By Madhava Smullen
Two of the Hare Krishna Movement’s most well-known singers, Jayadev Das and his daughter Gaurangi Devi Dasi, are featured on a new charity record for the California Camp Fire, entitled “Tears Aren’t Enough.”
The Camp Fire, which ran from November 8thto 25th, was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history to date. It caused 86 civilian fatalities, covered an area of 153,336 acres, and destroyed 18,804 structures, causing an estaimated $7.5–10 billion in damages.
When she saw the devastation, Barbara Sobel, a New York music promoter and CEO of Sobel Promotions felt she couldn’t sit by and do nothing. So she contacted an eclectic group of artists, including Jayadev and Gaurangi, asking for an unreleased song for a compilation charity album.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from “Tears Aren’t Enough” go to the Humane Society of Ventura County, which has been helping rescue and evacuate animals from the wildfire.
Gaurangi’s song, the second on the album, features Boy George, lead singer of the 1980s pop hitmakers Culture Club. Entitled “Human Beings,” it’s an epic, heartfelt ballad, taken from Jayadev’s 1990s musical Nimai: The Spirit of Vrindavan.
Listen to ‘Human Beings’ here: https://iskconnews.org/video/boy-georgegaurangi-human-beings,1726/
“The musical played at the Haymarket theater in Leicester back then,” Jayadev explains. “It was about the environmental distruction and commercialization of Vrindavan. The song is sung from the perspective of higher beings who are observing the the decimated and flooded earth brought about by human’s misuse. Considering what’s happening today, it’s a prophetic track.”
Jayadev’s contribution to the charity album, meanwhile, is entitled “Raghupati Raghav” and is a bouncy sing-along of the mantra “Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, Patita Pavana Sita Ram.”
“I wanted the album to have the Lord’s names on it,” he says.
“Tears Aren’t Enough” has reached number ten on the Music Worx chart, which is collated from both dance floor and radio DJs sending in their weekly most played and requested cuts. The album also includes tracks by StoneBridge, a DJ who has remixed Ariana Grande, Enrique Iglesias, and Britney Spears; Prince’s former DJ Larry Peace; and East 17, a boy band who sold 18 million albums.
Sobel Promotions, the label that put out the charity record, likes Jayadev’s work so much that they will next release his single “Ganesh” in mid January 2019, followed by a dance music album around March.
Jayadev explains that the single places Ganesh in his hierarchical position according to Vedic scriptures with a mid-song rap: “Ganesh can dance, Ganesh can drum / He’s mighty strong, ‘cos he’s Shiva’s son / With his tusk, he removes the tree / that blocks the way to eternity / He might seem strange, he might seem odd / But he clears the way so you can see God.”
The ensuing album will feature Jayadev along with singers like Gaurangi, Bharatanatyam dancer Rasalila Dasi, and Jayadev’s granddaughter Syama Gauri.
In response to the current superhero craze, it will be called “The Actual Superheros” and will feature tracks about Srila Prabhupada, Jesus Christ, Narasimhadeva, Sita Rama, Lord Shiva, and Radhe Shyam.
“I asked the label CEO Barbara Sobel if she would accept me on the condition that I not water down my message or who I am,” Jayadev says. “And she agreed.”
Despite a recent heart-attack, Jayadev still toured Europe this year with his band The Rubettes, who sold twenty million records in the 1970s. He also put together a Mantra Choir with an audience at the Mantra Lounge in London’s Covent Garden.
With his Mantra Choir project, Jayadev devises pop tunes with different names of the Lord, then conducts the audience to sing the different harmonies.
“I’ve done about 160 choirs now around the world in 25 different countries,” he says. “I stopped when I had the heart attack, but now that I’m getting stronger I plan to start again.”
Through his Mantra Choir and his albums, Jayadev hopes to familiarize the public with the Holy Names of Krishna and lay the ground for future devotee musical artists.
“I’ve got my Guru Maharaja’s blessings, and I’m going for it as best I can,” he says. “I’m in my golden years, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself!”