Entertainment

Brief Discussion With Deva Premal & Miten ahead of The Shift Summit & Music Festival

Featured in top media including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post, endorsed by celebrities as varied as Cher, Tony Robbins, and the Dalai Lama, included in movie soundtracks such as Walkout, Mantra, and 8 Seconds, and honored by 1.5 million album sales, 1 million monthly Spotify listeners and 500,000 Facebook followers, Grammy-nominated Deva Premal & Miten are modern nomads on a mission to share with humanity the medicine of mantra.

Finally, a long wait ends today! We got lucky to have got your time for this interview. Thank you Deva & Miten for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.

YOU ARE KNOWN WORLDWIDE FOR INTRODUCING SANSKRIT MANTRAS INTO THE MAINSTREAM; WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOUR FONDNESS FOR SANSKRIT MANTRAS?
DEVA PREMALMy parents chanted the Gayatri Mantra to me already during the pregnancy. And as a child the Gayatri Mantra was my bedtime song! I didn’t see it as a ‘fondness for mantras’ – it was just what I did. It wasn’t until becoming a disciple of Osho at age 11 that I dropped chanting the mantras my parents had introduced me to, and began a journey into my own individuality. In my mid-twenties, I rediscovered the Gayatri Mantra and with it the whole magical world of Sanskrit mantra.

WHEN AND HOW YOU BEGAN YOUR JOURNEY AS A MUSICIAN?
MITEN – By the way, my name is spelled ‘Miten’ – it means friend of God in Sanskrit (nothing to do with cold hands!).

My father brought me a guitar on my 15th Christmas. He gave it me because he’d seen that he had lost his dream, that he’d been carrying since I was born, of making me in his own image. He wanted me to be a pro-soccer player – which was going pretty well until 1962 when the Beatles suddenly descended on a slumbering English population.

And was I ready??!! Boy was I ready!
I was raised with pub music…my mother singing at the piano in the lounge bar…that kind of thing. But my generation was blessed with the arrival of Elvis and Rock’n Roll in the 50’s – it was Elvis who brought the black music into our grey lives in England.

The Beatles and the stones…a few years after Elvis they picked up the vibe and flew with it, taking a whole generation with them, me included.
And out of that came an awareness of such concepts as vegetarianism, meditation etc…and the drugs…though these times as a generation we were called to mother India. To glorious mother India. And the rest, as they say, is history.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE SPIRITUALITY IN SIMPLE TERMS?
DEVA PREMAL – A life-path that is focused on increasing love, compassion and awareness.

HOW IS IT TO TRAVEL FAR AND WIDE FOR MUSIC? IS IT YOUR LOVE FOR MUSIC, OR DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE SOCIETY THROUGH YOUR MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU GIVE THE BEST PIECE OF ALL TIME?
MITEN – What else to do with my life?
The thought of staying in one place just never occurred to me, or (fortunately!) Deva. We haven’t lived in one place longer than 6 months, in our 30 years together.

Deva and I nomads – we’re good at coming and we’re good at leaving.
That’s the way we like it.


And the best part is having the choice to either feel homeless or to feel at home wherever we find ourselves.
Guess which one suits us?


Now, with the lockdown, we have been in Costa Rica since March, when we were here for our annual ‘tantra~mantra’ programme. Our whole year’s schedule has been wiped out and rolled over.

We were due to tour South America, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Russia, USA, Europe…all postponed!and the beautiful thing about that is that we were challenged to find other creative ways to connect with our global Gayatri sangha. So we went 77 days live online – and many many thousands joined us to chant and meditate together.

Our kindred spirits gathering together to support each other without knowing each other personally.
And this experience has been an incredible learning for me, that we could feel the pulse of community – all across the planet. Thousands meditating and chanting with deva – live.in real-time and sitting in silence, in our own rooms, our own temples…with the same intention.

So..never say never…but maybe we’ll look at slowing down our touring schedule, although to be honest it just feels like we’re standing still and the world keeps turning and we show up and chant with our friends, one city after another, and then we’re gone! Always at home.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING RIGHT NOW IF IT WASN’T FOR YOUR MUSIC CAREER?
DEVA PREMAL – I would probably be some kind of health practitioner. Before meeting Miten I was studying various bodywork techniques in the ashram: reflexology, Cranio-sacral therapy, shiatsu, holistic massage, and I loved that as well. Now it’s mainly Miten who is the beneficiary of me having done these trainings. 🙂 By the way, I don’t look on chanting mantras as a “career”.

WHY SONGS OF REDEMPTION AND TRANSFORMATION?
MITEN – Why not?

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY SO FAR?
DEVA PREMAL – I just don’t relate to words like ‘professional’ and ‘career’. For me, chanting mantras is my spiritual practice. I’m not an author selling books and ideas…, I’m not a teacher passing on knowledge…I’m just doing what I seem to be destined to do – and if money comes, that’s another thing, but honestly, Miten and I never started out looking to make a “career move” out of chanting together. We just wanted to share something of what we’d learned in the ashram and what gave us so much joy: entering into meditation through music and singing.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT ONE OF THE BEST EXPERIENCES OF YOUR LIFE?
MITEN – 1. Meeting Osho – He opened my eyes to the beauty of meditation and gave me a glimpse into myself.
2. He gave me a glimpse of my real self, and he gave me music. 
Until then, my definition of music as a rock musician was warped and distorted. 

The life of an aspiring rock musician is soul destroying! – Osho healed me – he taught me what real music is; healing music that appears out of a deep silence, leading the listener – and player – into an even deeper silence than the one they left at the start of the piece. And so it goes for two hours of moving deeper and deeper into our own authenticity, our own inner peace.

3. Meeting deva in the ashram and being able to mentor her as she moved from healing people with her hands, to doing it with her beautiful voice.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL YOUR FANS OUT THERE?
DEVA PREMAL – First, I don’t have ‘fans’.
That term doesn’t feel respectful to me.

People come to our spiritual gatherings with the intention to move deeper into their own individuality. We all come to be together to sing and meditate together.

Miten and I are simply the facilitators of these gatherings. We’re all there for the same reason – to play our part in making this chaotic world a little lighter, a little more joyful while we’re here. 

Our message?; ‘Keep singing!!’ – that’s the message.
When we sing we are unafraid.
The mantras can only be truly met with a brave heart.

WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO CONVEY TO THE PEOPLE WORLDWIDE?
MITEN – The Beatles said it – all you need is love.
And that’s the ultimate Zen Koan.
And that Koan can take lifetimes – or one breath – to figure out.

THE SHIFT SUMMIT & MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Shift Network has announced The Shift Summit & Music Festival, set to begin on September 18th and lead up to the International Day of Peace, September 21st, 2020. The 4-day event combines top-tier musicians and renowned thought leaders throughout society, focused on building a better future, including Deva Premal and Miten, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Jane Goodall, Rep. Tim Ryan, Bill McKibben, Michael Franti, Rising Appalachia, Nattali Rize, and many more.  The Shift Summit & Music Festival will be available globally across multiple stages via streaming platform PORTL.

The Shift Summit & Music Festival Official Website: TheShiftSummit.com

G Gulati

G Gulati is an Author, Celebrity Interviewer, Global Personal Branding & Brand Engagement Consultant known for his experience and ability to help individuals build head-turning brands that attract opportunities. Gulati has authored 5 books, and his idea of a fun day is writing, listening to audible books and decoding personal brands through interviews and polls.

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