By Aisling Cronin
Attention, all fans of devotional chanting – or all those who want to try their hand at this amazing
art, while raising money for two great charities and having a lot of fun along the way. The Bhakti
Festival Dublin will be taking place on Saturday October 21st 2017, from 12 to 8 p.m., in the
Irishtown Gospel Hall, Ringsend, Dublin 4. It promises to be a joyful celebration of devotional
singing and sacred music that will leave attendees with a spring in their step and a renewed
appreciation of their own creative potential. The festival organisers include renowned devotional
singing teachers Yasia, Felicity Ananada and Jack Harrison, as well as the Chanting and Chai collaborative group, who will all be present on the day.
We caught up with Yasia to find out more.
Is this your first time holding the Bhakti Festival?
Yes, this is the first time we’re doing the festival. It is an experimental thing for us this year,
among a few of us who already know each other well – to see how it goes – and we are hoping
to expand on it in future. Chanting is non-denominational, and it’s such a brilliant way for people
to experience upliftment and connect to their hearts without having to be religious. There are
lots of different groups doing this work in Dublin – who come from lots of different cultures as
well – and we’re planning to include a much larger variety of these groups in future years. The
whole day is a full fundraiser for the two charities who have chosen to support.
Can you tell us a bit about Kolkata Sanved and Epilepsy Ireland, the charities you will be
Over 40,000 people in Ireland have epilepsy, and this figure does not include children under the
age of five. Epilepsy Ireland provides courses, programmes and educational support for these
people and their families. Kolkata Sanved supports the survivors of sex trafficking in India
through dance and music therapy. There is stunning footage about them on YouTube, and their
work is truly incredible: how they help survivors to reintegrate into their families and
communities, and heal from their trauma.
What can festival attendees expect?
Well, the day is based on a traditional form of continuous chanting in India called sapta, which is when they have chants that last for days and days. Obviously we’re not going to be singing for days
and days – we’re going from twelve to eight in the evening! The way this will work is, each of us
will lead an hour and a half or so of chanting, then there will be a bit of meditation in between,
and then once we have finished our slot, we’ll move out of the way and the next group can
come in. People can come and go throughout the day. There will be a little stall there where
snacks and tea will be available. There’s also a brasserie across the road where people can go
if they get hungry after all the singing and want a meal! We will end the day with a meditation.
The Bhakti Festival Dublin will take place on Saturday October 21st 2017, from 12 to 8 p.m., in
the Irishtown Gospel Hall, Ringsend, Dublin 4. To access the festival’s Facebook page, click
here. Tickets are available now through this Eventbrite link. You can also email the organisers
To learn more about Yasia’s work, visit yasia.org.