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Shantala performs at Bainbridge church | Kitsap Week

Kirtan duo Shantala will be joined by musician Sean Frenette and Grammy- winning flautist Steve Gorn on March 2, 7 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island.  - Contributed photo
Kirtan duo Shantala will be joined by musician Sean Frenette and Grammy- winning flautist Steve Gorn on March 2, 7 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The Indian music of kirtan has steadily grown in popularity among Western communities in recent years. One such community on Bainbridge Island is offering an example of why the music is so heartfelt by audiences.

Kirtan duo Shantala will be joined by musician Sean Frenette and Grammy- winning flautist Steve Gorn on March 2, 7 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. Tickets are $15 in advance and can be purchased at Grace Episcopal Church, Winslow Drug, Bainbridge Yoga House, and online at www.shantalamusic.com. Admission is $20 at the door.

Shantala is Benjy and Heather Wertheimer. The two perform the Indian music with Heather’s background as a singer/songwriter and Benjy’s skills as a vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist.

The kirtan event at Grace Episcopal Church is a unique combination of music and audience participation.

“Kirtan grew out of the Bhakti (yoga of devotion) movement in India, where it continues to flourish,” said Paul King of Grace Church. “In the United States, the enormous popularity of hatha yoga has whetted the American appetite for new, participatory forms of spiritual expression.”

Kirtan combines traditional Indian music with call-and-response devotional singing.

People of all religious backgrounds are welcome to join the March 2 event.

“Here on Bainbridge Island, Island Kirtan performs at least twice a month [and are] events much loved by their audiences,” King said. “Benjy and Heather Wertheimer are just amazing musicians, and Steve Gorn, a Grammy winner, is widely considered one of the most accomplished bamboo flute players in the world.”

Sean Frenette is a graduate of the New England Conservatory and has performed three times in Carnegie Hall.

Gorn performs with a bansuri, a type of Indian flute. He is featured on the 2011 Grammy winning recording “Miho — Journey to the Mountain.” His music was also featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary “Born Into Brothels.”

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