An Inspirited Collective with musical offerings from the sacred confluence of Joy and Conscious Community.
Souls Journey is a collective of musicians and singers dedicated to expressing joy through sacred and uplifting song and celebration. The Souls Journey band is an ever-shifting derivative of the collective. Time spent with any variant of Souls Journey is a community expression of Spirit, which combines a very eclectic mix of songs from a variety of spiritual traditions as well as other sources, including original and “spirit-sized” pieces.
Born out of an interweaving of personal paths and sharing within conscious community, Souls Journey formed because of our mutual desire to celebrate the common thread that connects all of Creation. We encourage everyone to sing together in the “perfection-free zone” of our Sacred circle. Our musical offerings are informed by such diverse expressions as monthly devotional singing circles, Dances of Universal Peace, the Noah Project, several kiirtan traditions, and by the rich flavor of each individual’s soul journey. An eclectic interfaith ensemble, we honor the many paths to God, Goddess, Great Mystery, Divine Intelligence and all of the many names of the Divine.
Sample The Dance (a George Peckham original)
Sample Sweet Love (a "spiritsized" gospel tune)
Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Our version of a classic)
A Collective of Souls
Dena McKitrick – Vocals, ukelele, hand drum. Fine artist with joyous heart and spiritual roots that reach into 12 step, earth-based spirituality, and a life spent immersed in the seeking of a deeper and ever present conscious connection with Great Mystery.
Marshal McKitrick – Vocals, guitar, recorder. Meadowlark spirit at heart, his spiritual journey includes: yoga, human potential movement, working with and expressing the sacred masculine, and more.
Darlene Viggiano – Vocals, hand drum. Gnostic, transpersonalist, psycho-spiritual Friend. Practices yoga, tai chi chih, qi gong, hypnosis, and dream-work.
Bruce O’Brien – Vocals, keyboard, violin, flute, bass, harmonium. Has been sometimes known as a practicing Monist and Jesussian.
George Peckham – Vocals, guitar. Growing up in a family where music was the “tie that binds,” he has come to experience community through music as an expression of the collective good in all of us. In addition to the deeper experience and meaning of community, he says, “It’s just alot of good old fun!!!”
Joyce Bahati – Vocals, hand percussion. At 3 years old, she sang along with the Baptist church across the street from her home and the radio. In the past 16 years her spiritual practice included certification as a leader of the Dances of Universal Peace, leading sacred songs, dances and walks, and learning Afro/Cuban rhytms. She is grounded in various spiritual paths, an Omni Faith Chaplain and Licensed Practitioner of the United Centers for Spiritual Living.
We’re all on our souls journey…
Venues that have hosted Soul’s Journey in either of it’s forms include:
- Spiritual Life Center
- Christ Unity Church
- Unity of Davis
- My Yoga Lounge
- East-West Books
- Fusion Yoga
- Piccolo Pastures
- Fairplay Farms
- Center for Spiritual Awareness
- Sacramento Center for Spiritual Growth
- Center for Spiritual Living, Davis
- Private gatherings and parties
To book Souls Journey (either for a performance or a Kiirtan), contact Marshal @ 916-505-4066 or Dena @ 916-600-7917 or email Souls(at)Souls-Journey.net.
The seed of Souls Journey was planted after Dena and Marshal met in spiritual community in 2002 in the Sacramento, CA area. When Dena found out that Marshal had experienced playing music for Kiirtans as a young man within a yoga sangha, she suggested that he do service by leading Kiirtan’s for the new thought church that they were attending at the time. He led the first Kiirtan there in October of 2004. As some of their friends from other spiritual circles began to join in and participate, it quickly morphed into Kiirtan’s being led by what eventually became the Souls Journey collective. The group found other new thought churches in the greater Sacramento area that also wanted to host a sacred singing circle.
Before long, Souls Journey sought other venues to share Kiirtan while spreading the joy in the larger community. Welcomed by a local yoga studio, the group held regular Kiirtans on a monthly basis in a less formal setting. Along the way, Souls Journey was also invited to play at a several retreat centers in (and outside of) the Sacramento area.
In October, 2011, Souls Journey celebrated seven years of collaborating and raising a joyful noise with friends in community. In honor of the change and mystery of seven year cycles, the group was inspired to expand on the original vision of guiding and sharing community Kiirtans.
