Wynne Paris is a world beat artist/producer and musician who has spent the last decade devoted to an emerging genre of spiritual music: Yoga music and Kirtan. Wynne’s artistic sound is derived from 20 years of musical adventures and spiritual experiences.
Wynne spent most of his twenties playing rock guitar and singing the blues at nightclubs around Washington DC. In 1994, at the age of 30, Wynne took up yoga, dated a bellydancing astrologer, and had a series of spiritual and mystical experiences that transformed not only his musical style, but his vision of the world. One evening in 1996, Wynne was invited to jam with the Indian Saint Ammachi. The Darshan or blessings he received from Amma the "hugging saint" inspired a vision quest to California and ultimately a move to Marin county to study Indian music, shamanism and yoga.
It was Yoga that gave Wynne a new voice , a new instrument, and a new venue in which to use them. The new voice: Kirtan chanting, ( the call-and-response singing of Bhakti yoga) ; the new instrument: Sarod (a 26 stringed, sitar-like instrument from India); the new venue: yoga centers.
The practice of yoga also introduced Wynne to the celebrated chanter, Krishna Das. Now a long-time collaborator with yoga’s most famous musician, Wynne has performed with Krishna Das at such venues as the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York; the Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York – the largest yoga center in the U.S.; and Yogaville, the Satchidanda Ashram in Virginia. Wynne played guitar, sarod, and saz (a stringed instrument in the lute family) on the groundbreaking Krishna Das CD, “Pilgrim Heart,” one of the genre’s defining albums, which also featured Sting. Wynne also played sarod on the Krishna Das CD “All One,” and composed the music for the Krishna Das single, Prayer to Rudra on the CD “Planet Yoga."
As a yoga musician, Wynne has performed his music on such diverse stages as those at Constitution Hall, the Smithsonian music series at the National Zoo and the Millenium celebration in Washington DC; CB’s Gallery (CBGB’s) in New York, the Health and Harmony Festival in northern California, and Karmapalooza in Florida; as well as at museums, holistic resorts, bookstores, raves, churchs, temples, and private gatherings. Wynne has also performed with the Indian Saint Ammachi, and sang at a Washingtonian event that featured H.H. The Dalai Lama. He has recorded with many of the best-known New Age musicians, including, Shahin and Sephir, Sophia, Bhagavan Das, Girish, and Kim Waters of Rasa. And in 1996, one of the songs he cowrote with Maura Moynihan, “Prayer for the Pure Land”, won first place (out of 1900 entries) in the SAW National Songwriting Contest.
Since 2004, Wynne has focused his live performances on a new, spiritual kind of venue -- the yoga studio. At his live shows he sings in English and Sanskrit, he plays guitar, Sarod and percussion with dance loops, and delivers a set that includes kirtan chanting, American music (jazz, gospel, rock), world beat rhythms and raga scales. A participation mystique is encouraged as Wynne leads the audience through singing, dancing and meditations during his performance. He has played hundreds of gigs across the country, alone or accompanying other chanters, including Krishna Das, Wah , David Newman, Dave Stringer, and Bhagavan Das.
Aside from his busy touring schedule, Wynne devotes time to recording his own music as well as that of other musicians. “Ghandarva Café,” Wynne’s 1st CD was written in homage to Indian mystics and saints. It featured spiritual Indian melodies, and several tracks were used on compilations that are popular in the Yoga market. “Jai Ma: White Swan Yoga masters” and “Yoga Salon” by Sequoia records.
“Emptiness and Ecstasy”, Wynne’s second CD, was written as the soundtrack to his explorations and many adventures in the worlds of yoga, tantra, shamanism, and goddess culture. Written from 1997-2000, and released in 2004, the CD earned him articles in the Washington Post and Times of India, a write-up in yoga magazines in Boulder, Colorado, Chicago and local papers in Taos, New Mexico, and Virginia Beach, along with radio play on KPFA in Berkeley, California, and a live radio performance on KTAO in Taos.
As a producer, Wynne has been able to bring an amazing group of musicians to his latest recording. His new project, Groovananda, has one foot on the yoga mat and one hand on a Stratocaster. Musicians involved in Groovananda include Rick Allen (drums - Def Leppard), John ‘JT’ Thomas (organ - Bruce Hornsby), Mark Karan (guitar – Ratdog), Badal Roy (tabla – Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman), Gary Grainger (bass - John Scofield), Doug Derryberry (mandolin - Bruce Hornsby), Perry Robinson (clarinet), and singers Krishna Das, Mary Ann Redmond, Amikaeyla Gaston, John Wubbenhorst (bansuri), and Hans Christian and Kim Waters (Rasa).
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