by Mamaniji Azanyah
Fuse the power of love, silence and the divine, and the result is the music of Deva Premal and Miten. For more than 20 years, the couple’s impassioned renditions of the sacred mantras of India have inspired an eclectic worldwide following.
The pair’s shared journey, converging music and love, began two decades ago in an ashram dedicated to the Indian mystic and guru Osho, then known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Miten was searching for a different way of life with richer meaning after departing the British rock ’n’ roll scene, while the German-born Premal was reconnecting with the great Eastern musical and spiritual disciplines in which she was raised.
Premal made a conscious decision early on to pursue two goals in life: “Enjoy every moment and do something meaningful.” In the music she found both, and more. One day, she simply sat down and began harmonizing with Miten while he played the ashram’s meditation music, effortlessly invoking the ancient mantras that had been her childhood lullabies.
Miten discovered that Premal’s powerful voice completed his music, and her powerful presence completed him. The same was true for Premal, who sang in part because, “I wanted to find a way to be with him all the time.”
Since their first star-crossed encounter in 1990, the duo has recorded some of the top-selling mantra albums in the world; most recently, A Deeper Light. Their personal histories and life together are depicted through words and sound in More Than Music: The Deva Premal & Miten Story, a book and compilation CD.
Premal and Miten have sung for the Dalai Lama and to mark the life passing of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, author of the groundbreaking On Death and Dying. Their celebrity fans include Eckhart Tolle, Anthony Robbins and Cher, who performed their version of the Gayatri Mantra during her farewell tour.
Miten sees their music’s growing popularity as a sign of people’s hunger for spiritual renewal and purpose. “You don’t need to know what the mantras mean for them to have their effect—it works like medicine in that way,” he says.
Audiences at their performances are encouraged to withhold applause and naturally take in the expansive silence that fills the room after a mantra has been played. “It’s the reason we play, to feel that ‘alive’ silence, which is as tangible as the music,” says Miten. “That’s when it’s the most healing.”
“Once you tune into that silence, you can hear it anywhere, even in a noisy place,” advises Premal. “It’s always underneath everything; the awareness of it becomes part of your life.”
Deva Premal & Miten’s MantraFest tour across North America this fall features the legendary GuruGanesha Band and Nepalese musician Manose. Local event: Vibration of Life, September 28 and 29, South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center. For tickets, other locations and dates, visit BrightStarEvents.net. See ad, page 7.