Dada Nabhaniilananda - The Monk Dude
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Dada Nabhaniilananda - The Monk Dude

Los Altos, California, United States | INDIE

Los Altos, California, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Warriors of the Rainbow CD"

One of the nicest surprises of the year is Dada Nabhaniilananda’s riveting collection of songs, Warriors of the Rainbow. A truly intriguing performer, Nabhaniilananda is a Yogic monk who combines a gift for folk rock with a profound spiritual and social vision. Like many of the greatest songwriters, Dada combines a rich poetic sensibility with strong melodic gifts and seems as equally at home with ballads as he is with up-tempo writing. Do yourself a favour and introduce yourself to the music of an important emerging artist. This is one of those few releases that can change the way you look at the world.
- Donald Acosta

"Concert Review at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit"

Dada Nabhaniilananda gained a lot of new fans in Rio last night. Following John Denver’s solo performance, the singer/songwriter from New Zealand, backed by a group of hot Brazilian musicians, came on stage for an hour-long set.

No one knew quite what to expect from this smiling monk in orange robes but they didn’t wonder for long. Within moments he had them on his side, his clear melodic voice transcending any language gap. Brazilians know quality musicianship when they hear it, and they showed their appreciation with pin-drop silence, the crowd of 5000 plus listening as I’ve seldom seen them do.

If a special atmosphere prevailed, it should have, for this
was the beginning of a night long spiritual vigil incorporating diverse religious and spiritual groups.

Dada’s songs were perfect for the occasion. In case you haven’t been reading the newspapers, this was part the “Earth Summit”, an international gathering of more than 30,000 people united by a concern for social justice and a sustainable future for the world. When the band performed “Warriors of the Rainbow”, the title track of Dadas’ last album, a kind of anthem for the environmental movement, at the songs dramatic climax the audience went a little wild, which in Brazil means very wild indeed!

This was followed by spiritual love songs, tales of struggle against oppression, songs of hope and compassion. Moving stuff. The music was accompanied by a stunning slide show illustrating the stories behind the songs. Part of the beauty of the whole experience was that although this was undoubtedly music with a message, it was presented with such simple honesty and obvious native talent that I only wanted to listen. It was over all too soon, but I’ve got the album, so I can reminisce.

The vigil continued all night with chanting, dance, meditation, and at dawn the stage opened again. Just before the Dalai Lama, the guest of honour, came on to speak, Dada was again on stage, accompanied by Paul Winter in a spiritual chant in which the much larger crowd of more than 10,000 joined. Magic!

Rio Times 1992 (translated from Portuguese)
- Rio Times

"Return of the Magic CD Review"

It's been many years. At long last, Dada Nabhaniilananda's stubborn refusal to yield to impatience delivered us a meticulously crafted beautiful album. Years in the making, "The Return of the Magic" is a collection of uplifting songs from a singer/songwriter/monk who has toured and performed widely for more than twenty years. The songs were recorded in England, USA, Norway and Brazil and benefits from a superb production job by Devashis who mixed the album in Puerto Rico.
From the softly strummed opening chords, the restrained and tasteful instrumentation places the melody, the message and Dada's warm voice at the heart of every track. The songs have an easy and immediate appeal. You may not expect this kind accessibility from a mystical monk, but Dada's songs grab your attention like a smile. I was surprised to discover myself, unconsciously humming the chorus of "Perfect Love' already after the first listen.
Dada has steered far from the course that has stranded many "new age" artists on the cliffs of ambition and pretension. We are spared transcendental slush, philosophical mush and gaudy synths. The narratives of the deeply spiritual songs place love and devotion in re-assuring human contexts of friendship and closeness. "I know that you're everywhere, I know that theory. But 'till I feel your hand in my hair, I remain weary" sings Dada on "A dream", one of several standout tracks.
Dada lets us into his private universe on "No Distance" and "Lake Gardens". These intimately honest songs ache with the kind of pain that is inseparable from all love, including alas! the love for God: "If I could just recall exactly how you said my name, everything might be the same again, " from "Lake Gardens".
Fans of Dada's special knack for epic songwriting, that made "Warriors of the Rainbow" shine with majesty and grandeur, will not be disappointed. On "Hou Yi shot the suns" and "The Chant of Permulwuy", Dada introduces us to mythical heroes from China and pre-colonial Australia, making their ancient struggle relevant to our struggle for justice today.
Dada's team on "The Return of the Magic" deserves credit. Giita's backup vocals are excellent throughout, and in a way define the soundscape. It's used to great effect on "Remember me", a sunshiny celebration of a song with a definite commercial potential. Sukhadeva's guitar is understated and professional, never imposing on Dada's voice. With several of his own instrumental albums to his credit, Sukhadeva here concentrates on enhancing Dada's melodies. The whole band deliver a tight performance.
As the title track's rousing chorus ends the album on a note of hope, I feel some of "the Magic" Dada sings about linger in the air, and the future, in these days of war and conflict, looks just a bit brighter. Truly uplifting music.
- Daniel Haven for New Renaissance Magazine

