    He has found that with Rising Appalachia, which is like a spiritual community because they are all working on similar goals. So many musicians have been funneled and co-opted by the music industry to serve the profit motive. Rising Appalachia focuses on the experience and the wild magic of music. “Music has given me more than anything else in my life, but it has also taken more than anything else,” he says.

    Biko is focused on an intention to create cultural and ecological learning and rejuvenation centers, with music being a huge part of that. He says concerts and festivals can provide energy for restoring ecology. Arts and creativity, he says, should feed the ecological restoration of the world and cultural renewal, which is the great work of our time. Biko says we all carry cultural trauma and music’s job is to connect us to what’s real inside of ourselves and then to help us be able to restore the external ecology. This also seems to me to be very much consistent with the music and message of Rising Appalachia, led by sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith, and they have all meant so much to so many people.

    • 47 min
    Neeti Kumar, of the Devi Music Ashram

    Neeti Kumar, of the Devi Music Ashram

    I met Neeti Kumar at the Devi Music Ashram in Rishikesh, India. She teaches classical Indian singing and dance at the ashram. I have been so enamored by the concept of music ashrams; there should be millions of them! I posted some short videos of performances at the ashram, including a couple of Neeti singing.

    Neeti’s family has been coming to Rishikesh for most of their lives. Neeti and her sisters were always singing when they were little. Their father had a music teacher come to their home. About eight or nine years ago, they decided to start a music ashram to celebrate music, to create a nice atmosphere to develop oneself through music, art, and culture. Neeti says that humans have many different aspects – ethical, spiritual, biological, rational, etc. – and the Devi Music Ashram allows people the freedom, space, and opportunity to develop all these aspects through music.

    The Devi Music Ashram is different than most ashrams, which have a guru or teacher who sets the rules and the way of thinking. But there is no guru at the Devi Music Ashram. There are many teachers at the ashram, such as yoga, singing, sitar, meditation, dance, etc., but the gurus are music and nature. She says Indian music is like an ocean, every day there is a news opportunity to be better and have more understanding. She says it is very important for humans to have music in their lives, because music heals in so many ways. She also thinks it would be wonderful for there to be more music ashrams; people need that very much, she says.

    • 23 min
    Sandro Shankara, multi-instrumentalist from Brazil, leads spiritual and musical tours

    Sandro Shankara, multi-instrumentalist from Brazil, leads spiritual and musical tours

    Sandro Shankara is a very spiritual musician from Brazil, who leads musicians, pilgrims, and seekers on tours to sacred places like the Amazon, the mountains of Peru, and India. I met Sandro in Rishikesh at the Devi Music Ashram. We really connected and I was able to interview him on zoom.

    When Sandro was 17, he found Indian music, having played classical guitar before that. He plays many instruments, including guitar, ukulele, and table, sitar, and harmonium. Since a very young age, he has prepared himself through music to bring people peace. His mission is to unite the scientific knowledge of healing with mantras, and to connect more and more people with their inner being.

    He says it is important to drop the individual me, the ego, and join the global harmony. With so many modern distractions, “the most powerful tool to connect us to a space of calm and inner peace is music.” Sandro believes a new moment has arrived and together we will create a better world.

    Follow him on Instagram, where he posts about his trips and music. Also, he has four CDs on Spotify.

    • 26 min
    Raj Sagonakha, of the Devi Music Ashram

    Raj Sagonakha, of the Devi Music Ashram

    Raj Sagonakha is with the Devi Music Ashram in Rishikesh, India. I met Raj when I walked into the ashram almost entirely by chance in March 2020. I had gone to Rishikesh to visit the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, where the Beatles visited in 1968, and I felt a profound connection with all this.

    As background, Raj started playing music when he was ten years old, learning the tabla, or Indian drum. He and his sisters became musicians and Raj transitioned to the sitar. His family had traveled to Rishikesh, and he says there is “something in the air, in the environment, here that is so amazing.”

    They gradually developed the idea of starting a music ashram, making a space for people to share music, and for them to share what they know about Indian classical music. At the Devi Music Ashram, there is no guru or master, but music and nature, and knowledge, says Raj, are your master. “You are free to discover your own divinity through music.” At the ashram, they offer all sorts of music, sound healing, chanting, singing, dancing, and learning to play instruments.

    Raj says that, “In India, music is not just entertainment; it is also a part of spirituality, peace, and harmony in life.” He says there is a metaphysical concept where we believe that everything is a vibration, a cosmic vibration, an unending sound, the sound of the cosmos. And then there is also the sound that we create. Indian classical musicians were saints, spiritual seekers, and Indian music developed that way, where you try to connect with the ultimate source or reality through music. There are also different moods of notes and tones, and those are how the ragas were developed by the Indian saints so when you listen you can experience that deep connection.

    The Devi Music Ashram is a very special place and Raj says that everyone is welcome there. Personally, I believe there should be millions of music ashrams around the world and I urge people to support the Devi Music Ashram and more music ashrams around the planet.

    • 31 min

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