Chanting in the Round 2006
MantraVani Orchestra is a World/Sacred Music ensemble incorporating many musicians, singers, dancers and poets into a multi-discipline arts and multicultural musical experience. Established about 1994 with Jerry DesVoignes and Elio Rota to bring an innovative, co-creative performance of traditional & contemporary styles of world and sacred music. One of their more popular events is Chanting In The Round, a truly innovative and intimate setting where the musicians are seated in circle in the center of the room whilst the audience gathers around them singing in full participation thereby becoming a magnificent choir. Most of what the Orchestra performs is interactive with an invitation for the audience to participate. Not only are they being treated to quality music, but often are also actively contributing and co-creating with their voices and energy. This creates an amazing atmosphere that brings everyone together in a very real spirit of music and celebration.
Elio, Jerry, and Steve at ChantFest 2007
For over 12 years MantraVani produced over 60 In The Rounds and many other events and has been a source of income for many local artists. Performaces average at around 300 people with even greater numbers at larger venues. MantraVani Orchestra’s core of five musicians are founder and composer Jerry DesVoignes on lead vocals, guitar & percussion, Elio Rota on keyboards, stringed instruments, accordion, vocals & compositions, Stefan Cihelka on Tabla & percussion, David MacVittie on guitar, bazooki, sarod & vocals and Sandra Dawn on vocals. Contributing Vancouver artists include: Budge Shakti, Itamar Erez, Neil Weisensel, Joseph “Pepe” Danza, Paul Armatage, Nick Apivor, Steve Lazin, Tim Fanning, and a host of others. The musical backgrounds MantraVani members are very diverse with Rock, Jazz, Folk, Middle Eastern, Gospel, Progressive Rock, Latin, Celtic, African, Pop Rock, Country and of course Eastern influences from the Indian traditions. MantraVani combines many of these influences with many original compositions, creating a contemporary expression of the ancient and traditional music styles. Four part harmonies will appear from time to time as they take you on a journey from sweet surrender and heart opening songs to the Divine Mother to powerful and mighty rhythms that make you want to dance, and many do!
Elio, Steve, and Jerry at Bhakti Night
Jerry DesVoignes has a diverse and extensive musical background in contemporary music and has been singing and leading Kirtan for over 25 years. His four octave range allows him to move about effortlessly with his voice, bringing into the evenings beautiful sound-scape his incredible vocal skills of creating the deep tones of the Tibetan Monks also called (Kargyraa), from the Tuvan Throat Singing. The musicians will often improvise during these Kirtans and sing counter-melodies atop the main Chant. Being in The Round, sitting right with the musicians, the participants are truly an active part of the music which brings about a profound experience to everyone that lasts for weeks.
Deva, Jerry, Elio, Sandra, and Stefan at Christmas in the Round 2005
MantraVani holds a monthly event called “Bhakti Night”, a smaller more intimate setting focusing a bit more on Kirtan traditional music and singing from India. This is often held at Yoga West studios on West 4th Avenue. Bhakti is a Sanskrit word meaning devotion, often referring to the singing of Sacred Music.
Performances and Venues
The Mantravani Orchestra performs a
monthly Bhakti Night
at Yoga West of Vancouver at 2662 West 4th Avenue (at Trafalgar).
The next Bhakti Night will be October 27th, 2007.