"Close Your Eyes & Open Your Mind - book review"

As Dada Nabhaniilananda says in the introduction to Close Your Eyes and Open Your Mind, yoga and meditation have become trendy. Embraced by the wondrous Camelot that is Hollywood, now the rich, the famous and the beautiful can be seen meditating blissfully on the pages of every celeb-junkie’s favorite tabloid; what once was considered an obscure oriental occultism is now used to sell international products, from White Castle to NatWest Bank to Burger King.
But what is meditation about? How is it done and who does it? Dada is quick to point out that for all the advertising we see in which meditation is used, for all the media hype and new age hipness associated with it, very few people actually practice meditation, and perhaps even fewer understand what it is all about to begin with.
In Close Your Eyes and Open Your Mind, it is utterly clear that Dada has an uncommon wealth of wisdom to tap into, with years of practical teaching experience. Dada dispenses with the trendy gimmicks of what is commonly associated with meditation (relaxation, stress-relief, etc.) and cuts to the core of what this mystical tradition is all about: the connection and communion with the Deepest Self. Relaxation and stress relief, Dada says, are not the be-all and end-all of meditation, but simply a side-effect on the journey towards the highest and most ambitious goal of all: self-realization.
This all may sound pretty intimidating here, I’m sure, but Dada has a rare quality of conveying some of the world’s deepest truths in simple, clear language as well as through amusing and inspiring anecdotes. Dada takes us into the depths of a rich world of deeper spiritual realities, but he always takes us by the hand so we never stray too far from its eloquently simple message; it is this balance that Dada strikes which makes this book a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in the practice of meditation.
The book is not without fault, however. Dada may have a treasure trove of experiences to reach into to convey his teachings with (no less than thirty years worth), but towards the end of the book, particularly in the last two chapters, the book does tend to dive into concepts that are superfluous to first-timers. Chapter six, for example, is about the concept of karma. In this chapter Dada goes in depth to teach us the theory of karma which we are all acquainted to, but then he goes into and explains to us the nuances of the philosophy and compares it with various other philosophies. These concepts are important, of course, but they also digress from the purpose of the book, which is to introduce the basics to the rest of us – the book is not meant to be a philosophical treatise.
To be honest though, these criticisms are really just nit-pickings. The book is wonderfully well-written, is a pleasure to read and more importantly, makes an overwhelmingly convincing case for the necessity of meditation in peoples’ lives. But, as Dada says, “We can[not] learn to swim from a book. A swimmer has to jump in and get wet. If we want to understand what meditation is, we need to practise it.” This book may not be the equivalent of the practice itself, but it is nonetheless a valuable gem, particularly for anybody who is interested in what the meditation media craze is all about. Forget the new-agers – Dada leaves them all in the dust.

FINAL SCORE: 8.5 / 10
- New Renaissance Magazine, UK

"The Singing Monk"

At first sight, Dada Nabhaniilananda (or just plain ‘Dada’ as he kindly allows those of us without a degree in Sanskrit to call him) in his flowing orange robes, sporting an irrepressible smile through his beard, appears unlikely material for a budding pop star.
However, on stage, armed with his cutaway Martin acoustic guitar and an excellent singing style, backed by a talented group of Melbourne musicians, his performance packs quite a punch. New Age Folk-rock, I guess you’d have to call it, though it ranges from Genesis or Yes-style symphonic rock, through moving ballads, to the reggae beat of “Give My Heart to Africa,” with it’s 5-part harmonies. The atmosphere was charged from the outset. The setting was an outside stage in a valley in the countryside, at the Victorian “Down to Earth” Festival. Night had fallen and the audience of more than 1,500 seemed to contain many fans of this previously little-known artist.
The opening tones of the synthesiser washed out over the crowd, leading to the soaring lyrics of “Shanti” (meaning Peace) and began to weave a pattern of music and words that held the audience truly spellbound. The atmosphere was quite captivating – I even got up and danced for the last song, which is not like me!
The audience clearly thought this show was the highlight of the evening as they chanted for more. When Dada thanked and congratulated the musicians, he explained that they had never played together before. The audience’s response was one of shocked disbelief. Talking about this afterwards he told me,
“It’s true. Of course I’ve played with Harry often, but I only met Fred the bass guitarist yesterday. Don ‘t you think he was brilliant? I don’t even know his second name.” Dada. 40, has been a musician since he was 6 -- starting out on classical piano, experimenting with cello and trumpet, and finally settling for voice and guitar. Although be has been playing music for more than 30 years be regards himself as “more of a singer/songwriter than a musician.” He writes and sings all the material from the group. The impressive backgrounds of some of his six accompanying musicians bear testimony to his talent. For example, keyboard player Harry Williamson, produced one of Sting’s first records. Harry produced Dada’s second album, “Warriors of the Rainbow”.
Dada seemed quite casual about the grand success of the Festival concert. Does he see himself becoming a male equivalent of “The Singing Nun?”
He laughed and said, “I doubt it, but you never know. Even to be playing here was a surprise for me.”
- Melbourne Sun

