Morning Mantra by Bengaluru-based singer Iman Das brings a holistic start to the day

Bengaluru is witnessing a unique intertwining of cultural practices with the introduction of the Morning Mantra initiative by renowned vocalist Iman Das. This project, which intertwines spiritual practices with the classical tradition of Indian music, aims to offer participants an invigorating start to their day. “This project was conceived to enhance one’s spirituality by practicing yoga while listening to a morning raga,” says the eminent singer.

Iman Das drew inspiration for this initiative during a tour in Germany. Performing in Stuttgart, he considered shifting to faster-paced compositions, fearing that the audience might not appreciate the slower vilambit ragas. Surprisingly, several Germans approached him with the request for the very vilambit pieces he was hesitant to perform. “We enjoy meditating to slower tempo songs,” they admitted. This encounter sowed the seeds of the concept where raga and meditation could be integrated, a concept that Iman had been exploring across European countries to great acclaim.

For the implementation of Morning Mantra in India, Iman Das has partnered with notable figures, including Swami Tadyuktanandaji of the Ramakrishna Math, who imparts teachings on the union of culture, music, and meditation that are inherent to this exercise. In these sessions, Das presents beautiful morning ragas, while yoga instructor Jonaki Ghosh Thomas guides participants through a series of yoga kriyas. The two-hour programme promises to be a holistic exercise in harmonizing melody with physical movements and introspective tranquility.

Moreover, Iman’s contributions to music have recently been recognized by the Indian state of Karnataka, which awarded him the prestigious National Award — Basavaraj Rajguru Yuva Kalakar 2023. His achievements in the past year alone have been remarkable. Beyond the release of his co-authored historical exploration of Indian ragas titled “One Nation, One Music,” Das has actively engaged in the cultural scene—gracing the stage at the KK Murthy Festival, contributing to World Music and Yoga day at Gwalior University, and expanding his Omkar Music Academy in Kolkata, which aims to blend classical, Western, and world music teachings.

Iman Das’s musical journey speaks of an undying passion for Hindustani music and an aspiration to weave together diverse artistic influences. Having trained under luminaries such as Pt. Kalyan Basu of the Patiala Gharana and Pt. Ajay Chakrabarty, Das’s education is deeply rooted in the guru-shishya parampara, the traditional mentor-disciple lineage that has preserved the distinct styles of various gharanas. These influences have fueled his collaborations with virtuosos like Anup Jalota, Amit Kumar, and Pt. Jayateerth Mevundi, further embellishing his reputation for innovative and evocative presentations.

As an artist acclaimed by WNYR New York Radio as one of the World’s Top Emerging Artistes in 2018, Iman Das’s talents are not confined to the classical arena; he has explored the frontier of creating new ragas and has extended his musical prowess to Bollywood, lending his voice to soundtracks and humanitarian efforts alike.

The choice of Bengaluru as a base for his Omkar Music Academy is not incidental. The vibrant city, known for its receptiveness to novel cultural and musical expressions, presented the ideal environment for nurturing Iman Das’s vision. Under his tutelage, the academy has seen many students rise to prominence, such as Ankita Kundu in the Kannada playback industry, and Asmita Banerjee, prepping for upcoming performances in Benaras and Bengaluru.

Initiatives like Morning Mantra reflect Das’s philosophy of merging diverse musical terrains with the seven notes of Indian classical music, thereby educating and enriching the experience of his students and followers. This spiritually and musically invigorating programme is set to take place at Sobha Lakeview Clubhouse, with hopes of reaching a wider audience by potentially transitioning onto online platforms.

Those interested in beginning their day with this unique blend of yoga and morning ragas can attend the Morning Mantra on February 25th, at 6:30 am at the Green Glen Layout Cultural Association, Bellandur. Registration is currently open and can be obtained by contacting the provided phone number or email address.

Morning Mantra stands as a testament to Iman Das’s commitment to harmonizing music, spiritual practice, and wellness—a symphony that resonates with the dawn of each new day.

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