Bhajan means devotional song. It is also known in various parts of India as Keertan, Sankeertan, Nagarkeertan, Nam, and Namavali. Bhajans are sung throughout India. The subject is praise of the lord with descriptions of the life of Rama, Krishna, or Shiva, beseeching him for grace. Some of the finest bhajans have been written by great mystics like Kabir, Nanak, Surdas, Namdev, Chaitanya, Dadu, Meera, and Tulsi Das. India has an enormous variety of bhajans. Indeed, most of the classical compositions have devotional themes as their literary content. Some of the most beautiful music of India lives in such songs of piety and wisdom. They are not only musically attractive but convey a simplicity of living. More importantly, the listener becomes an active participant in musical experience. Although emotional appeal of the lyrics is the predominant feature, strong musical renditions as in this album create a wholeness through unison of words with music. It is common to base the melodic themes on light Ragas like Piloo, Khamaj, and Bhairavi, but in the hands of an expert such as Panditji, any raga can do. The concept of music in Bhakti (devotion) reveals several levels of relation to the deity as an object of worship: 1. Music is an essential feature in expressing and strengthening devotion. 2. Music is Sacramental - a means of salvation, 3. as Nada Bramha, music is one with the Ultimate Being. 4. Finally, music sung truly and with devotion attains the presence of the lord as does the reciting of his name.
Ashwin Batish is an extraordinary sitarist and tabla player. He received training in the North Indian classical tradition from his father S.D. Batish and later created his own unique fusion of Indian classical sitar with pop, rock, jazz, calypso, funk... an example of a few hybrids he excells at. He is famous for such songs as the Bombay Boogie, Raga Rock, Raga Jazz, Casbah Shuffle and Sitar Mania.
Ashwin and his father are also very well know for being great educators. Their series of instructional videos (http://www.batish.com/catalog/vidttr.html) for the sitar, tabla, dilruba, dholak, vichitra veena, harmonium have become a very sought after commodity by the Indian music student. They give private and group Indian music lessons at their Santa Cruz, California USA facility and are often called upon by various music festivals and universities to perform and be guest lecturers for weekend workshops and seminars on Indian music and ethnopop, raga rock and raga jazz fusion.