The Story of How DASI was Made
Doing this album was like testing all the strength I had inside, while at the same time I was getting to play with all the joyful elements of music and musicians. This album was done as a project for my graduation from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
In 2002 I went to India and literally took only my strong determination and desire only. I had never been in a recording studio, never knew what a producer really did, nor did I know how to lay down tracks. It was total space to me. I ended up going to New Delhi and literally asking people in the market of Cannaught Place, if they knew of a studio.
I found a studio that wanted 20,000 rupees $500 to do 2 songs, and they handed me a producer. Little did I know that a producer to them meant someone who lets you sing, and then arranges all the music around your voice without you present. I ended up with two songs that sounded like something out of a bad Bombay film, but didn’t know how to tell him that.
So, I finally got the courage, and he told me to go down to Bombay to meet a friend Anuraag, who was talented in both Western and Eastern musical styles.
We got some work done, but I soon found that music to this man meant mass production of filmy music. Anuraag and myself worked very well together and we composed late into the nights to make the beautiful songs of Devaki and the Prayers of Queen Kunti. After only 2 days worth of good work, the producer told me we had no more time, and I had to hand over the agreed amount of money. I paid him more Rs 140,000 (aprox $3,000.00) and then was told that my music would not be ready until after I returned to America.
Luckily for me, a dear friend of mine, Padmanabh Goswami in Brindaban, used some influences he had, and the night before I left the country I had my music, as unfinished and undone as it was.
I still had one semester left at University, and so I packed up the music in my safe, and didn’t look at it for another 7-8 months.
Then I ran into a musician friend of mine Micheal, who was aware that I had recorded something and wanted to hear it. Wow, now that’s hard to play something for someone when its not done, and on top of that, you don’t like it. Micheal Cassidy wanted me to work on it, as he heard something that could be really good. He had me call his friend Uttamasloka in California and arrange for him to listen and see if he was interested. Uttama called me and said, come here next summer, live with us, pay us a minimal fee, and lets make this an incredible album. I owe everything that came from this album to his generous and loving mood of community working attitude.
Working with Uttamasloka (Ron Marinelli) in his studio (Blue Monsoon Studio) in Southern California was one of the best summers of my life and a blessing for sure. He and his wife Anika must have been sent by the heavens; they provided me with a home, a studio, all night recordings, a great kitchen where I could cook for all of us, early mornings of satsang and devotional reading, while all around our home, there were organic fig, orange, lemon and tangerine trees. The energy of that home made this album truly special.