Putumayo Presents… World Yoga (Putumayo World Music, 2012)
In the last years, the ancient practice of yoga and world music have had numerous intersections. From yoga festivals featuring world music to various compilations of music ideal for yoga practice. Even though most yoga compilations have featured new age meditational music, Putumayo World Music has put together a compilation featuring world music acts along with some artists that are closer to the new age realm.
Putumayo Presents… World Yoga includes some familiar names such as Geoffrey Oryema (Uganda), Sara Tavares (Portugal), Ara Dinkjian (Armenia/USA) and Balla Tounkara (Mali), and rising talent Sona Jobarteh (Gambia/UK).
“Yoga has become a global experience, and we wanted to expand the music beyond the traditional soundtrack,” explains long-time yoga instructor and musician Sean Johnson, who recommended tracks for the album and provided the chant “Ramachandra.” “We tried to reflect yoga’s full geographic scope.”
The music on World Yoga was tested in Johnson’s New Orleans yoga studio and follows the same pattern as a yoga class. It begins with a reflection to focus and quiet the mind and body and later becomes more vibrant. The album ends with meditative songs.
“I can’t recall ever feeling so relaxed as I have while listening to the tracks on the collection,” says Putumayo founder Dan Storper. “Whether driving in traffic or dealing with work-related stress, these songs helped transport me to a much more peaceful and happier state.”
The main weakness is that, as most other American yoga compilations; it has left out Indian chanting and meditative instrumental music performed by Indians. In fact, in an album dedicated to an Asian tradition, the only Asian artist on the album is Tibetan-Nepalese singer Kelsang Chukie Tethong. Nevertheless, the album flows well and will please yoga practitioners with a taste for global music.