I’ll never forget the first time I was in a yoga class and a rap song came on the playlist. It wasn’t your standard fare hip-hop or rap song full of tough street lyrics. Nope, this rap song was praising the freshness of Ganesh! Thank you, Deb Kistner, of Nirvana Yoga for turning me on to the sheer delight of flowing through a vinyasa accompanied by the awesome vocal-rap stylings of MC Yogi (aka Nicholas Giocomini).
Already a classic, MC Yogi’s first album Elephant Power has been hanging out at the top of the iTunes World Music charts since early 2010. I’m really excited to tell you that MC Yogi just released a new album called Pilgrimage (yeah, I’m old skool and still call them albums), and I’m going to proclaim right now that it is the new gold standard, must-have album for yoga music-lover aficionados.
I’m here to tell you that, quite simply, the 19 cuts on Pilgrimage ROCK! To quote Dj Drez, it will appeal to yogis who dig “bumping beats and desire uplifting music that isn’t too soft.”
The musical styles vary from song to song, moving from hip-hop, rap, and reggae to tribal-dance and dub. There is an incredible horn section as well as Indian sounds and influence due to the fact that Pilgrimage was recorded there. Watch this video to get a glimpse into MC’s trip to India that inspired the music and you’ll also get to hear a few of the songs.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_74_qL8ErE
“Yoga and meditation helps to draw you back into yourself, and music and art helps to express and share that which you discovered inside yourself.” – MC Yogi
It’s hard for me to pick my favorite cuts, but I know that my yoga class playlists are going to include some of the following:
“Breath Control” – MC Yogi raps over a funky drum beat and even funkier flute, providing the perfect verbal cues for students…
“Breath control, steady breath control, take a deep breath now let it all go.
Release the stress; just let it all out…
Receiving inspiration with every inhalation.”
“Sun Light” – I love a good power anthem, and “Sun Light” does not disappoint. With triumphant horn riffs and soaring vocals, this song is perfect for flowing through sun salutations.
“Born to Fly” – This reggae-infused piece reminds you to spread your wings and fly so high.
“Ganesha (Sound the Horn)” – With a Bollywood-style riff mashed up with kick-ass horn sections, this one is sure to get students shaking their hips to the groovy beat…and maybe even singing along. Rise Up!
“Give Love” – For the longest time, the only place you could find this song was through a free download at Yogafriends.com, so I was super pleased that MC included this bonus track on Pilgrimage. Another yoga class playlist megahit that will just make you happy!
If you want to get love, you got to give love away.
If you are looking for a little Hindu Mythology 101, check out MC Yogi’s smart and funny take on the classic story of Hanuman (I don’t know how he can remember all these words, but it is brilliant). You can download it for free right now courtesy of Black Swan records or right on the home page of MCYogi.com.
As if I wasn’t already a huge MC Yogi fan, I got the opportunity to attend a yoga class taught by him and his wife, Amanda Giacomini, when I attended Tadasana Festival. And no, they weren’t providing the music (the awesome tunes were spun by DJ Drez). Amanda and Nicholas are both experienced yoga teachers. Every good teacher knows that students learn from stories, so these two turned the two-hour class into an incredible storytelling opportunity, rich with the story of the battle between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu (told in a super cool, demystified way), and tales of MC Yogi’s experiences in India while recording this album.
If you ever get to take a yoga class with MC Yogi, it can’t be missed; his dharma talk is just as real and moving as his song lyrics.
I also got to catch them live and in person later that night at a Tadasana After Dark concert where they previewed a few of the cuts from Pilgrimage.
MC Yogi says that when he gives a live performance it’s all about giving love. When I took his yoga class and heard him live, I definitely felt the love and you will too when you listen to Pilgrimage.
Rise Up, Give Love, Sound the Horn, and do a little dance on your yoga mat!