I grew up in Tempe, Arizona, in a pretty idyllic suburban environment. I was very active — in theater, music, sports, student council. I was a child actor, appearing in professional theater productions, most notably as Winthrop in “The Music Man.” (The part played by Ron Howard in the movie). I also was the Lead Singer of a band called “The Altar Boys” in college. This type of performing experience has served me well in Kirtan; mostly. I’m comfortable in front of a crowd. But Kirtan is really about singing from something bigger and greater than the self, and leading a group of bhaktas full-throatedy chanting “Sita Ram!” takes me to a place I can’t get to in any other way. In my twenties, I had a deep spiritual awakening while at a Vipassana Meditation Retreat. For the last 25 years, I’ve been a Seeker, finally landing with my Guru, Swami Kaleshwar, and studying with him in India. I want to share with you how rich, fulfilling, ecstatic, and blissful my relationship with the Divine is — through my Kirtan.

– Neil Martin