Sat Nam Fest caught up with Ajeet Kaur to talk about her newer album, her busy travel schedule and how she always maintains a beautiful presence of fun and joy!
What has it been like to travel around the world and see larger and larger audiences connecting with your music?
Ajeet Kaur: It’s honestly been an incredible journey. Over the past six years my music has changed and evolved a lot as I explore what I find most inspiring and keep looking for a deeper experience through musical connection. There have been many moments when I’ve chosen to do things differently than before, always as a way of really staying true to myself as an artist. At times I wondered if my listeners would stay with me as I twist, turn and explore this immensely powerful language of music. To see the audiences grow each year and to experience so many people connecting with one aspect or another of my musical journey is the most profound thing. Songs that feel so personal in the moment feel much more collective later as I share them and watch them spread out. There’s truly nothing more rewarding than the moment when we sit down on stage and see everyone there, ready and waiting to go through this whole musical experience together. It’s incredibly powerful and I feel very honored and lucky to have such a present audience with me for the ride.
As your musical offerings have developed, you’ve started incorporating more content from traditions other than Kundalini Yoga. On your most recent album, you made a huge departure, sharing Irish music. Can you tell us about that journey?
Ajeet Kaur: I feel like every person is incredibly multi-faceted, with different influences and experiences making up who we are. My connection to Irish music was one of those sides of myself I hadn’t brought to my recordings until this past album, but that has always been an integral part of my relationship to music. Often people would ask me if I had a background in Irish music because of a certain lilt on a word or a grace note here or there, or maybe because of my red hair. Whatever it was, I always left it subtly there, existing as my roots in music, but not plainly shared with my listeners. I can’t really explain what happened, but I reached a moment in my own life when I started to value the sense of richness and authenticity of sharing what lives in our bones, what we know like we know how to breathe. After years of getting so much from traveling the world and learning from teachers and traditions other than my own family lineage, the desire to share the beauty of where my family, and my love of music, come from was undeniable.
I grew up surrounded by these songs. The musicians I admire most play within this incredibly alive and moving musical tradition. Irish music has so many incredibly talented people in the genre, and getting back to this music has challenged me and helped me grow in such a beautiful way. It’s reminded me of what I know so well, and also what I want to learn and how I want to grow as an artist and person sharing my story through song. My cousins and uncles and parents taught me these songs as a learned to walk and picked up my first instruments, so something about making this album was also like introducing myself to those who listen to my music; to where I come from, what my heart sounds like, and the story I started with. Like everything in my musical journey, it was a very organic transition and I hope it means as much to those who hear it as it does to me.
On your social media, you ALWAYS look like you are having so much fun. What self-care practices do you incorporate to keep yourself happy and joyful with your busy schedule?
Ajeet Kaur: Oh wow.. I’m always trying something new! Listening, feeling it out, adapting.. It’s a big job staying healthy and feeling balanced while flying all over and constantly changing, well, everything. Right now my big self-care rituals involve a TON of sleep, essential oils (like, many many oils for every occasion), food that leaves me grounded and nourished, company that is nurturing and inspiring, getting out to have FUN here and there, and did I say sleep? I also love my morning routine of running, fresh juice and yoga. I don’t always sustain my morning routine on tour, but on days off when I get the full thing in it feels oh-so-good. Also a big practice for me lately is saying no to anything that doesn’t fully inspire me, and going far to make the things happen that I am inspired by. I think being inspired in a real way is the best way to stay truly energized in what you’re doing.
Can you tell us about a simple Kundalini Yoga practice that supports you on the road?
Ajeet Kaur: For me the breathing practices, or pranayamas, are perfect for travel. You can do them on the plane or as you wait for things. They are very adaptable to any setting but really give you the feeling of a full and impactful practice. Two of my favorites are Sitali pranayam for moments when I get heated (either physically or emotionally) and 8 part breath which is super balancing whenever. It’s 8 sniffs in through the nose, 8 counts hold, 8 counts exhale, 8 counts hold out. That’s probably my most used while traveling because it gives you a very grounded but peaceful feeling.
Can you give us a sneak peek at what you will be sharing at Sat Nam Fest?
Ajeet Kaur: Sat Nam Fest will be super special for me this year. We’ll definitely share some things from Indigo Sea, some past favorites, and a few new exciting things. Sat Nam Fest is always the place I end up sharing things for the first time because it feels like family no matter how big it gets. I love that about it.