"An Enchanting Night of Music and Light"

Music, singing and slides-shows combined in a unique presentation at the Princess Hill Auditorium last Friday. Entitled "Illuminations - Artists for the Earth”, the evening had a theme of environmental conservation and spiritual and. world peace.

One of Melbourne's best- known folk singers, Ian Paulin, opened the show with an impressive selection from his own material about peace and social issues, often moving the audience to laughter, and sometimes close to tears.

Lindsay Buckland, a musician and 'photomontage' artist followed with his audio-visual, "The Greatest Slide-show on Earth." It was certainly the greatest selection I've ever seen of superimposed surreal imagery accompanied by live ambient music.

After a break and some delicious vegetarian snacks the enthusiastic audience of more than 800 returned for the main feature of the night--Dada Nabhaniilananda and friends, playing material from Dada's album "Warriors of the Rainbow." There were more visuals, this time a beautiful series of scenes illustrating the powerful images in the lyrics. Three musicians supported Dada's melodic and rippling acoustic guitar style and his clear and emotive voice. Harry Williamson (formerly of the British band “Gong”) played synthesiser, Lindsay Buckland returned to the stage to play percussion. and Liz Hall provided backing vocals.
But the songs themselves contained the real magic. I'm sure I was not the only one to shed a tear during the simple lament of The Last Blue Whale, while breathtaking images of whales underwater flashed onto the screen. The emotional tension was palpable at the dramatic climax of "Warriors of the Rainbow"-a ballad based on an American Indian woman's vision of the future. Waves of sound and light washed over the audience, transporting them away from their surroundings. They demanded and received an encore-a rousing reggae version of' 'Give My Heart to Africa ' -about the African famine. Altogether, a brilliantly creative example of how important issues like peace and the environment can be highlighted without preaching or being boring. Dada will be performing again at the “Poets for Peace" concert on August 7 at Richmond Municipal Hall. Be there.
- Sydney Morning Herald


LP length CD releases:

The Fire Dragon Suite (1985)
Anandakiirtan 3 (1988)
Warriors of the Rainbow (1990)
The Return of the Magic (2002)
Flight of Love (2009)
The Love Remains (due for release 2013)



Dada Nabhaniilananda - yoga monk, meditation instructor, award winning song-writer, musician & author

Dada was born in New Zealand in 1955. During his early life he studied classical music and poetry. At the age of 11 he started composing music for the piano, and his teachers had high hopes of him becoming a concert pianist. However, during his time as a University student he developed a deep interest in Eastern mysticism. In 1975 he left his native land for Australia, and later Nepal and India where he studied the disciplines and philosophy of Yoga and Meditation within sight of the Himalayas, and was ordained as a Yoga Monk of Ananda Marga in 1979.

Dada plays melodic folk rock in the style of Simon & Garfunkel or Cat Stevens. He sings about spiritual experiences and ecological or human rights issues, and derives many of his ideas from myths and legends of different cultures. His early musical influences include folk singers Donovan and Don Mclean, and 70’s bands Yes, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Genesis & Santana. Dada’s immersion in eastern mysticism adds a deeper dimension to his music, giving it a lasting quality.

Dada has been recording and performing since 1984, and has played on every continent save Antarctica. He frequently appears at ecological protests or alternative festivals where his songs and audio-visual presentations about the environment are always well received.

In 1988 he recorded his second album, Warriors of the Rainbow, with guest artist Daevid Allen of Gong and Soft Machine, produced by Harry Williamson, also of Gong. In 1992 he was featured at the Rio Earth Summit where he played with Paul Winter, and a hot Brazilian backing band and performed for an audience of 10,000.

Dada currently lives in the US where he tours occasionally, performing and teaching at Yoga Centres, Festivals and conferences, Universities and New Thought Churches. In 2007 he performed in New York with Premik Tubbs, who has played with Santana, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Whitney Houston and host of other greats.

Dada is currently based in California, where he teaches a course at UC Berkeley in Yogic Meditation: A Technology for Conscious Evolution, writes new songs, and is working on a comic science fiction novel.