In this latest cycle of evolution, the collective of Souls Journey musicians and singers has continued to offer Kiirtan, while a core group has begun to add performance-based songs (both originals and covers) to the repetoire in order to magnify the sphere of musical ministry to the world at large and to broaden the choice of venues. These performances may consist of two members or more.
In the spirit of Oneness, this process entails the blending of two or more sacred songs or chants from different world faith traditions to create an eclectic spiritual music experience. One of our personal favorites in this mode is Do Lord/ Hare Krishna. We invite you to try this out for yourselves and enjoy the expansiveness this can lead your soul to.
*”Spirit-sizing” is an inspired process practiced by Souls Journey. Any run-of-the-mill secular song may be “spirit-sized” for uplifting value, and enjoyable spiritual texture. For example, a creative spark in this newly discovered tradition transformed “Home Home on the Range” into “Om, Om on my Mind.”
New American Gospel
This newly found tradition is inspired by classic, old timey gospel tunes such as Will the Circle Be Unbroken and I’ll Fly Away. Any standard gospel can be revised to open the original words into a universal expression of Spirit. In this tradition, I’ll Fly Away becomes I’m Here Today which affirms the power of being here now in the Divine moment. You can hear our New American Gospel version of Will the Circle Be Unbroken in the recording posted on our home page.
This is a phrase we’ve learned from one of our most respected musical mentors, Doug Von Koss, who created the Noah Project. Doug’s inimitable style of guiding people to sing together with full heart and adventurous harmony is informed by this philosophy. After sharing a powerful singing experience with the group, Doug often asks, “Well, did anyone get hurt?” For more information about the Noah Project and to hear the Noah Project in action, click on the following link: http://www.dougvonkoss.com/
Most modern kiirtan devotees in the West repeat a Hindu chant or phrase which invokes joy, peace and healing. While the bhajan portion of kiirtan, as practiced by Souls Journey, is connected to this ancient tradition in both devotion and purpose, it is achieved through a different musical approach. Instead of the traditional call and response, everyone sings together in unison, using provided songbooks. The most unique virtue of the Souls Journey kiirtan experience is that we actively embrace spiritual diversity. We combine spiritual songs and chants from multiple traditions and languages of both the East and the West, including Hindu chants, Gospel, “Spirit-Sized” secular pieces, earth-based spiritual songs, Dances of Universal Peace, the grand oral tradition, and Spirit Play (celebrating the inner child). It is a veritable joy-fest devoted to uplifting the spirit for everyone.
One of the co-founders of our group, Marshal, has practiced kiirtan for many years the way he learned it, as a member of Ananda Marga Yoga Society. In that tradition, the actual kiirtan is a way of aligning everyone through the power of sangachadwam (Sanskrit word meaning “let us move together”) by using a specific chant and a dance-like movement – as we open to our own higher nature and sync with the group in preparation for group meditation. “Baba Nam Kevalam” is a spiritual chant, or kiirtan – which means “Everything is a manifestation of one supreme consciousness”, or, more simply, “Love is all there is.” This Sanskrit phrase brings joy, peace and healing. The movement that goes with it stimulates the pineal gland which helps prepare for a deeper meditative experience in the following group meditation, as it synchronizes the group’s intention. We end the meditation with a final chant. If you want to learn about the kiirtan dance from the Ananda Marga tradition, you may want to check out this video.
A Bhajan is a form of devotional chanting or singing whose roots go back over 500 years to India. It has no fixed form: it may be as simple as a mantra or kiirtan or as sophisticated as the dhrupad or kriti with music based on classical ragas and talas. It is normally lyrical, expressing love for the Divine. It is a way to open one’s heart to the Divine. The singing is traditionally accompanied by musical instruments and drumming, and the audience is encouraged to participate through an age-old call and response style, repeating directed chants. This may also include clapping and dancing.
Dances of Universal Peace
One of the main roots of inspiration for Souls Journey are the Dances of Universal Peace. Before Dena and Marshal even met, they had experienced the spiritual power of the dances. Marshal experienced it back in the early ’70s while living in Denver, CO when it was still called Sufi dancing. Dena came across the Dances of Universal Peace while in Kauai in the early ’90s.
The Dances of Universal Peace are a combination of sacred song and movement that celebrate Spirit as expressed in many world spiritual traditions. To see and hear examples of the dances, you may wish to watch the following video. For more information about the dances, please click on the following link: http://www.dancesofuniversalpeacena.org