David Newman’s ukulele brings ‘sweet and endearing’ touch to kirtan chants

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 Artist David Newman poses with his Ukulele. His album is called 'Acoustic Chant: Ukulele Kirtan Serenades' (Image courtesy of Newman)

Artist David Newman poses with his Ukulele. His album is called 'Acoustic Chant: Ukulele Kirtan Serenades' (Image courtesy of Newman)

Singer and songwriter David Newman brings his brand of kirtan music to the Tin Angel in Philadelphia tonight. On his new album, Acoustic Chant: Ukulele Kirtan Serenades, he integrates an instrument often associated with Hawaii.

“Kirtan originally comes from India,” Newman said, “and it utilizes many of the traditional instruments which are used in classical Indian music.”

Newman, the founder of Yoga on Main in Manayunk, said that kirtan is a means to express a feelings of devotion or what he calls “gratitude of life.” Newman says that his use of the ukulele came from his teaching sessions. “Along with my teaching sessions, I wanted to do some chanting,” Newman said. “So I decided to utilize my ukulele to support me in those meetings.”

“It was just so sweet and endearing and I just started to really enjoy accompanying myself with the uke,” he added. “So then rather than playing my guitar, I’d be sitting around the house playing my ukulele and chanting.”  To hear David Newman’s full conversation with WHYY’s Jennifer Lynn, click the audio above.

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