Since I saw him in the Fall of 2009 at the Omega Ecstatic Chant Retreat in New York, I've been affectionately referring to him as the "Drunken Uncle" of the Kirtan scene.
I arrived that weekend utterly broken hearted and desperately in need of a big bhakti bandaid and some serious pressure washing for my nadis.
All of the artists were amazing: Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal and Miten, David Newman (Durga Das) and Vishal Vaid... but I was so shattered that I just couldn't relate to either the ecstatic dancing or the sweet meditative vibes.
I simply wasn't "in the mood".
At four in the morning, onto the stage came Shyamdas. He had the voice and air of the last drunk Uncle standing at the end of a night of wedding celebrations. His Bhava, and the perfection of his imperfection cracked me wide open.
You can get a glimpse of what I mean in this Shyamdas Tribute on YouTube from Substratum Films. The clips were pulled from interviews for the upcoming documentary One Track Heart, which I shared with you just a few days ago in this post.
Shyamdas-ji, from the bottom of my busted and bursting heart, thank you! May you be forever melting in Blissful Union with the Divine! Jai Sri Rahde! Jai Sri Krishna!