I had a chance to sit down with my friend Derek Beres this past weekend in Santa Monica to chat about the upcoming Tadasana Festival. Check out the interview to hear about why this could very well blow every other yoga festival out of the water. Derek also talks about his new website, where the world of yoga comes together with world musicians. Full audio interview HERE.
>What was the concept behind Tadasana?
Originally the idea sprung from myself and Fabian Alsultany, one of the producers. It’s just a way of bringing the yoga community and the international music communities together in a way that has not really happened before. We were never able to do it in New York, so when Fabian moved to Santa Monica he and Tommy Rosen, the other producer, got things started. As soon as I moved out this past fall, I came on as Creative Director. With it being over Earth Day weekend, there’s an eco-consciousness to it all, but from our prespective, it’s also about bringing these two worlds (yoga & world music artists) together, since they share a lot of simmilarities.
Usually with those festivals there is yoga in the morning/afternoon and the music is in the evening, but for the most part they are kept separate. We have programmed world music artists, many of whom have never played in yoga classes before, directly into the classes. So you have Vieux Farka Touré and Idan Raichel playing with Shiva Rea, Hassan Hakmoun and Karsh Kale playing with Elena Brower. That’s never been done before. We have consciously programmed music to 60 out of 75 scheduled classes. There are DJs, live musicians, and although some of them are accustomed to playing in yoga classes, most have never done this before. These pairings are an experiment in process.
>So most of the classes have live music and then there’s separate concerts at night?
Yes, we have a series called Tadasana After Dark. Thursday night kicks off with DJ Drez & EarthRise Soundsystem playing at the Afrofrunké party. Friday and Saturday we have Jai Uttal and MC Yogi, while Karsh Kale is the band leader for 10 different singers, including Suzanne Sterling, Chris Pierce, Tom Freund and Vishal Vaid. Cheb i Sabbah will be spinning. We also paired Hassan Hakmoun and Wah!, so we we have themed evenings.
>Why hasn’t this been done before?
First of all,producing a 3-day festival is a year of work going in a flash. It’s an intense process and it’s a lot of work. Right now it’s a 7-day a week job. We have a staff of at least 10 full-time, and we have partners, volunteers and a marketing company. It’s probably closer to 60 people working on on this festival.
>What would you say to encourage people to come?
These are really one of a kind pairings that may never happen again. As in New York city, yoga communities are very tribal, and this is an opportunity to move out of your studio, explore new teachers and expose yourself to music that you might have heard in class but to hear it live is something else. Every class is like a concert itself, and in the end it’s all about community and bringing people together.
>Who are some of the biggest names you guys have in terms of music and yoga?
Vieux Farka Touré and Idan Raichel, a Malian guitarist and Israel’s biggest musician, pianist and vocalist. They just recorded an album together and happen to be in town. Karsh Kale is blowing up. He’s one of India’s biggest artists and was just on the cover of Rolling Stone there. Cheb i Sabbah, of course – everyone knows his music in the yoga community and Hassan Hakmoun is one of Morocco’s biggest artists. Yoga wise there is Bryan Kest, Elena Brower, Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rea. The quality is incredible but in yoga there isn’t a top or a best; there’s just a lot of really great representatons of different styles.
>What else should we know about the festival?
We also have a lecture series. Every day there’s half hour or hour-long talks with some pretty big names, such as Mariel Hemingway and Chris Paine. We have 90 vendors set up on the north side, there are five yoga tents, acro yogis, massages, and once you’re on the grounds with your ticket it’s not just about doing yoga. It’s a quarter-mile south of the pier in a one hundred thousand square foot parking lot. Our full 20-page program is in the current LA Yoga Magazine.
>What are you promoting right now?
Yogasoundtrack.com, my new website. It’s a place for music reviews, interviews, podcasts, and mixes. It’s where all the stuff that I do for music is now focused. My friend Philip Steir and I are doing a new workshop called “This is Your Yoga on Music.” which combines yoga, music and neuroscience. It’s a class but also a workshop where we not only play the music and do the asanas, but afterwards we explain what happens in your brain during the class…
Hear the rest of the interview HERE and don’t miss this amazing festival!