“Modern economics explained in 4 ½ minutes,” says Dada Veda describing the title track of his new CD, “Trickle on Down.”
Dada is a 70 year old meditation monk as well as a singer-songwriter with five CD releases in the last 13 years. Dada’s music blends themes of spirituality and social justice with folk and world music. The track “Trickle on Down” is a reggae arrangement presenting a satiric look at the present world economic situation, and cautioning that the downward flow of wealth to the poor is a “fairy tale you’ll never, ever see.”
Other tracks on the CD have themes more in keeping with Dada’s work as a meditation and yoga teacher. “The Secret of it All” says that the secret of happiness is learning how to be content, and the song’s jazzy vibraphone solo and crisp backing vocals augment the message. In “Shower of Grace” Dada tells the story of someone searching for love and finding it by throwing away his “ego umbrella.”
The tracks were recorded and produced by Kali Wale Amen, the bass player and sound engineer of the reggae band Amandla. Kali added bass, guitar and percussion, and teamed up with his vocalist wife Nephertiti to produce an album with reggae, funk, jazz and Afro-pop influences.
“My previous studio CD was produced by a rockabilly musician and we aimed for a folk-bluegrass sound, so “Trickle on Down” may be unexpected by some of my fans,” says Dada. But the unexpected is what Dada usually offers. On his 2009 release “Love is the Best” he sang a spiritual song arranged in a 1950s doo-wop sound, and that same album closes with an electronic house track, with Dada chanting a sacred mantra.
Dada is an orange clad monk in the Ananda Marga (Path of Bliss) tradition. In 1968 he hitchhiked from New York to California looking for the peace and love that the hippie movement promised. There he would eventually meet an Indian monk who taught him meditation. By 1977 Dada was himself a monk and began a lifelong career teaching meditation and yoga in Europe, the Far East, the Middle East and finally back in his home country, the US.
“I first picked up a guitar in 1966 but didn’t write any songs until 2001,” Dada said. “Now I have a lot of ideas for songs, because I am trying to put spiritual and social truths into musical form. It is easier to grasp ideas in a song than in lectures and books,” Dada adds. But Dada is also a prolific writer and public speaker as well as a musician. He recently wrote a spiritual memoir From Brooklyn to Benares and Back, as well as The Wisdom of Tantra, an introduction to yoga philosophy.
Dada’s website www.dadaveda.com contains his music, articles, podcasts and books. His Facebook page is www.facebook.com/dadavedamusic, and his Soundcloud page is www.soundcloud.com/dada-veda . Purchases can also be made via CDBABY.