Tara Kimes is a kirtan-inspired artist and band leader. With her Kentucky-based band, she plays sacred chant and meditation music featuring guitar, vocals, hand percussion and eclectic instruments ranging from cajons, tibetan bowls, bamboo flutes, water chimes, mrdanga, and djembe.
The songs she performed live and recorded on her latest album draw on over a decade of experience as a kirtan drummer and fronting bands, and were inspired by a pilgrimage to Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram in India, as well as multiple kirtan retreats.
Her influences include David Newman & Mira, Shantala, Shivaratri Cafe, Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Shiuli Subaya, Prema Hara, and Sean Johnson and the Lotus Band.
Nourishment, Tara’s latest album is a collaboration among many talented women- Anne Gauthier, one of the few female audio engineers in the country, and K. Michelle Lewis, an amazing female percussionist who started ‘The Power of Percussion’ podcast.*
In 2019 Tara performed with her band at Asheville Yoga Festival and Mypath Festival, led chanting with the University of Louisville Women’s Basketball team and Louisville’s downtown scene via a courtyard series at the Frazier History Museum, and led regular mantra yoga workshops at Yogaia Yoga School, Lotus Counseling & Wellness, and The Inner Warrior. At the end of 2019 she crowdfunded and self-produced her debut album, and released a companion book of song lyrics, poetry, and mantra research.
Tara has participated in kirtan immersions with David Newman and Jai Uttal, studied mantras from the Classical Tantra tradition with Hareesh Wallis, obtained Subtle Yoga teacher certification with Kristine Kaoverii Weber, and studied drumming with Layne Redmond.
What is Bhakti and kirtan?
Bhakti means ‘devotion,’ or ‘to belong to,’ or ‘attach to.’ To be a bhakta is to let yourself belong to or be attached to God/ Source/ the Divine/ Love Force and give yourself permission to fully go where that guidance takes you. This is a beautiful & freeing path of yoga that was introduced by the poets & saints of India and allows us to be fully in our heart. All it requires is that we gently move out of the head/ thinking place and begin to contemplate the heart’s intelligence through engaging with sacred community (sangha), divine poetry and stories, and offering up our ego to a bigger love.
Kirtan is a way of expressing this connection by repeating names of deities to music, often leading to a state of surrender to Love/ the nature of reality/ the Self. During kirtan separation and fear melts, we recognize our essence nature more easily in each others’ eyes, we rest in the heart space.