Get to know Kavita “Kat” McMillan and her Open Heart Kirtan at the Spoken Word stage at Oregon Country Fair. She practices Bakhti Yoga and leads call and response “kirtans”- spiritual songs for upliftment. Beautiful and peaceful music!
Kat McMillan: Open Heart Kirtan at OCF
Transcription by Jessica LaMotte
(Karen:) All right, so, we heard some beautiful music today from spirit, from you here at spirit tower. It was lovely. We happened to be walking by and just got pulled in, drawn into the beautiful sound. Tell me a little bit about your music and about your group and about what you’re doing.
(Kat:) Well, we are Bhakti yoga practitioners, so we practice Bhakti yoga, which is the yoga of devotion and sound call and response. Kirtan so we chant mantra and spirit songs and we invite everyone to sing. Um, there’s a lot of repetition. There’s a lot of going into that space where you don’t know when you’re going to stop repeating and you kind of let go of your thinking everyday mind and release into the emotion of the music. And we encourage that. So it’s, it’s a tradition from India.
(Karen:) Oh, it’s beautiful. I saw a lot of people that look just, just transported, you know, just really moving their bodies and closing their eyes and opening their hands. And you could just see the love pouring out of them, their hearts opening and their mouths opening so beautiful spirit
(Karen:) So tell me a little bit about where you go and perform your music. Do you go around different festivals and where are you from?
(Kat:) Yeah, I’m right now based in Portland. Um, the people that were playing with me are based in Eugene, so we all, there’s a Bhakti family of, um, practitioners, musicians who come together through this music and so I play a lot of spiritual yoga festivals. Kirtan festivals, Oregon country fair type of things where people come together for consciousness expanding and um, spiritual pursuits. Whether that is getting really into nature or really into music or dancing or art healing, through those avenues.
(Karen:) How did you get started making this kind of music? Have you always been a singer and a musician?
(Kat:) I’ve always been a singer, yes. But when I was in my twenties I started to train in yoga really intensely, and my teachers all came from India, so they brought sound practice into the yoga practice, which it’s very much a part of the practice in India. So I was introduced to it through my teachers. Yeah.
(Karen:) This is what you do full time, like as your full time gig now.
(Kat:) Well, this is, this is my full time gig. My son, he’s here with me today and uh, yeah. I’m a yoga teacher now for 20 years and sound yoga teacher and music teacher and do all these things.
(Karen:) Thank you for your contribution to country fair to making the magic come alive. Yeah. It’s magic here. It’s wonderful to be here. Thank you. Thank you, Kat.